By Anna Wichansky, Chair, OUAB
It’s been 10 years since we held our first meeting on March 28, 2008. Much has changed in the past 10 years: the economy, the world stage, technology, how we do our work. Yet much about the board has also remained the same. Still with us are our passion for bringing enterprise user experience to a whole new level, our leadership, and our most involved customers.
If you recall, the global economy was tanking when the board began. Banks that were too big to fail looked shaky, the stock market took a major nosedive, and most enterprises had to get less bullish on expansion and new programs. Oracle had started the early adopter program for on-premise Oracle Fusion Applications, and we were looking for customers who could benefit from this new platform. At the same time, we were aware of our challenges in bringing on board customers from PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, and other acquisitions, many of which were yet to come such as Sun Microsystems in 2010.
Our first meeting was with industry, government, and educational organizations such as Hologic, Santa Clara University, City of Las Vegas, and design partners EchoUser and Naviscent (still all OUAB members). It was held at Oracle’s headquarters in Redwood Shores, Calif. There, we organized the board and determined the benefit of working groups for Performance and Integration, Consistency and Design, and Social Networking. These topics have all changed over time.
The big issues of the day were productivity around collaboration tools, the increasing “burden” of multiple mobile devices (the iPhone introduction was in June 2007; the iPad was still to come in March 2012), user behavior toward security and data privacy, and motivators to encourage end-users to tag and index the ever-expanding World Wide Web. We held multiple meetings that year in Boston and Denver, and organized an Oracle OpenWorld special interest group panel on user experience. The hot topics at Oracle OpenWorld that year included questions such as: Is the Google box sufficient for enterprise search? Blackberry or iPhone? What good is Web 2.0 and social networking for enterprises?
Other fast facts
- We had our first board meeting in Europe during the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, the Icelandic volcano, with many making contingency travel plans in case our planes could not fly home.
- We held our first Middle East board meeting with Dubai members in 2014, hosted by Oracle and the City of Dubai. We conducted multiple video-conference meetings in subsequent years.
- Our first five members from Australia and Singapore came to San Francisco in 2016. Since then we’ve acquired a number of new Asia-Pacific-region members from all parts of India.
- We’ve hosted free workshops on user experience technologies and processes such as persona development, discount usability testing, and wireframing every year. We also invite local design students from San Jose State University and Stanford.
- There are close to 175 customers who have participated as board members.
- Hundreds of design recommendations on products under development and enhancement have been generated by our UX team, based on OUAB member feedback to demos and roundtable discussions.
The OUAB now has 80 member organizations. We continue to recruit customers from every continent and from a wide variety of corporate, educational, and government organizations. We also continue to work with Oracle partners. More work is done remotely now, including meetings, interviews, and webinars on new technologies that may benefit the user experience, such as artificial intelligence, chatbots, and machine learning.
We also continue to respond to development organizations seeking customer feedback by introducing their user researchers, designers, developers, and managers to the most collaborative OUAB customers. They, in turn, set up meetings with end-users for various types of data collection. We’re currently supporting studies of help messaging being conducted with our members’ help desk personnel.
We are working to refocus our mission around customers who want to participate more directly in the design of future products. We are planning an event to commemorate our 10th anniversary at Oracle OpenWorld this year in San Francisco, Oct. 22-25, 2018.
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