What do you want self service to look like?

Whether you're a PeopleSoft or an Ebiz customer, a common issue I hear from HEUG constituents is that the self service modules while rich in functionality tend to look a bit long in the tooth and not up to snuff with the latest and greatest web offerings (Facebook, Amazon, Ebay, Twitter, etc.). To be fair, Oracle has to consider the technology uptake of its customers before it releases updates to delivered self service functionality. Case in point, the Campus Solutions product line can not begin leveraging advances in the PeopleTools 8.50+ user interface (UI) until after July 2011 due to customer concerns around upgrading their PeopleTools installs. That being said, I watched a four year old at Best Buy last night jump on to a store display laptop, log into his dad's Facebook account, and post a message to his mom. Leaving aside the issue that this little guy had his dad's account credentials I did a double take on how this kid knew what he was doing. It boils down to the interface being intutive, user friendly, and performing quickly. The message I pose to the couple of you :) that read my blog is - what are the key items that make a great user interface for self service transactions? In my mind I focus on three items - ease of navigation (minimal clicks), snappy performance, and logical data arrangement but that's just me. I would love to hear your feedback on what you'd like to see in terms of the UI of self service.
10 Comments
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Minimal Clicks and Customization

November 11, 2010 12:25 PM by James Slizewski
100% agree with everything you said especially about reducing clicks. I also think making the self service user interface easily customizable would be very helpful since "logical data arrangement" can be in the eye of the beholder (ok... like 10% of the time it is...).

Clean and Time-Driven

November 12, 2010 02:28 PM by Julie Parmenter
I think that the interface should be clean and easy to understand, with customizable links and icons. I would also add that there should be the ability to push content to the top page based on the business cycle. For example during final grades time, there should be the ability to push a link to "See my final grades" to the top portion of the first page. Likewise, during enrollment period there should be a top link and icon that says, "Enroll in next semesters classes now".

Self Service needs to be trashed and rewritten.

November 16, 2010 02:10 PM by Brad Paradise

Oracle needs to completely rewrite the self service interface. It is labor-intensive, and I haven’t met a single student who thinks it is intuitive. I have even heard that some students out there are rewriting the interface themselves (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoocuhvP-m4)!!

Take a look at http://www.myedu.com/

It is a great example of a clean, easy to use, student centric interface.

Win Some - Lose Some - Why not incorporate some?

November 16, 2010 02:53 PM by Thomas Cote

For the most part, I really like the self service.  Any system that offers this much functionality will be confusing to some people and clear to others.  That is the nature of any system.  Posting on Facebook is a cakewalk compared to determining the pre requisites of an upcomming class.  So those people that 'can' will, those that 'cannot' will always complain and site blame away from themselves.  It has been like this since punchcards.

That being said.  The mix of links and drop down edit boxes in the Records section of Student SS (and others) should be more consistant... adding some style would be nice.

Oracle should really leverage the customizations that the schools do themselves.  Certainly they are well designed, proven successful and no doubt shared for free.  I know that we have some that could be developed into the product with huge gains that would be no more than a day or two of their development time.  Can you imagine the power that all of our customizations would have on the overall improvement of the system in a relatively short time?

Thanks for the feedback so far

November 20, 2010 04:50 PM by Paul Czarapata
Please keep more coming!!

Intuitive, relevant and responsive

November 22, 2010 10:51 AM by Roger Lurie
The self service model must be intuitive and integrated with a common look and feel for all components. All too often, we develop applications in silos so that our admissions application, portal and other tools all have inconsistent headers, footers and interfaces. We need to reach a point where all applications have the same consistent intuitive interface like what you would expect from Amazon.com. The application must be responsive and useful with relevant messaging and links targeted for the audience. A faculty member should see a different interface when they login from what an incoming freshman should see.

Small schools rely on the delivered product

November 30, 2010 12:44 PM by Jim Rink

At our tiny little school we simply do not have resources to customize the application and would even have issues incorporating and maintaining customizations that others may give us and so we rely on Oracle to deliver the best solutions possible. 

The most important features that can be delivered to us are those that allow for the most configuration options;  being able to have access to a user (not developer) tool to determine how pages are presented, what order they are presented in.  To be able to determine content of things like labels, icons, text boxes and help dialogs.  To be able to toggle key page elements.  Those are the tools that we would like to see delivered particularly in Self-Service but could also be extended to key pages for the administrative users. 

Keep it coming!

November 30, 2010 12:58 PM by Paul Czarapata
I really appreciate this feedback, please keep it coming. If you don't feel comfortable posting in public, please email me privately (click on my name and you'll get to my email address).

Self service is a fast moving target

December 3, 2010 05:43 PM by Larry Adams

It hasn't been that long when any self-service was good.  Now, we are worried about clicks and real estate and quick comprehension.  Luckily, students are quick e-learners.  Faculty can often be a more difficult task.  In my opinion, an important part about self-service initiatives is identifying what will last - stay around long enough to justify the investment.

A graphical schedule would be one area - but it needs to be able to consider holiday calendars and allow for different grid times on different days.  The myedu.com has interesting concepts - thanks for that link...

involve the students or at least ask them

December 22, 2010 10:27 AM by Bill Anderson

Students will tell you what's wrong and what they want when given the opportunity. For inspiration, try viewing the Youtube video posted by a student from the class of 2013 at University of Virginia about how he is re-writing the self service interface to make it more intuitive and with much fewer clicks.

The comments below the video are equally enlightening.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoocuhvP-m4&feature=related

PS:  hopefully this is a UofV sponsored project and not a hacker video lol

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