Saturday, May 15, 2010

Some Things Take Root

No, I'm not writing about Unix or Linux root, as fitting as the title would be for that. I'm actually writing about experiences that are so positive that they take hold of us and make us want to repeat them. Much like a seed taking root in the ground, these experiences take root in us. Some things really take root with me.

Participating in the user feedback labs from the Oracle User Experience team is one of those experiences that has taken root with me…I do it every chance I get. My most recent experience was at Collaborate 10.

I started off spending some time with Erika Noll Web (one of Oracle's User Experience Managers) and Sid Chilakapati (a Project Manager of Oracle's Fusion Applications Support Team). We spend a significant amount of time talking about the potential for light-computing applications with the iPad and the iPhone. The conversation grew to include the Android operating system as well (Sid's an Android guy). We also ran through some changes Oracle has in mind for My Oracle Support - drilling down into research by product and business process. As a functional guy at heart, what I saw rocked…hope it makes it to the light of day. Also put in a serious plug for dumping Flash in My Oracle Support in favor of HTML5, so I can do research on a mobile device. Great conversations with very bright people who went out of their way to make me feel at ease.

I also managed to get in some time with my old pal Santosh Astagi, whom I've talked about before here. This was a windfall - I had some time booked with him early in the day and had to miss out because of another meeting conflict that popped up. So I felt fortunate to get in some time with Santosh. He still has that same easy-going, no pressure style of gentle guidance that I appreciate some much when working through user experience testing. The guy is a master of capturing the essence of your feedback while keeping you comfortable, even if you struggle a bit. We worked through a Thematic Maps prototype that looked pretty spiffy to me…a couple of sticky points, but most of the user experience elements were already working pretty well for a prototype. A pic of the master and me here.

So again, the user feedback lab sessions were good experiences for me. The welcome was warm as I checked in for my feedback sessions. Heck, even the freaking' cookies were good! Seriously, kudos to Oracle's Gozel Aamoth, Lulit Bezuayehu, and Teena Singh for putting these feedback sessions together…this team really pulls it all together. A pic of the team here…hanging with some ugly old bald troll.

Now, I know what you're thinking…why in the world should you spend times at labs like this? Well, I think you get three things from it: 1) it's a window into the new efforts coming through the Oracle development pipeline; 2) this is a pretty direct means of getting input into Oracle's development of new products - if you don't like what you see, these folks are taking that back to the product development teams…and I've seen first-hand the changes resulting from that input; and 3) it's fun! Give it a try once and see if the experience takes root with you. I'm sure they'll be running more user feedback session at Oracle OpenWorld this year.

I wonder if there's a user feedback lab at the OHUG next month?


Teena said...

Great article Floyd. See you at OHUG? The lab will be in operation June 14th and 15th!

Laurie said...

Floyd - as a matter of fact, we are doing some testing at OHUG next month. Didn't know you'd be there. Give Teena, Erika or me a call if you're able to participate. Cheers!

fteter said...

@Teena: Yes, I'll be there. Would like to get in on a session or two.

@Laurie: I'm going as an OAUG rep. Looking forward to it!

Erika Webb said...

Floyd, I'll be making you work harder at OHUG--we're testing message patterns. But I'd love to see you again.

Erika Webb said...

Hey Floyd, I'd love to have you in my sessions! Might make you work a little harder--I'm testing message patterns this time. It'll be good to see you again.
Erika (from my iPad, of course)

Ultan said...

Floyd, yes more testing opportunities coming up. Isn't Twitter wonderful, by the way?...:)

Your OCP Advisor said...

I will be at Oracle HQ on Friday (05/21) at the Oracle Usability Lab for a 2 hour sesion!
Getting inspired by your blog post!

Andrea Evans @ Oracle said...

Hi Floyd,

Oracle UX will also be testing at ODTUG Kaleidoscope this year (for the third year running!)

We're running sessions Sunday through Thursday, and we'd love to get feedback from developers who use IDEs or similar development tools.