My Oracle UCM improvement wish list

Oracle is aware of Janus Boye and my blog posts and tweets on Twitter about Oracle usability issues.  Oracle want to help resolve these.  I’m starting with Oracle UCM.

Am I missing any of your issues?

1. Publisher control

Oracle UCM has poor ‘granularity’ of permissions and no obvious back end to see who has access.

The permissions only allow two (publisher) levels, a limited ‘only edit what’s already there’ and a far too powerful ‘does lots of complicated stuff with a very complex interface’. This suits organisations with a few powerful people in a central group, but not BT’s intranet governance model which has decentralised publishers.

A hard coded menu item called ‘switch region context’ has no place on an interface I expect a large number of users to use, and that’s only one part of a convoluted process to add a new page.

The user ids do not integrate with other user ID systems and it is difficult to integrate this with other processes (e.g. make sure that only people who have done training have access).

2. Quality of web pages

Oracle UCM should never be able to generate invalid code.

The conversion from MS Word is very poor ‘out of the box’, producing inaccessible and invalid code. With a lot of work – BT was able to improve this but never approached an acceptable level. Oracle UCM needs only to allow ‘well written’ MS Word documents (i.e. only accept well formed documents) and to reject (with explanations) documents it cannot convert to valid, accessible pages.

The site studio interface is poor and difficult to apply standards to. The browser version support is difficult and you have to rely on using admin permissions to install a clunky java applet. I don’t know if the applet is usable to people with disabilities. If it must use ‘rich’ interface elements then accessibility must be considered.

The pages themselves seem to insert a pile of javascript (is this out of the box?) and it’s difficult to enforce things like good metadata.

3. Template creation and management

There seem to be few well written components to use in the templates. Additional features (e.g. embedded video, RSS) need to be custom written and template specific. That’s a maintenance headache waiting to happen.

Management of templates appears to be awful. This encourages poor re-use of template development resource. It’s hard to quantify the effort required creating a template, but it seems to be excessive compared to other competitors. BT’s aim is to reduce, not increase, costs.

Please help me to help you with Oracle applications’ usability by commenting.

6 responses to “My Oracle UCM improvement wish list

  1. #1: what are you using for identity management? UCM integrates with a ton of systems, and can have a coarse-grained or fine-grained security model. You absolutely can set up a rule “no access unless you got training,” but you manage that centrally… like in LDAP or Active Directory or something… then integrate UCM with that.

    #2: what version are you using? 10gr4 or 10gr3? I’d agree that the out-of-the-box conversion template samples need to be updated, tho…

    #3: again… are you using 10gr3 or 10gr4? I’m guessing 10gr3 because 10gr4 has a ton of sample “region templates” that work pretty well and can be easily re-used across “page templates” when explicitly designed for re-use. Although, a community managed “toolbox” would be helpful as well. I tried getting some Site Studio project space up on, but nothing yet.

    • Bex,

      1. Interesting about what you say about ID support. I will investigate further but the granularity offered is still a concern. We had 2 options: the ‘only edit the existing page content’ and the full admin menu. We’d have preferred something in-between where we give authors the ability to insert a new page into a sites structure but not have to face the full ‘region context’ complexity.

      2. It’s 10gr3. Is 10gr4 better? I do appreciate that untangling a word document into semantic and valid markup is not easy!

      3. Reuse of components of templates still seems like a specialist skill though and one that is very tricky to manage. Ideally it should be the opposite, so that template component have re-use baked into the process of adding them and the power to use them available to the publisher (analogous to wordpress’s sidebar widget format as an example).


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