Friday, December 18, 2009

MOS Certify: An offer and an opportunity

I wrote my first program in 1969 and have been using computers a lot since that first program. I've developed a bunch of habits, viewpoints and stodgy? ideas about how to interact with computers.

As a result, I am very vocal about the shortcomings of the new My Oracle Support interface.

I'm also a member of Toastmasters International. (AC-S.) A base philosophy in TMI is "feedback is important (even critical), and feedback needs to be constructive". As a result, I try to provide feedback that identifies positive things, things for improvement (including why), and how to improve.


I was planning on tackling MOS Certify this weekend. It's an important tool in the Professional's toolkit. But it ain't working quite right.

Timing is interesting - on Tuesday, I noticed the folk developing the Certify screens invited us to give feedback on proposed changes. So I signed up for the Thursday afternoon conference call.

To my major disappointment, I was the only customer on the call. At least 1/2 dozen people from Oracle were there, but no other customer.

A lot of my colleagues have whinged about MOS and about certify, but NOT ONE showed up to the opportunity to provide feedback.

COWARDS ?!? (Probably not - but as a community, I bet we going to hide behind a hundred and one excuses.)

To be fair, I just barely stumbled on the announcement.

As I've often said, the UI style in MOS seems geared toward teaching me to ignore information - Alerts that don't alert; News that becomes Olds; and multiple steps to accomplishing simple things like "the click on Community tab to get the opportunity to click on a button to get to a separate tab/browser on which we click to get to the discussion", training people to rush through - and past announcements.

(Has anyone noticed how BUSY the My Oracle Support Community Dashboard page is? Nothing can be suppressed, all has equal importance except the Spotlight which is 1) not relevant to me, and 2) has constantly distracted me from Announcements.)

For these kinds of announcements, perhaps MOS should

- have a 'news' region on the relevant pages (Knowledge Browser, Patch, Certify)
- make sure that region contains only timely news
- get involved in the OTN community
- perhaps have a "MOS Announcements" forum in Community (if run by them ...)
- or make important announcements in "Community Feedback and Suggestions" forum
- put it on the Sign-On page, instead of the "Why Flash is good for you" message
- update the related MOSC Dashboard Announcement that is correct (since info is updated)


To make a long story short, Oracle is redesigning the Certify screen. They presented a variation, based on the 'Browse Knowledge' region on the Knowledge tab.

(I am not enamored of that 'Browse Knowledge' technique - it is not intuitive for me. But I'm willing to admit, that may be my problem, not MOS. I'll tackle that in another blog on 'MOS: Taxonomy', hopefully this weekend.)

The MOS team offered to listen. And indeed did listen to my individual voice. And while I do appreciate the chance at performing solo to a captive audience, my stage roles are usually part of an opera chorus, adding one voice amongst many.


There will be another opportunity to provide feedback. On Tuesday 22 December 2009, 8AM PST (11:00 AM Eastern; 5:00 PM CET)

Details available using the following steps:

1. Go to the "MOS Community" page
  • Log in to MOS (Flash)
  • Click on Communities
  • Click on the button
  • Go to the new tab or browser
2. On the MOSC Main Page (Dashboard) GO to the "Using My Oracle Support All Communities Discussion"
(And the above steps are supposed to be intuitive, right??)

Since this is hidden behind a Flash wall, the above link may not be an actual or useful link (sigh!). If I get permission from the MOS team, I'll post a link or the actual dial-in information.

This is our opportunity to provide design and usability input. I hope that someone besides me attends on Tuesday.


Mike Charchuk said...


I'm surprised that you were the only one there. Personally I had a prior meeting booked at that time and I actually have another meeting Tuesday morning. I'm just a consultant who is currently working very part time so I can imagine others who have actual work to do may be hard pressed to attend.

I have used certify for the ebusiness suite in the non-flash version and it seems to work for me. At least for the eBusiness searches I have carried out.

I can't contribute much to the flash version because I use a Mac and flash is unusable on it.

I will try to get out of my commitment on Tuesday and attend.

Mike Charchuk said...

Just heard back from Chris @ oracle. These sessions are only for the flash version, so I'm passing on attending it.

Forbrich said...


I was pretty surprised myself. With all the negative comments about MOS, I fully expected that people would flock to this opportunity.

While they will be talking about the Flash version, there are schema/dictionary implications that likely will cause the HTML version to be revised. I suspect the HTML version will mimic the Flash design, if not the LAF.

I certainly understand that people have other commitments (and that Oracle did not provide a lot of lead time) but there are thousands of people who have MOS access so at least a few should have the chance to pipe up.

Or perhaps very few indeed do actually care.