I wondered about the new Oracle Groundbreakers menu option and just read your announcement. Why would anyone choose Oracle Groundbreaking when looking for a product support forum? If I hadn't noticed the change, I would just ignore it. People may enjoy solving mysteries, but do not necessarily appreciate the challenge of locating information. How is this going to improve personal recognition or help to find anything people contribute? I think Groundbreaking is too far-fetched and another nail in the coffin going downhill if you ask me.
Below is a screenshot of what I see on the menu. Where do I find Oracle Linux - Oh, I need to use the scroll wheel to be able to see the rest of the menu, because the list, like any other menu I'm familiar with doesn't automatically scroll further when there is more to see. Well, it's a fundamental concept of any graphical UI to show what options are available.
Too many marketing buzzwords - not digestible, even with chocolate.
If I can make a recommendation, it would be best to consider what nomenclatures or terms people expect to find when looking for information. When information is too complex and doesn't fit on a single page or screen, partition.
It's perhaps not reasonable or necessary to put all the communities under one roof and to find a universal formula that represents the efforts and requirements of each community. However, to oversimplify and resort to advertising, or lack of it, in my opinion, is not the problem and won't help to address current pitfalls.
Why not create a site that provides information that people expect to find and does not require to go through the rigmarole of reading documentation and FAQ? Isn't that the way it should be?
Oracle have several programs of recognition for contributions to the community. Oracle ACEs, Java Champions and Oracle Goundbreaker Ambassadors (formely knows as Oracle Developer Champion program).
Oracle Goundbreaker Ambassadors program is a form of recognition for modern developers for their contributions to the developer community. The Oracle ACE program recognizes Oracle technical product experts; the Java Champions program celebrates Java enthusiasts and their expertise.
Top contributors of the Oracle Community Portal make significant contributions to the Oracle community and they can be nominated to be part of one of this program that best fit with their expertise.
The nomination is not automatic, someone can do the nomination filling the nomination form.
That's great for anyone fancy nominations, but how does this help regular people to find help and information, or help regular contributors and contributions to be seen? Is there a remote possibility that the people in charge bought too much into their own binary?
Didn't we just rename this to "Oracle Developer Community" just a few months ago? This has all the hallmarks of someone in middle-management, with a background in marketing and too much time on their hands. Solutions in search of a problem. Is it too late to vote "NO"?
This reminds me of the on-going disruption at any major brand supermarket (aka "grocery store"). They spend big bucks studying the layout of the store and customer shopping patterns, then re-arranging the entire store layout to the 'ideal' plan to maximize sales. And no sooner is the re-arranging, remodeling finally completed and customers figure out where everything is again, than someone in corporate management decides this "ideal, optimized layout" is not really ideal or optimized after all. So the whole cycle (and expense) starts over again. And again. And again.
I wonder how much study, thought, expense went into renaming the site "Oracle Developer Community", now being thrown out in favor of "Oracle Groundbreakers Community"? What will it be next year? How about a real honest "Oracle Unpaid Support Community"?
Reasonable marketing entails market research. If current study reveals that re-branding is the way to go, I wonder what went wrong with the previous re-branding. Does the name matter? How about re-branding the name Oracle? I prefer to rely on some name that has a known reputation. What are all the site trackers good for? They are indeed not tracking my preferences or behavior. I suppose Oracle could create polls and ask what people prefer or how to improve navigation and participation in particular, but the people in charge are perhaps afraid of the responses. Management and blue print is one thing, doing and improving another. I don't buy the given reason for the new re-branding, because I don't see the logic.
To quote our English bard; "a name is just a name, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet"; in other words you can call it what you want it is what we have hear that matters.
Can I humbly suggest that it would be better if you allowed your leaderboard members to have a single gold ticket suggestion to the developers of their respective products - i.e. to submit on an annual basis a mail that would go direct to the product development team with key suggestions for improvements.
May I also suggest that we again see parity between this group and MOS, the recognition of MOS seems to be considerably higher than this group as is reflected by points and recognition awards and the like.
