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Strategic Experience Design. Design of Project Management, Product Lifecycle Management, Healthcare, Marketing, Customer Service Relations, Contact Center and Financials applications:
Design enterprise application experiences.
Set architectural direction, vision and strategy for next generation e-business suite.
  As of June of 2005 I began working in the new Applications Strategy Experience group. Our team is tasked with "defining the character" of the next generation of the Oracle Application Suite. In particular I work on research and development of the direction for aspects of the suite such as the entrance experience, dashboards and search.
Develop prototypes to model, test and promote new interfaces, interactions and information architectures.
  As with any design process we need to communicate the ideas. I have lead developers in the creation of prototypes, used PERL and other tools to build and clean XML data for use in an interactive prototype and built simple Flash prototypes to demonstrate new interactions. That being said I am not a coder and my programming skills are only adequate. 
Create and sell designs to promote integration, consistency, analytics and useful and enabling interfaces across applications.
  Part of our business objectives is to look at the experience across the pillars (CRM- Customer Relationship Management, HCM - Human Capital Management, SCM - Supply Chain Management, etc.) to find the commonalities and differences that need to be addressed when providing a single suite experience. To this end we explore how tools like analytics can be used to enable the user's decision making.
Provide design direction on making visualization an integral aspect of the information architecture.
  One of my personal goals is to promote visualization as a part of the information architecture instead of an add-on or eye-candy. Using Barbara Mirel and Karl Fast's work as a basis I work with the Advanced Research team to take visualization from a solution looking for a problem to solve to a set of solutions that answer questions that had previously been too abstract to provide an interface too.
Create and sell architectures to promote consistency across applications.
  Much of this position's focus is finding appropriate UI architectures for applications. This was first done for the Oracle Projects application, then Oracle Product Lifecycle Management. Concurrent page level design work on these applications made architectural issues apparent. After some exploration I proposed an architecture which became the Contextual Tab Architecture (Figure 1). As I worked with the teams I showed them how taking up the architecture would solve issues. Once they were on board I proposed the change to the Vice Presidents of the groups. With assistance of my VP we proposed to the Senior VP of the applications division that more applications use it . After that I was tasked with educating teams and designers about it and helping others apply it .
 
Provide strategic vision for design and functional consistency across product lines.
As I oversee several application areas, it is my job to see synergies and provide direction that creates a unified, coherent vision across the application suite. For the applications I am responsible for it is my job to make this happen. For other applications I work with the designer to communicate direction.

In some cases, to get uptake on new concepts, the UI group needs to prove their viability. One of the domains I work on requires greater interactivity and support for fast data entry. I led a team to design and create a prototype and have it tested and revised.

 
Guide and review development of new functionality.
As with any design job there is review work. We try to minimize this with a robust process, requirements gathering preparation, and guidelines education. When I review a product I am looking to see if the pages follow the guidelines. If they don't, why? Is there a good reason? What would the users perception be of what they can do? Do they have the information needed to make the decisions to take action?
 
Plan for and participate in usability lifecycle for functional and requirement gathering tests.
In the normal course of design lifecycles I have participated in the definition and testing of applications. In both cases I provide direction for roles and tasks from the users point of view.
 
Create tools that allow development teams to design within corporate guidelines.
In addition to the BLAF stencil (Figure 3) I created documents to use in the UI design process. For other documents I made them more approachable to project management and development teams by adding examples.
 
Teach development teams about guidelines and the technologies that support them.
When I began working at Oracle I was usually only working in one or two domains at a time. Every six months or so I was switched to new teams that needed more supervision. Over three years I have worked on Project Management, Product Lifecycle Management, Service, Marketing, Healthcare, and Financials applications.
 
Mentor junior designers on practical design, design politics and design theory.
While Oracle hires some great designers some have come through other channels and we get a number of recent graduates. For the UI newbies we need to bring them up to speed on design tactics, strategies, politics and theory. I assist them by helping them understand the questions they should be asking, how to approach deciding what are problems and how to find solutions.
 
Publish, participate, and interact with design community.
I presented Design Patterns in Enterprise UI Architectures this March at the IA Summit 2005 in Montreal. One nearly published paper, on search in a JASIST journal. Am working on papers and tutorials for teaching practical design. I'm most interested in helping people coming into the interaction / interface / information design field understand its breadth and depth as well as how to navigate the spaces to achieve results.
 

Figure 1

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Figures

  1. CTA Architecture - Shows the structure of an architecture designed to make navigation between applications more comprehensible. For each page type the left side shows actual content and the right enumerates how the regions should be used. Started life as the Business Process Management Architecture.

  2. Marketing Architectural Comparison - The red framed diagram shows the original architecture. The blue framed diagram shows the redesigned architecture. In the original architecture the tabs represent all of the different objects. The main objects which had a hierarchal relationship were peers in the UI. In the new design those objects are virtualized to a single type and the tabbed space handles one at a time as a process.

  3. BLAF Visio Components - Oracle uses a an XML technology called UIX to render HTML pages. Programming XML isn't conducive to exploratory design. I created the BLAF elements in Visio to make the quick layout and rearrangement of pages possible. Many teams now use it as their prototyping tool. Many elements have shapesheet programming on them to make it easy to format them to the page.

  4. Healthcare Flowchart - When we first engaged the Healthcare team they had created their task flows by functional groupings and were working on page prototypes. This siloed their functionality making tasks across them impossible. I worked with them to visualize their users' task flows using the following diagramming system. It abstracted away the visual aspects of the system and we were able to concentrate on what information the user needed and what actions they needed to take. It also allowed the product management team to integrate error handling, JCAHO, and HIPAA information, rules and structures, saving work for the development teams.

  5. Flowchart Template - This is an image of the template I created for teams to use to learn and implement the flowcharting style. On the left is components and on the right is examples of how flows should be diagrammed.


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