User Experience at the core of Application Design

Jeremy Ashley, Group VP, Oracle
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1. How has your approach to application design changed during the last five years? How has the cloud impacted this?

Cloud-based enterprise applications are enabling more modern business practices today. The way we work is in transition, and the cloud has dramatically changed the ways that our users can receive and provide data—opening up many new opportunities to enhance the Oracle user experience (UX).

Today’s UX goes far beyond the outer layers of the user interface. By focusing on themes of simplicity, mobility and extensibility, we create UX designs that invite participation and boost the investment in applications, from HCM to ERP to Sales Cloud. In fact, thanks to the cloud, applications can offer a seamless user experience across devices—whether you are moving from your laptop to tablet, smartphone or wearable—and are far more customizable.  

2. What new user opportunities have cloud-based enterprise applications enabled?

Thanks to cloud technology and intense UX research and development, enterprise application users today do less navigation and data input. We’ve designed a user experience that enables greater productivity, collaboration, insights and efficiency. Today’s cloud enterprise applications demand less training and heighten employee efficiency, allowing workers to get things done more simply, resulting in lower overall business operating costs for companies as well as making it easier to participate than it ever has been.

 Thanks to the cloud, applications can offer a seamless user experience across devices—whether you are moving from your laptop to tablet, smartphone or wearable—and are far more customizable 

3. What role does UX play in moving from a traditional IT set-up to a cloud-based service-offering model?

Cloud-based enterprise applications provide ways for IT and other departments to easily extend, and tailor applications, while preserving the user experience delivered in the original application. With the right user experience tools, companies are now able to customize applications on their own in just a few clicks. In what previously would have been a major IT project, the cloud enables users to make customizations—from business process and task flow updates to corporation-wide branding—with ease.

4. How does UX contribute to the development of new products and updates? Has a more agile software development model had an effect on the user experience?

UX is an integral part of the development process for Oracle enterprise applications. The team conducts user testing and analyzes work behaviors to inform future product updates. Oracle also regularly invests in research into emerging technology, with an eye toward how new technology can help the user experience evolve. This continuous cycle of research, design, development, and iteration allows us to move with the agile development model. We always have something new to consider and help push to the next level in each release.

5. What should technology leaders consider when implementing new enterprise applications?

Enterprise applications designed with the user in mind will enhance productivity and communication without forcing users into new behaviors. Keeping the user at the center of the design process is very important to Oracle’s user experience approach, and the result is a modern UX with the ability to evolve and remain contemporary.

6. We are all dealing with technology every day. How does technology drive your life?

I regularly invest in new technology myself, so that I have personal knowledge about what’s out there and can work with my team more productively on the next evolution of the user experience. For example, I was one of the original sponsors of a version 1.0 smartwatch. Now, our team has a fully fleshed out approach to wearables and our cloud applications as a result.

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