Sunday, September 04, 2011

Fusion Applications - What You Need To Know: The User Interface

Writing this blog has turned into an interesting experience over the past few years. I'll have dry spells where I can't seem to string two words together. Then, without any warning, the words begin to flow again. Wish I could be more consistent, but that just doesn't seem to be in the cards at this point in life. Now one of those dry spells has just passed and I have quite a bit to write about. Apologies for the delay...let's get to it!

Keep in mind that we're talking here about the User Interface (UI) and not the User Experience (UX). UI is about the presentation of information to the user, while UX more about designing around how people work or how they want to work.

The UI in Fusion Applications is built around the User Interface shell. The idea behind the shell is the organization of the UI around standard areas:

In providing definitions for each of these areas, I'll be working from a context of Fusion Project Portfolio Management. In implementing Fusion Applications over the past year, I've been working with PPM. It's what I know best from a functional standpoint, so I'll use it as a reference point here. You'll be able to pick up the general principles from what I provide here.
  • Regional Area: eases navigation, eliminating the need to move through multiple pages to access details.
  • Local Area: center area, containing all the transactions, information and actions needed for users to accomplish their work. Most end-users will spend a majority of their time focused on the Local Area.
  • Context Area: provides information based on the content available or highlighted in the local area. The intent here is to help quickly answer questions about the task in progress.
Now, about that PPM context? Here you go:

Now I know that these screen shots that I "borrowed" from an Oracle Fusion Apps PPM presentation (plagiarism is such an ugly word; I prefer borrow or reuse, don't you?) are really tiny...blame Blogger. Can't get them any bigger. Sorry. Nevertheless, they do provide some idea of how the UI Shell works in Fusion Applications.

As you work with Fusion Applications, you'll see that all the applications follow the UI Shell pattern. That's a pretty cool thing, as you learn the navigation once and you'll know how to navigate all the apps.

And for those of you wondering, it is a fairly simple matter to personalize and tailor the UI using the Personalization and Oracle Composer run time tools (see that little "Personalization" hyperlink in the Global Area...upper right...just to the left of "Help"?). If you want to extend the form, however, you'll want to have a developer use the design time tools available in JDeveloper (ADF would be a prime candidate in this case).

Personally, I'm really excited about the UI. I see some quantifiable benefits in terms of reducing the user learning curve, productivity gains from simplified navigation, and better transactional analysis...especially when analyzing exceptions. Good stuff that I'm sure will iterate into even better stuff as future releases come out.

One last thing. Recheck the Global Area screen shot. See the nifty little area to the right...the Search? Lots tucked away in there. But that's another blog post.


eoracleapps said...

that's good one and you have explained really well.


fteter said...

@eoracleapps: thank you so much! Glad you see some value in it!

Cyriel van Schaik said...

Good article! Can't wait using it.