Branding ADF Applications

Author: Infomentum

Author: Nabil Makhout

Nabil presented his tips on branding ADF applications at UKOUG’s Apps 15 conference.

Every new application created with the WebCenter Portal framework and ADF comes with default styling that you extend from an out-of-the-box skin, like Skyros. But if every time we created an application with the default style, it would be a very boring and monotonous digital world. That’s where skinning comes in to brand your application to your company guidelines!

Why branding?

First of all, it promotes recognition of your brand and sets you apart from the competition. A brand is something you build over the years; customers know what to expect from your company when they recognise your brand. Strong brands build trust and customer satisfaction. Brands give potential clients a firm idea of what they are buying before they buy it, making the purchasing decision easier. Font-family, animations, colours, layouts and so many more factors contribute to building a brand. So branding has so many benefits for your company and your application. Now, let’s have a look how to do it.

Workflow to brand your application?

Use a build tool like gulp to automate part of your workflow. This helps you to stay focused on your code without needing to pay attention to the important, but repetitive, details. These tools allow you to write your code (hopefully) once, and reuse it throughout the development process. Build tools take care of minification, different versions for different environments, and while you are writing code you can get notifications that you have an error, etc. This is just scratching the surface. There is so many more things you can do with it. Have a look at gulpjs for more information.

You can also use SVG as icons. Personally, I like to use font-icons also known as glyphicons. Essentially, you combine SVGs into a font file and you can refer them in the CSS. The nice thing about this method is that you always have a JSON backup and the images are vector based. So you can make it bigger or smaller without losing quality! The annoying thing with a sprite is that you need to recalculate the background positions sometimes. Well, that’s history with your font-icons.

Dos and don’ts in development

- Do try dropping old versions of IE
- ADF comes with a lot of interactive components, so do try to stay away from js and do try to use best practices to get the solution you need
- Don’t use inline styles

I hope this helps other developers to brand your applications to your company’s style!

Strategy first, technology second

Author: Infomentum

Author: Rachel Edwards

I have a Google habit. It’s the curse (or blessing!) of growing up in the ‘digital age’ (but please, don’t call me a millennial). That’s to say that I rely on my smartphone to Google anything and everything. Admit it, you’re guilty too.

Scientists believe that this habit of ‘googling’ everything is actually making our attention spans shorter. It’s a common practise in this ‘digital’ era; throw technology at a problem and it will solve it. That works, right? When it comes to your business, the ‘Google’ effect is not the answer.

Don’t stumble in the dark

To thrive in the digital age, it’s not about having to bring every piece of new or exciting technology on board, and shoehorning it into a place in your organisation. It’s about carrying out your normal business functions and processes more effectively and efficiently. It’s about enabling your employees to better serve your customers.

Just bringing in any technology with no clear roadmap for how this will evolve with your organisation, and solve business problems, is fruitless. There are some scary stats out there telling us that two thirds of digital transformation initiatives fail. But it doesn’t need to be that way.

Strategy first

What experience do you want your partners, suppliers, customers and employees to have? It’s not about the technology. It’s about how they feel when they’re using it; and you certainly don’t want that to be one of frustration or fatigue with the system. Rather than focusing on the technologies you think you need, or that you want, which is an operational move, take the strategic move first.

Consider how anyone interacting with your organisation behaves; whether it’s web, social media, telephone or any other channel. This will help you to identify the processes causing the biggest pain points. Once you understand the gripes in your current processes, you can pinpoint the key areas which could benefit from change.

Technology second

It’s all very well knowing where you need to change today. But how does that help you decide on what your technology stack looks like?

Understanding what you want your business of tomorrow to look like is key to ensuring the changes you make today enable your business to grow. It’s important to consider your culture; how will you manage the change internally and prepare your business to transform? Once you’ve got these details in tow, you’re well on the way to mapping the technologies to which will overhaul your creaking processes and bridge that gap to where you want your business to be.

This might not be something you can carry out alone; many businesses bring in outside agencies with the expertise in user journey mapping and technical architecture. It will certainly pay to consult the experts in the long run for the success of your transformation. They’ve been there, done it and learnt the lessons.

So, before you throw technology at your problem, take a step back to consider the bigger picture. Your business will thank you for it.

Download our whitepaper “Talking Transformation – a CEOs guide to dealing with Digital Disruption” for more information on how to move your digital initiatives forward.

Are you keeping pace? Three trends to address now.

Author: Infomentum

Author: Leigh Hopwood

How many blogs have you read that start with ‘the world is changing’? Guess what, the world has changed. Scientists in the States believe that we are currently going through a technology revolution that will have the same impact on our planet as the industrial revolution. And they think robots will become commonplace sooner than you think!

That’s all very well, but what is going on now that we need to be responding to in the coming months – if we aren’t already?!

1) Consumerisation

Maybe over used, but customers are driving change. Their expectations are growing. And organisations all over the world are putting their customers first – even Ryanair has realised the benefits of looking after customers. More than ever we need to be listening to customers. Of course, customers are people, like you and me. These days they are more informed than ever before, enabling them to be more opinionated, more creative and more demanding.

So if your customers are frustrated because they find it difficult to do business with you, they will not remain loyal. They will not just move on, but they will tell their friends… publicly, via Facebook and Twitter. What are you doing to meet the needs of your customers?

2) Multi-channel

Who invented the damn smart phone? Ok, so I love it really, but they have changed human behaviour. When you get on the tube, many commuters have their eyes glued to a screen. I’m even favouring putting my children in front of the TV than have them spend hours on a tablet.

The point is, the power and flexibility that mobility brings to people is immense. From being informed, communicating with friends and colleagues, to finding information quickly and conducting processes and transactions on the move.

For organisations looking to find or retain their competitive advantage, you need to be providing a dynamic, integrated and customer experience that is the same across all channels.

3) Cloud

The ‘Cloud’ has been around for a long time. However, now it is robust and more reliable. Ok, so you might hesitate to put your business critical applications on it – but customers and employees expect you to deliver services via the cloud.

The good news is that you don’t have to act like a Harrier Jump Jet and head straight for the cloud. You can take a more phased approach and migrate over time based on customer or employee needs, end of life support for technology, legacy replacement or change of requirements.

Taking a more hybrid approach enables you to take advantage of the best of both worlds, and gives you the opportunity to digitally transform business processes by simply adding a digital interface to your legacy systems.

Whatever your key IT projects are for 2016, I suspect many of them will hang on one of these key trends. And if they don’t – and you haven’t addressed the above yet – then it’s time to start planning your projects for the year ahead.

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