Ewww! No offence but "Oracle Groundbreakers"? It sounds like we're a bunch of frackers. It doesn't lend itself to anything remotely connected to the field of software/database development/support.
I can see how it may be trying to make the community fit in with "TopLiners" in style, but to be honest, I never really understood what "TopLiners" was meant to represent as it also seemed to relate to certain products and have technical questions asked on it.
This is something that should have been put out to the community for voting on.
Oh, and while I'm thinking about it...
Seriously... white text on a yellow background.
Are people supposed to be able to read that easily.
When I did User Interface Design at Uni back in the days, picking your colour combinations was stressed as being a very important part of it all. White on Yellow ... I mean c'mon... wtf!
Poor branding, badly executed.
I am not normally very interested in branding and marketing, nor really qualified to comment on it, but as you are asking for opinions:
- Why has this term been chosen as being representative of the Oracle development community?
- This is not a common word in either American or British English. It will therefore be even less familiar to non-native speakers of English (who make up most of this community), for whom it is more likely to conjure up images of the onset of construction work rather than be understood in its idiomatic sense of "an innovator; a pioneer".
- As a native speaker of English for nearly 50 years, whilst being quite familiar with the adjective "groundbreaking" I do not recall ever using the noun form "groundbreaker" to refer to another person. "Inventor", "innovator", "entrepreneur", "pioneer", "visionary", "genius", "trailblazer" perhaps, "groundbreaker" never.
- I am not alone in this. Quick searches of a few UK-based web sites also show that the term is not widely used:
- BBC: Our national public service broadcaster returns most hits (304), but 99% of these refer to one recent local TV programme, none of whose subjects have anything to do with software development or modern technology.
- The Times: Britain's newspaper of record returns 229 hits, but is split on whether the spelling is "groundbreakers" or "ground-breakers".
- The Guardian: This more progressive journal uses the term 118 times, but mainly in cultural rather than technological contexts.
- The Register: A technology and computing news site that records a paltry 20 uses of the word "groundbreakers".
- The work of the developer community is not necessarily "groundbreaking". Many of the best solutions discussed here involve nothing that is in any way innovative, but deal with correctly applying established techniques, following proper software development principles and methodologies, and utilising well-known and proven algorithms and design patterns.
- "Make, break, build."
- It is not at all clear what this tag is supposed to mean (if anything).
- In software development "make" and "build" are essentially the same thing, so the slogan is pointlessly repetitive as well as being opaque.
- "Break" can have several more or less technical meanings in software terms, many of them unfavourable. In juxtaposition with "build" its connotations are entirely negative.
- What is the reasoning behind the colours used?
- Personally I find the combination of red and what I will refer to as "teal" and "gold" to be jarring.
- The red hue used (#F80000) is that specified in the Oracle Brand guidelines, but neither the teal (#57C2E0) nor gold (#EA9D01) colours are from the prescribed palettes.
- Both the "Oracle Groundbreakers" text and the "Make, break, build" tag line are set in the Univers typeface specified in the Oracle Brand guidance. However, this is not the typeface used by the community site, which is specified in CSS as "Helvetica Neue, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif". For consistency, shouldn't both the site CSS and the "Oracle Groundbreakers" graphics be using Arial as this is the supplemental face to be used in web typography?
- The "drop shadow" effect used on the space title is an unfortunate throwback to 1990s desktop publishing.
- Why are the elements of the branding banner positioned as they are?
- The space title appears above "Oracle Groundbreakers" although it is supposedly subsidiary to it in the site structure.
- Text size indicates that "Make, break, build" is the most important thing on the page, but it has no meaning and serves no purpose.
- What are the blobby bits appearing at the start of the black section of the banner?
- Why are the gold navigation elements cut off at congruent angles to frame a completely empty space?
- Why are these angles different from those between the teal and black sections of the banner?
The actual implementation of the banner image and navigation elements is amateurish at best, certainly not what would be expected from one of the biggest technology companies in existence.
