Possibly random thoughts of a oddly organized dba with a very short attention span

11.25.2009

MOS, Flash, benefit enrollment and purple crayons ...

Nuno's post today coincided with an email I received from Oracle Support, expressing a sentiment similar to that in the email Nuno received from KEH. I won't attempt to post the entire email from Oracle Support, as it's full of pictures and links, but here's the 'thank you for your patience' section:

Thank you for your patience during this transition period. We recognize that some customers experienced poor performance and access issues during the week following the migration, and those issues have now been addressed. This upgrade completes the consolidation of all Oracle customers and partners onto a unified support platform. Now, from a single location, you can manage your support needs and utilize the proactive support capabilities across all Oracle products.

Although this is a big improvement over the controversial Warticki post, they still seem to be missing the point. No, I can't manage my support needs from a single location because all the excess on the pages means it doesn't necessarily work from my location when I need it to. Or maybe that's the intent of the message: I shouldn't expect to connect to MOS from all of my locations. Instead I can relocate me to my single point of Flash to get my support needs met. I think I finally get it :)

In one of those lovely ironic twists that the universe seems to delight in, our annual benefits enrollment period coincided with the Oracle cut-over to MOS, shortly after I had complained about Flash on the Oracle-L list. I work for a large company that is quite a proponent of everything video, so you guessed it, we were inundated with many many emails containing an enormous amount of information available on bazillion informational web pages and video links. This sounds like it would be helpful, yes? Nope, because the amount of time required to review all this graphical stuff compared to the amount of useful information gained was way out of proportion. There was a steady stream of emails for a few weeks, and every so often I'd take a look at one of them, realize very quickly that I did not have enough time that day (or week) to watch the video or click through the overfull pages. Then I'd file the email.

At 10:00 pm two days before the deadline to complete my benefits enrollment, I finally decided to get it over with and found that the referenced sites wouldn't even load over my vpn connection. I don't usually do personnel type stuff during my workday but this year I had no choice. This is a huge corporate inefficiency and it annoys the industrial engineer in me. Understood, not everyone would choose to complete their benefit enrollment from home, but regardless of where the employees reviews and completes the forms, the amount of time it now takes to get through all the information is much, much greater that it used to be.

So the next morning was dedicated to benefits enrollment, but I was in for a pleasant surprise. Once I waded through all the emails, skipping the videos and other junque, to find the link to the enrollment page, it was very simple and very efficiently designed. Since the employees have to live with the clicks they make on these pages for a full year, there were a few extra 'submit and confirm' type pages, but considering the context, it was kept to an appropriate level. I finished the enrollment and discovered I had more of my morning left than I had expected. This is when I realized that it's not Flash that I hate, the problem is what developers do with Flash. They're like a kid with his first purple crayon and suddenly everything has to purple, the walls, the floor and even the cat.



Maybe the real problem lies with the overachieving developers that think they're making the computer executed infomercial version of Titanic. Someone needs to explain to them that we don't want to sit on our butts and watch this stuff all day. I don't need entertainment from my benefits enrollment info or my time entry training or my software support site. Perhaps their bosses could minimize their tool bars or assign maximum flash per page quotas. If they'd just learn the elegance in design simplicity mantra that used to be enforced by scarce resources, Flash might not be such a bad thing. It's like accessorizing an outfit - if you go all animal print or all metallic, the effect is overwhelming and then it's just tacky.

Hmmm ... trying to think of the male version of that analogy and I'm at a loss. Of the things men like most, is there a time when just a little is better? Beer, food, cars, sports, sex? ... nope, men seem to like what they like with as much excess as possible. Perhaps Flash developers are all male? never mind ... that's one thread we don't need to follow.

1 comment:

Noons said...

Men are form Mars,
women are from Venus,
Flash developers are from Pluto...
:)

Seriously though: nothing wrong with Flash, IMHO. If used in a fashion that makes one's work easier. But just for the sake of "glitz"?

Example: all the "we'll teach you MOS" portions of the Dashboard, why can't I just flag them as viewed and they won't show up again?
Totally irrelevant to my usage of MOS, and it is likely I'll never find a good use for OCM in its current form, so STOP ramming it down my face!
I do NOT need it! Let me get rid of it!

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