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Hi all,

Some of you might know that we are currently working on expanding the existing topic “customer UX strategy” within the SAP UX Explorer. During this process we have already collected several general statements and hints that ended up for now in what we call “the eight rules for a successful UX improvement project”.

As I’m always curious about your feedback for further improvements, I wanted to share this piece of content early enough. So, here it is.

Feel free to leave comments and let us know your thoughts.

All the best,

The eight rules for a good UX improvement project

1.     Put your users in the center

You might think you know your users. But you can only understand their working environment once you have watched them working and listened to their concerns. As a result: Keep your users at the center of all your activities (for example with user research and design thinking methods).


Learn more about User Research and Design Thinking

2.     Enjoy feedback
You might be scared by complaints and issues that you cannot tackle. But if you don’t ask, you will miss a lot of complains and issues that you CAN solve. AND: Your user will honor the improvements you are going to provide, even if they does not address all issues in the first place.


Related SAP UX Explorer Short Video: How user satisfaction can be measured.

Learn more about usability measurement via SUMI & SUS and learn more about Design Thinking


3.     Know your general options
Know your general options in order to improve user experience and prioritize them correctly:

  • Adopt what SAP provides (always first)
  • Adapt what you have implemented from SAP (if needed)
  • Develop on your own what you can’t get from SAP (if necessary)

Related SAP UX Explorer Short Video: Your general UX improvement options

Learn more about UI Adoption, UI Adaptation and Development

4.     Know your current environment

Surveys have shown that 38% of customers* focus directly on developing their own applications and thus follow the path with probably the highest investment. It turns out that many customers are not aware of the UX improvement assets in their existing SAP environment and SAP license, which could potentially improve their user experience with lower effort.

* based on a survey in December 2013

Related SAP UX Explorer Short Video: Your general UX improvement options

Learn more about SAP UX Explorer and SAP Innovation Discovery


5.     Focus on a few users first
You will need some time to understand your user’s environment and how your planned improvements will impact them. Identify small groups of users who share the same usage pattern, issues and complaints. Start improving these small groups first, and extend the reach of positive results to other users in a sub-sequent step.

Learn more about Customer UX Strategy (will be detailed later in the Discover & Plan section)


6.     Prove solutions, not technologies
Do not limit your proof-of-concepts to just certain technologies. Positive UX improvements are often driven by a combination of multiple technologies together with business-related content or configuration. As a result: Make sure that you have understood the relationship between technologies and other complementary topics that you need in order to build valuable solutions to test.

Learn more about Customer UX Strategy (will be detailed later in the Discover & Plan section)


7.     Focus on a coherent user experience
Always try to avoid a mix of UI technologies for one user. In scenarios where this is not possible, try to optimize the mix by harmonizing the visual appearance (with same SAP standard themes or with UI theme designer for example). While new applications look great and are intuitive, running them in a mix with classic applications can result in a bad overall user experience. You always need to consider the pros and cons of new functions and features vs. a coherent user experience. With this in mind, you might keep a user with an “older” version of an application in order to ensure better coherence. Or you might prefer a less coherent user experience over a new function.

Learn more about UI Clients and UI Theme Designer


8.     Build your own customer UX strategy

The best results improving your user experience can be reached by using a well-structured approach and a good UX strategy that considers your existing strategies (for example IT strategy, business strategy) and boundaries (security rules for instance). This UX strategy defines your overall UX improvement vision, mission and key performance indicators (KPIs) and builds the starting point for any UX improvement project.


Related SAP UX Explorer Short Videos: Process setup of an UX improvement project, Why should I create my own UX strategy

Learn more about Customer UX Strategy

You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way around.

Steve Jobs


When it comes to user experience, becoming simple takes focus and effort 

Becoming simple involves gaining a deep knowledge of your people and their UX needs; and making some complicated UX technology choices. That’s why SAP’s UX strategy includes New, Renew, and Enable options; and also why SAP is now providing UX advisory services as part of  a suite of UX Design Services to help customers focus their resources where they will derive maximum business value.

UX Design services.jpg


Conversely, staying complex is easy – at least from a technology viewpoint – and that’s where most SAP customers are right now. Think of it this way: Once upon a time, SAP provided a one-size-fits-all user interface – aimed at the expert user. Sure it was a complex UI, but from a software viewpoint it was also a comparatively easy strategy – just make everything available and let the expert decide what’s relevant to him or her.  After all, the user is the expert so they know best; and certainly if you are the expert having everything at your fingertips is great.


But as we now realize, the growth in personal technology devices, changes in technology expectations, and the sheer volume of information bombarding us all mean one-size-fits-all UIs no longer ensure productive and motivated employees.  For most of us there’s just no time to be the expert in any but a very small number of the user interfaces we deal with each day.  Maximizing user satisfaction and business productivity over all the other UIs we deal with daily means providing something simple: the right-sized UI on the right device for the right role.


