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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Branding - LESS is MORE

Experience has shown me that, when people start learning how to change skins and style attributes in OBIEE, they tend to go overboard. There are literally thousands of Cascading Style Sheet elements that make OBIEE look and feel the way it does.

Additionally, it’s extremely difficult to locate certain elements, and many times you end up resorting to a trial and error strategy. I think once someone discovers an element where they can change a text font, or modify a background color, they do it.

Eventually, someone really digging into these skins and style sheets are going to come across a whole list of changes they can make… and they will probably make them. My thought is that, just because something can be changed, doesn’t mean that it should be changed.

With that said, here are some guidelines to follow when attempting to brand OBIEE:
  • Identify an inspiration source (company website, intranet, presentation template, etc…)

  • Create a color scheme before starting the branding process… stick with it (or as close as you can)

  • Follow the leader. There is no need to re-invent the wheel. Try to change existing colors verses introducing colors where they don’t belong.

  • Keep a neutral backdrop. It’s ok to leave white space on the screen… Google is a great example.

  • Many skins/style changes will effect more than one element in OBIEE… beware!

  • Periodically save a copy of the skins/styles folders as you go. Keep multiple versions on file so you can revert back to them any point in the design process. (ex. s_ver1, s_ver2, s_ver3, etc…)

  • Be creative and experiment… just don’t go overboard

These are simply guidelines and not meant to be rules since branding is a creative process. Just keep in mind that this is something everyone in your organization has to look at and use on a daily basis. It’s probably a good idea to get a second opinion at checkpoints during the design process. But try to limit the amount of input, as too many ideas can become overwhelming.

For additional assistance with branding, visit BI Consulting Group’s website. There is an entire service offering dedicated specifically to Branding OBIEE called Identity. They have even developed a tool to help identify certain style elements, and where to change each setting.