Help User Interface Guidelines Print this Page
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Contents
 
General Principles
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This document provides some basic interaction principles for the different types of user interface (UI) help. Its purpose is to assist teams in making decisions about the correct type of help to use to solve a particular need as they design Oracle Fusion applications.

 
What Is Available in Oracle Fusion?
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Embedded Help

Embedded help consists of five types:

  • Static instruction text
  • In-field help note
  • Terminology definition
  • Bubble help
  • User assistance popup (UAP)

These types appear in the local area of the UI shell (figure 1):

UI Shell Areas
Figure 1. UI shell areas

These help types enable users to complete their tasks and to reduce errors as they interact with the UI. For example, if users are completing a data entry form, an in-field help note can provide them with information about the correct data format required, any field restrictions that might apply, or how the data is used downstream (figure 2):

In-Field Help Note
Figure 2. In-field help note

For more information about embedded help types, see the Embedded Help Pattern Set.

The UAP (figure 3) contains embedded help text and links to nonembedded help topics delivered as Oracle Fusion Applications Help, if either is necessary.

You can place the UAP icon that launches the popup in the page header, subheader, or sub-subheader region in the local area. If a tab has no subheaders but requires a UAP, then you can place the icon last in the toolbar, preceded by a separator. In the case of a tab consisting of form fields only with no subheaders, you can place the icon in the upper-right corner of the tab (spaced three pixels evenly from the borders). If a tab with form fields has no headers, but does include buttons, then place the icon after the last button:

User Assistance Popup and Icon
Figure 3. UAP and icon

The UAP text can include a short introduction to the task, subtask, process, tools used, the impact the task has on the broader business process, tips, examples, and best practices.

You can also include up to five links to nonembedded help topics in the UAP. These links provide access to detailed nonembedded help topics, such as conceptual information, FAQs, examples, and demos. For example, if users are setting up a Financials application for the first time, a UAP can provide information about best practices, business process flows, and implementation steps. Also consider these additional UAP guidelines:

  • Do not repeat any embedded help that already appears in the local area in UAPs.
  • UAPs include a More Help icon that provides access to all related nonembedded help topics in the Oracle Fusion Applications Help.

For more information, see the UAP pattern.

Oracle Fusion Applications Help

Nonembedded help (consisting of FAQs, conceptual information, examples, process flows, demos, reference information, and glossary entries) is delivered to customers as the Oracle Fusion Applications Help.

The Oracle Fusion Applications Help runs in a separate UI shell (figure 4):

Fusion Applications Help
Figure 4. Oracle Fusion Applications Help
Each help topic loads in a new window or tab (figure 5):
Help Topic
Figure 5. Help topics in UI shell tabs

Users access the context-specific Oracle Fusion Applications Help topics from within an Oracle Fusion application in one of the following ways:

Oracle Fusion Applications Help Access

Expected Behavior

Topic links in the UAP

Help topic links shown in the UAP are generated and are based on a specific UAP key (set by the information developer using the UAP key element in Arbortext Editor in the XML source topic) and application context (language, localization, vertical, and release). Clicking a link opens the help topic in a new window or tab.
More Help link in the UAP Clicking this link opens the Oracle Fusion Applications Help in a new window or tab. The results are filtered by any application context (language, localization, vertical, and release).
Help link in the global area of the UI shell

Clicking this link (figure 6) opens the Oracle Fusion Applications Help in a new window or tab, displaying search results for all business process model activities associated with the current work area. The results are also filtered by any application context (language, localization, vertical, and release).

For more information, see the UI Shell Guidelines.

Oracle Fusion Applications Search in the global area of the UI shell

Results are filtered by keyword search and any application context. Clicking one of topic titles in the search results opens the topic in a new window or tab.

For more information, see the UI Shell Guidelines.


UI Shell Global Area Help
Figure 6. UI shell global area Help link
Help Search in UI Shell Global Area
Figure 7. Help search in UI shell global area

Users can also access Oracle Fusion Applications Help using an internet search with any search engine, as it is an Oracle-hosted site. Users can also install it locally within their firewalls.

The Oracle Fusion Applications Help enables users to search for additional content using a keyword search (figure 8), which supports a typeahead feature.


Search Results in UI Shell Global Area
Figure 8. Search results in Oracle Fusion Applications Help

Users can navigate to content using the product or process regional areas, or users can click breadcrumbs shown at the top of the search results in the local area or at the top of topics. They can bookmark Help topics for later reference, and they can see the new and updated topics in the contextual area. The topics include collaboration features such as ratings, tagging, and discussions.

Nnonembedded help is typically not secured based on users. However, certain Oracle Fusion Applications Help features, such as ratings and tagging, require a valid sign in.

Users can extend Oracle-provided help by editing the topics or adding their own. This requires users to install the help locally. Users must be granted the appropriate privileges for customization. When the privilege is granted, a Manage Custom Help link (figure 9) appears in the UAP.