Introducing right-sized UIs, while minimizing disruption and avoiding large change management costs, is not a trivial challenge.  We know this because SAP has been on the UX journey with over 150 of our top customers over the last few years.  We have seen the challenges, we have shared the pain with them, and now we want to share the learnings with all our customers.


What we know now is this: effective UX improvement involves more than just implementing a Fiori app or a few Personas screens. Successful UX improvement only happens when UX is targeted strategically.  Choosing the right scenarios to improve with the right UI helps not just to improve user productivity; you also improve employee retention, delight your customers, decrease training and support costs, and revitalize the business/IT relationship.  Choose the wrong UI, and you risk your UX efforts being written off as “just another Proof of Concept”.


UX strategy means being very deliberate about where, when and how UX improvement efforts are focused.  Done right, amazing business impacts can be achieved in remarkably short time-frames.  For example at Shell, they were able to evaluate a major improvement in their search capability within a few days. This is quite an important area as some users may spend up to 20% of their total time in SAP on searching.


Based on our early customer experiences with customers on the UX improvement path, SAP has released 14 UX Design Services to pass on those learnings and help shortcut the UX journey for all our customers.


Last week I was privileged to be on the first SAP UX Advisor training, run in Sydney, and to spend some time with two very special SAP colleagues:

  • UK colleague Gerrit Kotze, one of the co-authors of SAP’s new UX strategy, and global lead for the UX Advisory Service for business value based on his experience of leading UX at Shell, and;
  • German colleague Gerhard Gellner of the Design and Co-Innovation Center where UX strategy and principles are daily workshopped with SAP customers at SAP’s Heidelberg Apphaus to create delightful user experiences.

It was a great chance to chat with them about the thinking behind these new UX Design services and SAP’s UX strategy.


How did you get involved in UX strategy?

Gerrit: For me it all started in May 2012, when I took the role to lead the UX work stream as part of the VPS engagement at Shell.  Shell has about 90,000 SAP users globally and improving UX became increasingly important across the whole company.


When we looked hard at SAP’s UX Strategy at that time, our perception was it was not much more than a compilation of UX related topics, not something you would really recognise as a strategy. We were not alone in that view.  SAP set up the the Executive Advisory Board for UX mid-2012 and Shell was one of the small group of key customers to join alongside Nestle, Unilever, Bosch and others.


At the very first face to face meeting, hosted by Nestle in their Head Office in Vevey, the top feedback point back to SAP was the need for a coherent and easy to understand UX strategy. Customers need clarity about where SAP is fundamentally heading to better inform their own investments and priorities.


Fortunately SAP was willing to listen and under the supervision of the then newly appointed Head of Design and UX, Sam Yen, (now SAP Chief Design Officer) we formed a small working group to rewrite the SAP UX strategy. I was very fortunate to be a member of this small group together with Andreas Hauser, Nis Boy Naeve and Volker Zimmermann and supported by several other experts. 


That change in SAP’s UX strategy also led to establishing the Design and Co-Innovation Center (DCC) in 2013 – bringing in a lot of designers and design thinking skills. These skills are considered key capabilities at SAP for delivering on our ambitions in terms of UX and design.


In parallel to working on the SAP UX Strategy, I worked with Shell to shape a UX exploration phase where we started with Search and then looked at SAP Screen Personas.  I utilized the newly formed DCC and we designed and built 2 Proofs of Concept for Shell.  The outcomes are still reflected in our services as this was the very first major PoCs after SAP Screen Personas became publicly available in December 2012.


What are the UX Design Services?

Gerhard: There are 14 services in the UX Design Services portfolio. They cover the New, Renew, and Enable offerings, such as implementing Fiori and Personas, designing your own custom Fiori or SAPUI5 app but they add something more than just technology – they add UX advisory services.

We have 2 advisory services – UX advisory for business value, and UX advisory for technology.  These were born out of our experiences in dealing with key customers of SAP. 


There’s an enormous momentum in evolving UX strategy and a high demand for SAP to provide UX advisory services. Over the last couple of years, SAP has recruited a lot of new blood in the UX design space, and is actively training others. Because of the current state of UX, and the urgent need for UX direction expressed by our customers, we believe SAP needs to lead on UX strategy to give direction to customers and partners who are grappling with UX right now.


As a customer, why would I want to leverage SAP’s UX Design Services?

Gerhard: A real UX strategy is something that few companies have, but those that have are realizing massive benefits.  We find lots of customers have developer skills but not necessarily design skills, or at least not dedicated and experienced UX design skills. If you don’t have those you might not get the benefits you want. So we bring those design skills to our customers as part of these services.

