Skip to main content

"Every Day" Applications

Lots of good insight in this short article: http://bokardo.com/archives/everyday-app/

It's interesting that across the world, the number of sites that we use on a daily basis is relatively small and consistent. I can attest to this, as I fit pretty much in the 7-8 range.

Quite often when designing a site for use on the public Internet, we obsess over all of the little details that take up the majority of the development cycle. This evidence suggests that we should do otherwise.

Think about the relationships we have with brick & mortar stores - we probably also have just a few that we frequent on a regular basis - grocery store, gas station, dry cleaners, bank, etc. All of these stores are designed with efficiency in mind. They want you - the customer - to get in, get what you need, and then get out as quickly as possible: grocery stores now have self checkouts; banks have drive-throughs and ATMs; gas stations let you pay at the pump, and so on.

Stores that we only visit on a monthly or less frequent basis have a different and more complex challenge - actually getting us to go there and then keeping us coming back. Their marketing challenge is far greater than that of the grocery store, as they know that they are not a commodity site, and we - the customer - have more of a choice. These types of stores include furniture stores, car dealers, specialty stores, and so on.

The experience with one of these stores typically includes some sort of interaction with their sales staff. They don't focus on efficiency as much, as they prefer a more guided sale, which often includes attempts at up-selling us to a more expensive product or option.

Thus, when we're building a site that is not classified as an "every day" site, - which may be more frequently than we had originally thought - we should take care to do the same. Focus on ease of use and simplicity. Add in as much guidance and make it easy to contact someone, should the user deem that necessary. We have to assume that the visitors of our site are not frequent visitors, and we only have a few seconds to entice them to become a customer. Thus, the entire experience should cater to this fact.

One final point - I totally agree with one of the comments regarding Linked In. I have also signed up, connected to most of the people that I know, and have the same "now what" feeling. Please let me know if I'm missing something!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thanks, ODC (Oracle Developer Community)!

I owe a lot of thanks to the ODC - which stands for Oracle Developer Community.  What is ODC?  You may remember it as OTN, or the Oracle Technology Network.  Same people, different name.  Why they changed it I can't say.  People just liked it better that way... (love that song)

In any case, what am I thankful for?  A lot.  To start, the tools that I use day in and day out: SQL Developer, ORDS, Oracle Data Modeler, SQLcl and - of course - APEX.  Without these tools, I'm likely on a completely different career path, perhaps even one that aligns more closely with my degree in television management.

While the tools are great, it's really the people that make up the community that make ODC stand out. From the folks who run ODC and the Oracle ACE program to the developers and product managers who are behind the awesome tools, the ODC community is one of, if not the greatest asset of being involved with Oracle's products.

If you have yet to get more involved with this communi…

Spaced Out

A while back, I wrote about how to give the Universal Theme a face lift.  If you follow the steps in that post, the base font for an APEX application with the Universal Theme can easily be changed.

While that's all well and good, sometimes you only want to change the font for a report, not the entire page.  One of the applications that I'm building contains a number of IRs based mostly on log data.  Thus, having that data in a monospaced font would make it a whole lot easier to read.

You can search Google Fonts for monospaced fonts by selecting only that option on the right-side menubar.  You can also opt for the standard yet kinda boring Courier and achieve the same thing.

To implement this in your application, follow the steps in my other post, but stop shy of the final step.  Instead of pasting in the text that I specify, paste in the following to the Custom CSS field in Theme Roller, using the name of the font you selected for the font-family:

.a-IRR-table tr td { font-fam…

Logging APEX Report Downloads

A customer recently asked how APEX could track who clicked “download” from an Interactive Grid.  After some quick searching of the logs, I realized that APEX simply does not record this type of activity, aside from a simple page view type of “AJAX” entry.  This was not specific enough, and of course, led to the next question - can we prevent users from downloading data from a grid entirely?

I knew that any Javascript-based solution would fall short of their security requirements, since it is trivial to reconstruct the URL pattern required to initiate a download, even if the Javascript had removed the option from the menu.  Thus, I had to consider a PL/SQL-based approach - one that could not be bypassed by a malicious end user.

To solve this problem, I turned to APEX’s Initialization PL/SQL Code parameter.  Any PL/SQL code entered in this region will be executed before any other APEX-related process.  Thus, it is literally the first place that a developer can interact with an APEX page…