- Text as images
The textual content of the banner ("Oracle Groundbreakers" and "Make, break, build") is rendered using images of the text. The result is poor quality, low resolution, and not accessible. This technique is very far from "groundbreaking", being a truly venerable (and obsolete) concept dating to 25 years ago. There has been no need to do this—even for reasons of backward compatibility—for about 10 years. The best option would be to include the branding information as HTML content within the page. If this is not possible (we are dealing with Jive after all) then CSS rules can be used to inject the text as anonymous replaced elements using the
contentproperty and styling it as required. If for some reason this cannot be achieved and a background image is the only option available, then all current browser have support for SVG backgrounds that render as scalable vector graphics and text
At a detailed level, text positioning within the banner is somewhat odd. The "Oracle", "Groundbreakers", and "Make, break, build" elements all sit at slightly different levels. This is only just perceptible, so it is unlikely to be intentional (particularly as there is no apparent reason for "Oracle" and "Groundbreakers" to be treated as separate elements). The "Oracle" text also appears to be slightly truncated or cropped at top and bottom, and could even be very slightly smaller than "Groundbreakers".
- Image format
- The banner image is in JPEG format. This format is intended to be used for photographic images. It is not suited to the presentation of text and line graphics, and this is another reason for the poor quality of the banner image.
- Not responsive
- Contrary to Oracle's branding guidelines, the banner is decidedly not responsive. When the width of the viewport changes, the banner size changes disproportionately, resulting in deformation of the visual elements. This is particularly noticeable in the Oracle Signature logo on the right.
- As the width of the banner shrinks, the "Oracle Groundbreakers" text moves left to appear beneath the activation text for the placeholder pop-over, seriously compromising the legibility of this navigation component.
- Space header image
- The header image to the left of the space title is rendered using some unorthodox CSS, which in this case fails to account for the APEX space image having a non-standard size/aspect ratio, resulting in it being cropped despite there being sufficient space in the banner to display (most of) it.
- Navigation elements
- The navigation links on the gold strip are also weirdly out of alignment. The Overview/Content/People/More links on the left, Actions/About, and the social media icons on the right are positioned at slightly different levels, but not enough for this to appear intentional. (Compare with the original layout on the untouched Enterprise Manager space.)
- Not accessible
- Oracle clearly do not intend severely visually impaired users to benefit (?) from the new branding. Delivering it in the form of a background image means that this "content" will not be rendered by screen readers or refreshable Braille displays.
- The "drop shadow", random layout of the banner image text, and potential visual interaction of the banner with functional page text cause serious problems for users with less severe visual impairments, and those with learning disabilities or cognitive problems.
- The contrast ratio of the Overview/Content/People/More/Actions/About navigation link text to the gold background is 2.25:1, which is below the 4.5:1 minimum required by WCAG 2.0 criterion 1.4.3.
To preempt any criticism that these comments are not constructive, that is because I find nothing that is in any way positive in these changes. If Oracle is really serious about improving this site for its members, then start by listening to them. No one has ever asked to be called a groundbreaker. If you really want to engage developers and build a strong community, there is no need for bizarre branding. All you have to do is create a site that actually meets our needs by fixing fundamental issues when we report them, and implementing good ideas that attract significant community support.
Perhaps you can explain to me - as a non native speaker - what you mean with groundbreaker (my spellchecker doesn't recognize this word). I used my favourite translator but it doesn't know the word, only ground breaker or ground-breaker - a technical device (residual-current-operated circuit breaker). So this is now a site for electricians?
Even if I look up the adjective "groundbreaking" I wouldn't relate the translations with this community.
It isn't a good idea to break with conventions that work perfectly over the net like naming communities with boring names like forum or community.
A lot of words, of which I would like to echo; - "If Oracle is really serious about improving this site for its members, then start by listening to them."
As a customer I never felt like Oracle listened, until I wanted to buy something.
As a partner I never felt like Oracle listened.
As an employee I never felt like Oracle listened.
As a board leader I never felt like Oracle listened.
Even when deliberately joining feedback groups I am not convinced on the means used to gather opinion.
I genuinely worry that Oracle is losing market share to lesser technologies, because of its internal structures and its customer interface not actually serving the customers' needs.
The boards themselves have lost a lot of usage, and I really don't think it is down to "look and feel".