[BTW one of the SAP Community Network's SAP Mentors Jon Reed was talking about this need in his recent blog How do we solve the Enterprise UX skills gap? ]


Gerrit: SAP built up a very credible portfolio of UX solutions and we continue to improve and drive this portfolio forward.  It is actually quite fast moving and that makes it hard to scale the ability to give advice to customers and partners.  This is always a lot easier to achieve in times of relative slow change, but much more challenging when the driving technologies and available solutions are changing faster.


So at this stage, direct advice from SAP is paramount due to this high degree of change.  We see a lot of opportunity for partners to get involved in helping customers on their UX journey.  But when it comes to developing a UX strategy that is aligned with SAP’s strategy, and with SAP’s product roadmaps, you really want to get advice direct from the source – and that means customers working directly with SAP.


Once you move past the sales and marketing pitch, it is key to help our customers with the details of these solutions.  It may sound easy, but more often than not it requires a bit more effort.  For example you need to validate functional completeness and technical pre-requisites.  Good advice up front can save a lot of effort trying to make something work only to discover it won’t work in your system landscape or won’t suit your business process or end user requirements.


Gerhard: Oh, and did you know that thanks to our success with our customers, SAP’s Design and Co-Innovation Center is now being approached by

completely non-SAP businesses to help with their UX design?  That’s a huge endorsement of the design skills and the design thinking skills we have built over the last couple of years.


From your experience, what are the essentials for a successful UX strategy?

Gerhard:  For me the non-negotiables are:

  1. End user involvement:  If you don’t get in touch with real users at their real workplace you just don’t see what the real problems are, and what’s a part of that user experience.  It’s often not just about the UI, it’s about the whole user experience: like how do I work on a mobile device if my job involves wearing heavy safety gloves; or if my desk is covered in post-it notes reminding me of entry codes, maybe that’s a sign of insufficient search helps or poor navigation between UIs
  2. Business involvement: To understand the process, so you can challenge things that end users take for granted; like asking why this field is mandatory and what’s the business impact of not filling this field correctly
  3. IT involvement: Because IT will ultimately deliver and support the UX, so they need to understand where the real business needs are and be able to discuss pros and cons of different UX options with stakeholders.  Often IT brings technology options to the table that business never knew existed.


Gerrit:  And of course SAP involvement – because SAP customers need to align their UX strategy with SAP‘s if they are to deliver user experiences that work well with SAP solutions.  This is more than just general UX strategy – it’s thinking about what solutions, technology, values, and architectural principles are parts of your UX strategy, and how that affects your choices.  This includes deciding if a BYOD policy is part of your base requirements, because if you need to support multiple devices and releases your technology choices can make a huge difference to your development costs, support costs and testing volume.


What are the traps to avoid when setting up a UX strategy?

Gerhard: You really don’t want to approach it as just a technical exercise – you might have fun doing a proof of concept, but it takes more than that to build commitment or momentum to push it through to Production.Just starting with a Fiori or Personas POC might be a waste of time if:

  • The app is not valuable to the business
  • There’s a lack of business commitment
  • It doesn't fit the needs of the end user in their work environment


Gerrit: To me the big traps are:

  • Jumping into solution mode before understanding what is required.
  • Not considering the business value you want to get from UX.
  • Not involving the right audience in the discussion – It has to involve both IT and business; and it needs to involve the people at the coal face – real end users, not interpreters.


It’s not enough to just go on the promises of a presentation; or to do a proof of concept in a SAP sandpit environment.  If you are serious, you really need to try it out in your own landscape and get your own experience of UX technology and challenges – like the impact of bandwidth or proxies or single sign-on certificates, performance, firewalls, maintenance etc. That’s the best way to avoid unwanted surprises, and avoid letting down the business and your project sponsor.


And you really need a clear strategy.  Because without being clear on your driving principles you will not be in a position to make proper choices when you need to decide what you want to target with which solution.

And don’t limit your thinking to just the cool “in Vogue” answers or to a single technical tool.  After all, users don't particularly care what technology you use - they just care that it works for them! Often you can derive a lot of additional value out of your existing landscape – and that makes executive management happy to sponsor your UX improvement project.

So that’s why the starting point is the UX Advisory service?

