Personalization and Set Up Functions in BLAF: Overview

Last Updated 03.06.03

General Description

Personalization and set up functions are seen througout Oracle Applications. The user types who perform these functions vary, as well as the scope and content that is being altered varies. This guideline groups and summarizes the wide variey of personalization and set up functions across Oracle products into categories, and provides a design brief of what is available today, and what will be designed in the future. Note: This guideline is a design brief that outlines some existing BLAF designs for personalization and set up functions as well as identifies areas where there are missing designs. This guideline has not yet been updated since November 2002 to reflect ongoing work in page personalization and administration setup.

Guideline Attributes

Spec Version # - 3.1
Spec Contributors - Betsy Beier, Lisa Serface
UI Models - All Models
Example Products - All Products
Related Guidelines - Personalization of Tables: Templates, Personalization of Tables: Flows, Search and Query Templates, Search and Query Flows, Global Preferences Flow, Global Page Templates

Overview of Personalization and Set Up Functions

There are two main user types for set up and personalization functions: an administrator (application admin, system admin, content admin), and an end-user. An administrator sets up applications, systems or content for end-users to use. An end-user personalizes his or her own content, layout, or detailed data display of the applications he/she may use.

For each user type, the personalization or set up functions that can be performed may be scoped across many applications (or suite) or be for only one application. Based on the user type and the scope of functionality, there are several design considerations that can be made to make the user experience (administrator or end-user) consistent and most effective based on the task at hand.

For instance, administrative functions for setting up content per domain may be several flows combined into one stand alone application or module. The administrator works in an "abstracted mode" to configure all the necessary functions that will affect content options and possibilities that pertain to many applications. Once the set up tasks are completed, he/she may open up an affected application and see that the set up functions indeeed are configured as expected.

On the other hand, an end-user may want to personalize the display of a table on a specific page within an application. He she may have some direct manipulation techniques for changing the display while the object is still in view (sorting a column of data in a table, say) or depending on the complexity of the display options, he/she may navigate to another page to update the display. When the changes are made, he/she navigates back to the page with the table to see that the changes are correct.

Like mentioned above, these different design considerations may be made given the specific task, and/or user needs, but overall this guideline should provide a consistent experience within and across these types of personalization and set up functions.

User Types and Definitions

Administrator: Application Administrator, System Administrator, or Content Administrator
There are several different types of administrative users. Each administrator may have a slightly different role, but in general perform a similar type of task: setting up features, functions, or UI's for other end application users to use. Depending on the size of the company, these functions may be performed by the same individual.

For instance, an application administrator may set up the entire application suite for a company. He/she may install several applications and configure each to fit the business needs and rules of the company. He/she may also set up a companies system such that legacy data (from other applications or database systems) are connected with the current applications he/she is configuring.

A system administrator may perform detailed application system functionality tasks such as setting up users, security rights, and priveledges for an application suite.

Lastly, a content administrator may set up content for an application or suite of applications based on larger business process flows and/or domain specific needs. These set up functions may affect what UI and content and end-user can see and/or use. For instance, he/she may set up "templates" or common content that can be used by other end-users.

Application End-User
An application end-user performs personalization functions that are specific to only him/herself. These personalization settings do not affect any other users. These types of personalization functions may range from setting a date preference to be seen one way throughout all his/her applications or changing a page layout to fit his/her specific needs. See below for detailed examples.

List and Scope of Personalization and Set Up Functions Per User Type

The image below outlines all the different set up or personalization functions based on user type (administrator or end-user) and the scope of the function (across applications or for a single application only.) There are some parallel functions where an administrator may set up certain features for end users that then the end users can personalize for themselves. When designing these UI's it important to consider the relationship and consistency between the two different user types.
Overview and Scope of Personalization and Set Up Functions Per User Type
overview image.

Administrative Set Up Functions and Definitions

End User Personalization Functions and Definitions

Design Considerations

Below outlines design considerations that must be made when personalization and set up functions are exposed. For consistency across applications and across similar personalization and set up functions, the same design model should be used.

Access Points (Stand Alone to Local) Based on Scope of Functionality

Based on the personalization and/or set up function that is going to be performed, the first design consideration that should be made is how does the user (administrator or end-user) access the functions? Are the functions in an application of it's own (stand alone), a tab within an application (global to the application), or a button located next to the specific object (local) that is being personalized?

Based on the user type that is accessing the functionality, the frequency in which the functionality is used and the breadth or scope of the functionality, a different design choice may be made. Below lists the common access points for all different personalization and set up functions:

Centralized (Insitu) vs. Decentralized (Edit Mode)

Once the access point is chosen for the personalization and/or set up functions, it must be determined whether or not the functions are "centralized" or insitu with the object/page/application that is being personalized/changed in view or whether or not the user should navigate to a "decentralized" location to perform the personalization or set up tasks.

For instance, when an end-user personalizes a table, he/she navigates to a "decentralized" location (drilldown) page from the actual content that is being personalized. In contrast, some other objects are personalized in a "centralized" location or insitu with the object itself.

Direct Manipulation vs. "Abstracted" Manipulation

Whether or not the administrative user or end-user is in a "centralized" or "decentralized" location to edit the functions, another design consideration must be thought through. Should the user be able to directly manipulate the content he/she is personalizing (or setting up) or should he/she be presented with a more "abstracted" form of personalization or set up?

For instance, sorting of a column header of a table is a form a direct manipulation where the content that is being altered is in view when the personalization is happening. An alternative form of sorting may be to drilldown to a different page and select sorting options from a table (say which columns to sort and what order should each column be sorted.) This latter example would be an example of "abstracted" manipulation since the content that is being altered is not in view at the same time as the personalization functions are being performed.

Layout (Display) vs. Content

Lastly, another design consideration that comes into play when creating the user interface for personalization and/or set up functions is what exactly is being updated? Is just the layout (where items are positioned or where items within a component are positioned) being altered, or is also content being determined as well?

For instance, in Table personalization, the use can not only change the layout (display) of the table (i.e. the appropriate order of the columns) but can also determine what data (content) should be shown as well (i.e., saving search criteria. On the other hand, some personalization or set up functions may only require that display is changed, and not data. For instance, an administrator may determine the default order of the tabs to be displayed in an application but can not change the content within those tabs.

Open/Closed Issues