Fusion Applications Help Access Points
Figure 9. Manage Custom Help link in the UAP
Key Usage Considerations
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Consider these points when writing help:

  • Use help sparingly.
    • Too much embedded help clutters the user interface and increases its complexity.
    • Too much embedded help can distract users from the task.
      For example, in-field help notes are specifically designed to draw users' attention. Using too many in-field help notes may prevent users from completing their tasks quickly. Productivity is a critical differentiator for Oracle Fusion marketing.
    • Help should never attempt to compensate for a complex or confusing user interface.
    • Help must be contextual, relevant, and concise in all cases.
  • Consider users' information needs related to the task.
    • Frequency of performing a task: Users need less help for frequently performed tasks.
      For example, a call center agent entering the service start date for phone service needs in-field formatting help only a few times. Assume that they have received some training or will learn from a helpful error message and do not provide embedded help that will become unnecessary after a few days of application use. Users need more help for infrequently performed tasks. For example, a financial analyst setting up a collections strategy once a year will need help every time. Embedded help is appropriate in this case.
    • Complexity of the task: Users need more help with complex tasks.
      For example, setting up a financial reporting system needs more help than a less complex task. Users need less help (or none at all) with simple tasks. For example, expense reporting needs less help than a more complex task.
    • Type of help content
      Pace high level, in-depth task information and links to nonembedded help content (Oracle Fusion Applications Help) in the UAP. This enables users to access this type of information when they need it without taking up valuable screen real estate or cluttering the local area of the UI.
      Place help for individual UI components (text fields, date pickers, and so on) in the local area of the UI Shell using embedded help interactions.
    • The difference between static instruction text and help in UAPs: Static instruction text provides directions that users need to know to complete the immediate task on screen. The UAP contains in-depth conceptual information regarding complex tasks that help users understand how the task fits into an overall process, or provides them with more information about things such as the broader business process impact, examples, best practices, and so on. Users can always see static instruction text, but a UAP requires users to click an icon

When to Use UAPs
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Use
Embedded Help

Use
UAP

Frequency of Use

Do users perform the actions frequently (for example, daily)?

   

Example 1: When entering a social security number (SSN), HR specialists do not need the SSN format in-field help because it is a commonly used field.

No

No

Example 2: When entering a number in a range of numbers, users may need to know what the range is and would need the in-field help.

Yes

No

Do users perform the action infrequently (for example, monthly)?

Yes

Yes

Do users perform rarely perform the action (for example, annually)?

   

Example 1: When performing an appraisal, users may need to be reminded about what the weighting column refers to when rating the employee’s competencies through bubble help.

Yes

No

Example 2: When entering an expense report, users may need links to expense process information.

No

Yes

Granularity of Information

Does the information pertain to a specific UI component or field?

   

Example 1: When determining the delinquency status, users need information based on best practices.

No

Yes

Example 2: When determining the delinquency status, users need definitions of terminology used within the UI.

Yes

No

Does the information pertain to a specific term or a concept?

   

Example 1: A term used in the label needs a definition.

Yes

No

Example 2: The concept referenced in a page or page section requires an in-depth explanation.

No

Yes

Application Validation

Do users need guidelines about entering data?

Yes

No

Do users need immediate feedback for his data entry (that is, at UI component level)?

Yes

No

Does the application perform validation on users' entries at the page level?

Yes

No

Timing of Information Delivery

Do users need information about a specific field based on a larger context (for example, a task flow)?

   

Example 1: When implementing an application, do users need to know about the downstream effects of a particular decision?

No

Yes

Example 2: When entering product information, do users need to know the format of the item number?

Yes

No

When do users need information about a field?

Immediately

As needed

Example 1: Immediately when entering data in the field (for example, the date format in an in-field help note), users are presented with instructions about the correct date format.

Yes

No

Example 2: Occasionally when using a field, users request more information by hovering over the terminology definition icon.

Yes

No

 
Pre-Fusion Help Mapping
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Pre-Fusion Applications

Oracle Fusion Applications

Instruction Text: Header Static Instruction Text
  1. Limited to one brief paragraph
  2. Could be placed anywhere on the page
  1. Limited to two lines of text
  2. Tied to the section and subsection headers
  Static Instruction Text
Tip: Content Container Not directly supported as UI help. Use other Oracle Fusion help interactions such as a UAP or static instruction text.

Not applicable
Tip: Regular

Not directly supported as UI help. Use static instruction text.

Not applicable

 

In-Field Help: Formatting

Always appears

Appears only when users click the field or press the Tab key to move to the field

In-Field Help Note

Help Text: Field Restriction

In-Field Help: Field Restrictions

Always appears

Appears only when users click the field or press the Tab key to move to the field

In-Field Help Note

Instruction Text: Component In-Field Help: Explanation

Always appears

 

Appears only when users click the field or press the Tab key to move to the field

In-Field Help Note

Bubble Help

Bubble Help

Bubble Help
Information Messages Terminology Definition
  • Screen text always appears
  • Clicking an icon opens an external window with additional information

Appears only when users hover over an icon

Terminology Definition

Content Container

User Assistance Popup

Always appears

Called explicitly by users

User Assistance Popup

Oracle Applications Help Oracle Applications Search
Different E-Business Suite product teams adopted the iHelp model in different ways, either as context-sensitive iHelp or as standalone flat HTML formatted help

Provides access to context-sensitive nonembedded help topics delivered as the Oracle Fusion Applications Help

UI Shell Help Access Points


 
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