Gerrit: Yes that’s right… the UX Advisory service helps the customer refine their UX strategy. The service comes in two main types – a UX technology advisory and a UX business value advisory. The UX Advisory for Business Value comes in three formats, based on the primary purpose. These are:

  1. UX Advisory for Fiori and Personas (7 days) – Purpose is adoption of either SAP Fiori App or SAP Screen Personas solution for a single scenario.  This is the service we announced at Sapphire to support the adoption of Fiori and Personas.
  2. UX Advisory Focused Assessment (14 days) – Purpose is to shape a holistic UX strategy and UX roadmap that considers all SAP UX solutions.
  3. UX Advisory Extended Assessment (Circa 90 days) – Purpose is to help typically a larger customer who has UX as a priority over a period of time to adopt a SAP UX Strategy, learn through PoC’s and UX Pathfinder projects and develop a detailed UX Roadmap.


The shorter services include a set number of days effort, but these are spread over a few weeks to allow for data gathering before we analyse and advise. We also gather information about the landscape, use of SAP and feedback about pain points. We spend off-site time during assessment and validation to ensure we can check back with SAP solution owners and designers to confirm which apps will work in your environment.


The UX advisory for Fiori and Personas is a 7 day service designed to get you live with one version of a solution – your first experience with either Personas or Fiori.  It also helps clarify what the first target should be for Fiori or Personas.  That gives your IT folk a chance to understand something of the technology and business to get a taste of how it looks and feels. This 7 day service is currently included with SAP UX Adoption Service Kits for Fiori and Personas, such as:

  • Fiori Launch Service Kit for Transactional Apps
  • Fiori Launch Service Kit for HANA
  • Screen Personas Launch Service Kit


The UX advisory focused assessment service for business value is a broader 14 day service where SAP works directly with your stakeholders to build agreement and motivation to move forward; and give guidance on strategy and roadmap.  The outcome is an outline UX strategy and roadmap that works for you; and includes feasibility assessment of your preferred first targets to confirm they will suit your business needs and system landscape.  We don’t just limit this service to Fiori or Personas – we consider the full range of SAP’s UX tools and technologies that might meet your specific needs – often these are under-utilized solutions – “hidden gems” - that are already in your landscape.


What’s the one thing you wish every customer new about UX Design?


  1. It only works if you engage with the REAL end users! No proxies! No go-betweens!  
  2. Everyone talks about UX but few people are clear about what it actually is. User Experience is far more than just the user interface itself.
  3. It’s a change process – a change in methodology but (more importantly) mindset. 


Why do you use Design Thinking in UX Design?

Design innovation.jpg

Gerhard: We find it’s the best way to achieve a delightful user-centric solution – using a multi-disciplinary team to get the best balance between business, technology and the human values that make the UX usable and desirable.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.

Henry Ford


You can’t just ask people what they want directly – especially if they are not used to being creative. Plus we find people just don’t read functional specifications – they find that really hard.  But low fidelity prototyping such as sketching makes it real to people in a way that encourages them to give good feedback and that reduces risk!

Designing thinking is a really effective way to get people to think first before they implement.


Gerrit: I’d say it is also a great way to get good ideas from a range of stakeholders quickly and come out with an agreement.  It really works for getting people to collaborate rather than each pushing their own agenda.  I like the way it allows for creativity to be a part of the process – and for a broad engagement of different stakeholders who might find it difficult to raise ideas in a traditional meeting. 


In our experience, design thinking is successful in getting everyone engaged and motivated to actually follow up.  So you don’t end up with a workshop and nothing happening afterwards – with design thinking people are more fired up to follow through.


What’s the best way to get some quick wins in UX?

Gerhard: The best quick wins we have seen come from starting small, but as close as possible to where you will get the most business value.   The UX advisory for business value is aimed at uncovering the top choices by looking at usage statistics from your real system data, adding qualitative data from the business, and then running Design Thinking workshops with key stakeholders to bring all of that together into a roadmap. 


Sometimes technology or functional pre-requisites get in the way of your very top choice – and that’s another reason why we have the UX advisory services – as part of the service we do feasibility checks on how top choices will work in the customer’s own landscape.  That really minimizes the risks of choosing a particular app or transaction to focus on, only to find it won’t work with your industry solution or your custom enhancements.  We won’t recommend a UX option that we know won’t work, and we help work through alternatives.


Gerrit: I’d also say to remember that major improvements can come from unexpected places – and we have built that into the advisory service.  We don’t limit the service to only considering the latest UX offerings like Personas and Fiori. One of our big lessons learned was that there are certain topics not often considered up front that offer tremendous business value; and there’s a range of technology solutions for those topics that like Personas and Fiori are often licence-free – just under-utilized.   Topics such as:

  • Search capabilities
  • Restructuring role-based navigation, e.g. using NWBC or Portal
  • Improving user effectiveness and system automation through using side panels
  • Visualization of data
  • Business suite renovation available through enhancement packs
  • Commonly known pain points e.g. approvals that customers bring up over and over again, that have simple but not always well-known solutions


Where can customers get more information about SAP's UX Design Services?

