Uysal Transforms Oracle's Corporate Culture by Making Design Drive Innovation

Image The Most Influential Turkish-American Women #18 Aylin Uysal is Senior Design Director and Strategist of the Oracle Applications User Experience Team in San Francisco, CA. “My passion is transforming corporate culture by making design a driver of innovation and change,” she says. Uysal has eight user experience (UX) patents and her team’s main mission is to create world-class product designs that drive an exceptional user experience.
She was graduated from Faculty of Architecture, Department of Industrial Design at Middle East Technical University in Ankara and she studied as a Post Bachelor Student at the Massachusetts College of Arts, Department of Industrial Design. Uysal has a master’s degree from the Department of Computer Graphics, Academy of Art University in San Francisco.  She answered TURKOFAMERICA’s questions.

Can you tell us your daily work routine in Oracle?
As senior director of user experience, I am responsible for championing exceptional design to drive innovation at Oracle HCM, ERP and Student cloud applications. My team is responsible for product design, information experience, and usability. Our mission is to partner with product management, development and strategy to deliver an outstanding user experience for our customers.

If I am not traveling for business to train our partners and consultants on user experience design strategy and messaging or visiting our customers to understand their end users’ and business needs, my day starts very early in the morning with remote design review meetings because most of our product team members are located across the globe; India, UK, North America, Australia. In these meetings I answer design questions, provide design consultation, review design consistency and make sure the proposed UX designs are coded properly.  Later in the morning, I have either 1-1 or group meetings with my team members to give them design mentorship and direction.

What is your methodology?
We follow user centered design methodology. Depending on where we are in the design cycle, we conduct user research on product design, such as usability testing, group task analysis, wants and needs or focus groups. I attend to these sessions in person to observe and understand what potential issues need to be addressed. These sessions also help me to identify new ideas for design innovation.

I have an open door policy. Throughout the day, I meet with team members who walk in to my office to discuss design direction, innovation and strategy or anything they might need my advice on at personal or career level. I am dotted lined to the SVP of HCM, ERP and student cloud development teams. I do have regular meetings with them to align UX projects and direction. Depending on the day, I might attend  meetings with them and make sure we are moving forward in the same direction as a team.

You have worked at Oracle since 1999 (only one year at SAP Labs). Working with the same company for over 15 years is not usual in Silicon Valley. What is so special about Oracle?
I joined Oracle in 1999 as a junior interaction designer. The Oracle User Experience team provided me a perfect environment to grow in the User Experience Field as a new starter.  It was at Oracle that my passion for user-centered design became a career. I honed my user experience skills here for five years, focusing on becoming an expert in work practices, project leadership, and user experience and design.

I left Oracle after 5 years to join SAP as principal designer. After a year at SAP, Oracle reached out to me with a leadership opportunity. Therefore I began my management career at Oracle in 2005 as User Experience manager for HCM Cloud. I positioned design as a core differentiator in HCM cloud products, which led to the promotion of my role to Senior Director of user experience for HCM, ERP and Student cloud applications.

Oracle is an excellent company, recognizing employee success and providing right opportunities for career growth.   I am a self-driven person. My job here at Oracle never gets boring. Oracle always provides me the challenge and excitement that I seek in my job every day. Of course having great colleagues and a supportive manager who encourages a work-life balance play critical roles in my loving my job and staying at Oracle.

What are your hobbies besides working hard?
I love the outdoors and physical activity. I strongly believe that making it a priority actually makes me better at my job. Physical activity allows me to clear my head and decompress. I often solve some of my toughest problems when I am out for yoga or a swim.  Oracle encourages their employees to do just that by providing the right work-life balance.
When I am not evangelizing design at Oracle, you'll find me swimming, biking or doing yoga. I completed triathlons, Escape from Alcatraz, raised money for LLS and for children of SOMA.
Have you ever thought about going back to Turkey?
I always do. My whole family is back in Turkey, except my brother. I grew up in a small town called Manisa, at least it was small when I was there. My grandparents were farmers and my dad used to be an agriculture engineer. I loved helping in the cotton and tobacco fields, listening to problems with growing olive trees, irrigation, or how much money was given to farmers by government for their hard work. I love anything related to farming and soil. When I retire I see myself spending half the year in Turkey taking care of olive trees and other half in the US spending more time in technology.

How do you often travel to Turkey?
Every summer I spend one month in Turkey, half the time vacationing and the other half working remotely. I have two sons, Atlas and Kaya. I want them to have enough time with grandparents, aunts, cousins and extended family, learn the Turkish language and culture, appreciate all wonderful things about Turkey. I have a very strong bond with my sons and I would love to keep that bond when they become adults. The only way for them to understand me later in life is by learning my past, and knowing the people who played a key role in my life, like their grandmother.
I was very lucky to be surrounded by a group of great female leaders from birth like my mom and grandmother who always told us we could do anything in life and reach any position we wanted to reach. They also said never forget where you belong and where you came from.
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07