Sunday, October 19, 2008

Elegance Of Design

For those of you who have been reading this blog on a regular basis or following me on Twitter, you know that I've been considering a switch from the PC/Windows world to a Mac/OS X system for the past several weeks. Well, I finally took the plunge this weekend. In fact, I'm writing this particular post on my new iMac.

I've experienced several noteworthy highlights in working through my switch over the past weekend, including improved speed and stability. However, the single most outstanding highlight is my new appreciation for the importance of user interface design. In every instance where the computer system interfaces with the human user, the Apple system is markedly superior to my PC systems. The software's appearance and ease of use (the learning curve in switching is almost non-existent), the tactile response of the keyboard, the feel of the Mighty Mouse in my hand: all these factors have combined to make my initial experience the best technology experience I've had since...hmmm, come to think of it, since I bought an iPhone. Yup, when it comes to elegance of design, Apple gets it.

So, in the realm of Oracle apps, I have to admit that I'm not nearly as excited about the 11i EBS user interface. In fact, I've spent more than a little time this weekend fantasizing about how wonderful it would be if Oracle could come up with a user interface design that provides all the benefits that Apple has worked into their own UI design...at least in terms of the software user interface. Wouldn't it be great if a new user could sit down in front of the Oracle EBS, or PeopleSoft, or Siebel, or JD Edwards, or whatever other apps they own these days, and just start using it because the intuitive nature and ease of use designed into the user interface essentially eliminated any learning curve? Customers would really experience a substantial, measurable benefit from the elegance of user interface design. As I write this, we're a pretty far cry from realizing this dream in the Oracle apps space.

The good news here is that Oracle has a team focused on user interface design. This team leads a program known as the Oracle User Experience, which is intended to use a customer-centric process to deliver high-quality user interface designs. Even better news: you can participate through the Oracle Usability project. Oracle is actively seeking customers to engage in the design process. This is the opportunity for customers to help inject ease of use and intuitive design into the Oracle enterprise apps they use.

After my switch to Apple this weekend, I really understand the importance and benefits of design. Oracle customers can drive the same importance and benefits in their enterprise apps, simply by getting involved. So get involved.

4 comments:

Jake said...

Welcome to the club. Now put Ubuntu on your old PC, and you'll be fully assimilated.

Steve Romeo said...

I love my iPhone!

fteter said...

@jake: Ubuntu is actually the next step in my plan to be Windoze-free...unless I go OS X86.

@steve romeo: ditto, buddy.

Misha Vaughan said...

Hey Floyd,
Thanks for the plug on the usability program at Oracle.

I definitely can't emphasize enough how important it is for customers to speak up about user experience.

Good user experience reduces training costs, support costs, and makes end users more efficient.

Thanks again.

Misha