Gerrit: We’d really like customers to look at SAP’s UX Explorer website.  We are actively and regularly adding UX content for customers to help them build their UX design skills here - Skill Up on Design and User Experience – plus some more detail on our UX Design Services and when and how to take best advantage of those services.


To engage with local UX experts and arrange support in your UX journey, contact your local SAP office or email design.services@sap.com who will put you in touch with the right support team.

Hi all,


From time to time I'm receiving questions in regards to linking to specific SAP UX Explorer content.

So here comes some assistance in case you want to link from your documents or pages to SAP UX Explorer.


Of course, where ever you are within the UX Explorer you could copy and paste the current URL. Nevertheless, you might be interested in how the URLs are generated or in specific ID tables.


Links to topics

You can directly link to a topic in SAP UX Explorer like this:


(This example links to SAP NetWeaver Business Client for Desktop)


The format of these links is:



You can review our published topics document (snapshot) that lists all topics currently in our database including their ID. All these IDs remain stable and will typically not be removed. As such, this list could even be used for any purposes where you need a mapping to content on your site.


Deep links to content inside topics

As you know, the different content types like features, values, screenshots, documents are visualized within tiles (actually we call them technically “facets”).


You can directly link to a specific facet in SAP UX Explorer like this:


(This example links to the features facet of SAP NetWeaver Business Client for Desktop)


The format of these links is:



The following list provides all (currently) relevant facets and their IDs:



Facet Name




Getting started




Quick Reference










Learning Assets




Related Questions


SAP UX Explorer displays a facet only, if there is content maintained. As a result, there might be situations where you accidentally link to an empty facet. In this case the UX Explorer automatically displays the first available facet with maintained content. This means you won’t generate any dead links by accident.



If you look at https://uxexplorer.hana.ondemand.com/_item.html?id=104 you will see that the topic landing pages has not features facet. If you now link to the features FacetID 2 as

https://uxexplorer.hana.ondemand.com/_item.html?id=104#!/facet/2 the UX Explorer will display the screenshots facet, as this is the first available facet.


I hope this helps.


All the best,


Tamas Szirtes

User Experience in HR

Posted by Tamas Szirtes Jun 3, 2014

The User Experience focus group of the Dutch SAP user organization (VNSG) had a meeting today about UX in HR. When Marcel Rabe and I decided to set up this meeting around HR, our goal was to tackle questions like:

  • What does SAP offer to provide great user experience for HR?
  • Knowing that there are many options (Fiori, Mobile, Portal, Cloud, NWBC, etc etc), what do companies do?
  • What is the roadmap and vision of SAP?


We invited the members of the HR focus group too, so we had a mixed audience with Dutch customers and consultants focused on UX and HR. Unfortunately we couldn’t get a bigger room, so we had to limit the registrations.




We started with some updated about our UEX focus group:

  • The number of members keeps raising, now we are at 346
  • We are busy to engage with SAP about UEX vision and prepare a feedback workshop in Walldorf
  • We are influencing SAP in various ways: Customer Connection regarding NWBC, Customer Engagement Initiaties in SSO and Project “Magnet”
  • We are organizing a special theme day about UEX on Dec 11
  • Our next meeting will be about Fiori on Oct 23 and will be organized together with the new Custom Development focus group.
  • We recommend experience.sap.com for everyone interested in UEX


The first presentation was about the Dutch post company PostNL from René Kolpa (PostNL) and Susan van Someren (Xbow-IT).  Rene talked about their HR strategy as part of their complete landscape strategy. PostNL has almost 60000 employees, 2550 post offices in the NL, operates in more European countries with € 4+ billion revenue. They have an “All cloud strategy” meaning that all systems should be in the cloud by 2016. The goals of this strategy are cost flexibilization, decrease absolute costs, move to future technology, speed and focus on governance. Susan gave concrete examples and a live demo of SAP technical solutions which PostNL has implemented as part of this strategy. They are replacing the SAP Portal with NetWeaver Busines Client to simplify the landscape. They think that moving to the cloud will mean less control over branding, so already as preparation they are consolidating on one design, which is almost SAP out-of-box. They replace UWL with POWL inbox and Interactive Adobe Forms with Web Dynpro ABAP Forms. They are planning to implement ESS scenarios in SAPUI5 to provide better OS/browser support than AIF.




Universiy of Utrecht/UMC, in contrast to PostNL, achieved the improved user experience in the SAP Portal. Gonen Frenk (Nextmoves) explained how user friendliness was enhanced by using logical icons, consistency in design, understandable error messages, etc. UU/UMC have decided to bring their corporate branding to the portal. Their success was founded in user centric design and the involvement of a professional interaction designer. Technically speaking, it resulted in a custom portal framework based on the AJAX framework in Enterprise Portal 7.3




The Amsterdam transportation company GVB talked about how they integrate Microsoft and SAP technologies for eHRM. Alexandra Hustinxk (GVB) and Jan-Willem Goes (The Next View) introduced the challenge at GVB: they have 3750 employees, among them many older men with lower education, so the design had to consider this user population. An important requirement was to support any device, so they decided for responsive web design. The solution architecture consists of SAP backend, Gateway, Duet Enterprise, the Cordis myHR suite and SharePoint. GVB is very satisfied with the result, they get 200 unique visitors per day, out of which 75% from remote access (e.g. employees on the road).




The customer story of ProRail was presented by Pieter Van Reisen (HuRis). He explained that SucccessFactors is a best of breed HCM Suite including talent management, Core HR, HR Analytics, Social collaboration, etc. SuccessFactors is clear market leader talent management, but Pieter explained that it offers great UX too. He demoed a whole list of little, but very useful UX solutions: clickable tiles, easy navigation, little extra functionalities which make it just better e.g. record the sounding of your name, quick lookups, quick links, graphical overviews e.g. org chart, “print and go” feature to take offline all necessary docs for a meeting, context sensitive video helps, personalization of home page, etc.




There was an unexpected twist to our meeting. During this meeting the SAPPHIRE keynote took place in Orlando and just before Martine Fase’s (SAP) presentation we got the news that Fiori became “free”. This good news energized the meeting and indeed Martine explained that among the many UI options, SAPUI5 and Fiori are raising fast and are future proof options. On the other hand, at the moment the current set of Fiori apps don’t cover all ESS/MSS functionality, so HR Renewal, especially version 2.0 offer very attractive functionalities. Martina placed these HR related options into the overall SAP UX strategy covering New, Renew and Enable.




Thanks again for all the presenters, it was a great VNSG UEX afternoon!

Hi all,


Some of you might have already noticed our launch of a video series as part of the SAP UX Explorer environment. However, I wanted to make sure that those of you who missed it, yet, will find the videos as well.


We are going to produce and upload new videos on a more or less regular basis (depending on our available time ) .


If you want to get updated on new videos, you can subscribe this blog post as I'm going to extend it as soon as new videos are available. Alternatively, you could also follow me on Twitter, where I'm also posting the availability of new stuff around the SAP UX Explorer and its content.


And of course: I'm always curious about your feedback. So, let me know what you think. 


All the best,




The current videos we have uploaded to YouTube so far are:


General options to improve user experience


Involved SAP UX Explorer Topics: UI Adoption, UI Adaptation, UI Development




How can I influence the satisfaction of my users


Involved SAP UX Explorer Topics: UI Adoption, UI Adaptation, UI Development




Why should I create my own UX strategy


Involved SAP UX Explorer Topics: SAP UX Strategy, Customer UX Strategy




Process setup of an UX improvement project


Involved SAP UX Explorer Topics: SAP UX Explorer, SAP Innovation Discovery



How user satisfaction can be measured


Involved SAP UX Explorer Topics: System Usability Scale (SUS), Software Usability Measurement Inventory (SUMI)




How user experience can positively impact costs


Involved SAP UX Explorer Topics: SAP UX Design Services


The new key features of Google Chrome version 34 are:

SAP NetWeaver Test Center has been testing Chrome 34 on desktop in combination with NetWeaver versions 7.02, 7.30, 7.31 and 7.40.

For restrictions see the general Chrome general note: 1655306.

     I heard a great quote at the recent HR2014 conference in Orlando. The discussion was around ESS/MSS and how for many employees, that is their only real experience and/or interaction with HR. Therefore, an employee will come to believe ESS/MSS is a reflection of the HR department itself. Although it might offer all the great functionality in the world if ESS/MSS is slow, clunky, difficult to use or feels dated, then guess what? That becomes the employee's general idea of the whole HR department. Now, let's scale that up a bit. If some new hire is sat in front of a SAP "grey screen" and told, "welcome to the company....here's where you will be doing your work...we use SAP", what will be their impression of SAP? What will be their impression of the company they just joined?!?!?!


     It doesn't even have to be some young "kid out of college" out in the working world for the first time. I have heard as many complaints from people that have been working within companies for years..."oh yeh, we are on SAP...I only get on it when I have too...its so ugly". For as many years as I can remember (it gets harder and harder to do so in my "old" age haha), SAP has always seemed more focused on pushing out the latest and greatest, best-of-breed, (insert your buzzword here) functionality and features versus any really innovative or sweeping UI/UX changes...and that makes sense if you were to push the envelope in one but fairly soon after catch the other up too (ie. come back to balance). However, it seems as years passed the gap got wider and wider to the point where the UI/UX side seemed almost forgotten. Well, that is...until now.


     As you may have heard/seen/read, SAP has been trying to make it known by any means necessary that they have not forgotten the UI/UX and in fact, without us "common folk" even knowing it, they have been working behind the scenes to roll out their overall, sweeping vision of "New-Renew-Enable". This will be THE way that SAP totally revamps the old "grey screen" (using "personas"...enable) as well as anything new (new) coming out and anything "in between" (ie. what can be "ported" without disruption...renew). SAP figured out how to finally do it across all of their product landscape. Any and every screen, page, form, etc. will be "updated and future proofed". Sounds absolutely great, right?!?!? ....well, break out those checkbooks, because it comes with a price....and therein, lies the rub...."fly in the ointment"-much? haha


     "What did Chris just say?!!? They are charging for a UI?!?!"....well, in some people's perspective, yes, that is exactly what is going on...and battle lines have been drawn. On one side of course is SAP....justifying charging existing customers for a new UX (often shifting the discussion to the new apps/functionality that is enabled). On the other side, an army of individual voices is leading the charge for a "make it FREE" argument. You might have read the great blog "Should SAP Fiori by Freeori?" ( http://diginomica.com/2014/02/05/sap-fiori-freeori/ ) by John Appleby which might have been one of the earliest (first?) shots fired in this battle. And today, I just read "Time for a UX Revolution, Not Evolution" ( http://www.asugnews.com/article/time-for-a-ux-revolution-not-evolution ) by Geoff Scott (*thanks to Dennis Howlett for leading me to it!). There is definitely a rally cry out there in the world of customers/clients/users and a push back organizing.


     I can really see valid points on BOTH sides of the battle, but these kinds of discussions really make me laugh....more so for the fact that I am now finally old enough to actually have lived through these repeating cycles of technology/IT (rather than the days of hearing some old "greybeard" programmer sharing these stories of the "old days" with me over lunch or in some server room waiting on a SAP install haha). Does SAP really have such a short memory? Do we?!?! Does no one remember the wild west days in the ERP market around the mid/late 1990's? During that time, there had to be....geez, what was it?....about a baker's dozen or so ERP companies ("Baan" anyone? haha) all scratching and clawing to be "king of the hill". But there was one that was trouncing SAP left and right in sales (at least here in the US) simply because it had a very attractive interface that the sales guys could "ooo-and-ahhh" prospective customers with...often using a side-by-side comparison to SAP screens. It had far less functionality and flexibility than SAP, but the spiffy, pretty UI often won the day for JD Edwards. So what did SAP do? How did they react? Well, they stepped up their game too...remember the whole "enjoySAP" initiative to revamp the UI and UX? (*many people might remember this as the SAP Volkswagen contest give-away! haha) Here is a small blurb about it....


The enterprise-wide EnjoySAP initiative, launched by the management board of SAP AG in the beginning of 1998, redirected the focus of our software development from the customer's requirements and placed the spotlight on the requirements of the actual users. The aim of the Enjoy initiative was to improve the user-friendliness of the R/3 software in order to boost productivity and satisfaction ratings of our users and to reduce the total cost of ownership of the R/3 System for our customers. Essential to the success of the initiative were the cross-departmental approach, the development of distributed usability expertise and the specification of a user-oriented procedure model. Another key to EnjoySAP's success was the board's support for the project, reflected in the development resources made available (80% of development capacity in the period from July1998 to April 1999 was dedicated to the initiative).

(*from http://www.sapdesignguild.org/editions/philosophy_articles/hmd_enjoy_usab/) (*my HR/HCM friends will get a kick out of the title of that page too...far ahead of it's time eh? haha)


Sound familiar? haha Are companies like "Workday" the new JD Edwards of the world? You could just as easily replace the word "Enjoy" or "EnjoySAP" in the above paragraph with "Fiori" and it would sound just about like what we are hearing today. Everything old is new again!....except this time, SAP is trying to charge much more for it and the stakes are much higher for adoption/non-adoption in a market controlled by a far smaller number of big players (not to mention the fact that SAP is trying to push into the non-business suite world as well and become a platform player for developers, new web start-ups, existing companies, etc). I think a misstep here could be brutal for SAP if they really wish to be come known as an innovative and technology-leading/advancing company especially in the fickle, trend-sensitive UI/UX world. I am hoping that SAP changes this QUICKLY and rewards it's customers with this new UI/UX for free...personally, I would enjoy SAP much more that way (*see what I did there? haha)....and they can even keep the Volkswagens this time. haha


STEP 01:  Open the smartForms application with Transaction Code ‘SmartFroms’.

STEP 02: Go to the Form Interface and click on the Table Tab and enter the internal table name from the Driver Program (Suppose: ITAB).


STEP 03: Go to the Global Definition and provide the global data. (You need to construct a Structure Type (suppose: ZJOYJIT_LABEL) and a table type (Suppose: ZJOYJIT_STR_MARA) with its line type as the structure type with the fields to be printed in the label.


STEP 04: Go to the initialization tab page in the Global Definition. Enter Input and Output Parameters.




   Input Parameters                                                                      Output Parameters


              I                                                                                                IT_MAIN

           ITAB                                                                                               ITAB





Enter the piece of Code in the Initialization part.


I = 6.


I = I + 6.



STEP 05: Now create 5 New Windows except the Main Window and set the positions of the in the page and resize them in Form Painter.


STEP 06: Set the windows in the Form painter of the page and resize them.



STEP 07: Now, Create a Program line in First Window (Suppose, WINDOW_01).


STEP 08: Write the piece of Code in the Program Lines General Attributes Tab.


STEP 09: Create five texts in the respective five Windows one by one.


STEP 10: In General Attribute tabs of each texts, mention the heading and the fieldnames (Suppose: WA1-MATNR,……., wa1-MTART And for the other windows WA2-MATNR,……., WA5-MTART).
















STEP 11: Go to the Condition Tab Page of the five texts and set the conditions as follows.






STEP 12: Now, in the main Window Create a table.


STEP 13: In the table, go to the Data tab page and set the internal table (Suppose, IT_MAIN INTO WA_MAIN).


STEP 14: Go to the Main Area of the Table and create a Table Line with Line Type: %LTYPE1.


STEP 15: The Output Option tab of the Table line.


STEP 15: Create a text inside the cell of the table and set the headings as well as fields.




STEP 16: Now, create a Command in the main area of the table.


STEP 17: In the general Attribute Tab page, click on the Checkbox “Go to New Page” and Set the Page name (Suppose: %PAGE1) and in the Condition tab page set the ITAB NOT EQUAL TO INITIAL.



Save, Activate and Test the program in the display mode.

STEP 18: Now, go to the SE38 Transaction and write the Driver program to pass the data to the smart form from Mara Table (Suppose: ZJOYJIT_LABEL_DRIVER).


STEP 19: Write the Code in the report program to pass data to the Smart Form.


report  zjoyjit_label_driver.

tables : mara .

data : itab      type     zjoyjit_str_mara ,
type     zjoyjit_label ,
type     rs38l_fnam .

selection-screen : begin of block b1 with frame title t1 .
select-options   : s_matnr for mara-matnr .
selection-screen : end of block b1 .

start-of-selection .

select matnr
from mara
into table itab
where matnr in s_matnr .

formname                 =
*   VARIANT                  = ' '
*   DIRECT_CALL              = ' '
fm_name                  = fname
*   NO_FORM                  = 1
*   NO_FUNCTION_MODULE       = 2
*   OTHERS                   = 3

call function fname
*   ARCHIVE_INDEX              =
*   ARCHIVE_INDEX_TAB          =
*   MAIL_APPL_OBJ              =
*   MAIL_RECIPIENT             =
*   MAIL_SENDER                =
*   OUTPUT_OPTIONS             =
*   USER_SETTINGS              = 'X'
*   JOB_OUTPUT_INFO            =
*   JOB_OUTPUT_OPTIONS         =
itab                       = itab
formatting_error           =
internal_error             =
send_error                 =
user_canceled              =
others                     = 5

STEP 20: Save, Compile, Activate and Run the Program with the printer.









Thanks & Regards,

Joyjit Biswas

First off I'd just like to say that I am delighted that the interview I conducted for SAP TechEd Live 2013 in Las Vegas with Sam Yen (SAP's Global Head of Design and User Experience) has been selected as the interview of the week! It was my first SAP TechEd since 2006 in Amsterdam and my first as a freshly minted SAP Mentor. It was an honour to be asked to facilitate this session with Sam, it was fun and a little daunting to be on the big stage in the centre of the show floor. We had a small technical hitch (that thankfully was only ever to be seen by the live audience) when Sam's microphone didn't work... Take 2! Otherwise it all went great.


In this interview Sam and I cover the following main topics:


  • Sam explains the SAP User Experience strategy (New, Renew and Enable) that covers both new and existing SAP products and applications
  • We talk about Fiori - "What is Fiori?" Sam explains that Fiori is more than just a new colour scheme and some fancy tiles for mobile apps. Fiori as a paradigm is how SAP intends to harmonize the entire user experience across the whole SAP product portfolio both on premise and in the cloud. Fiori can be a bridge to deploying your organizations mobile, cloud  and HANA strategy.
  • Sam describes how SAP has had a steep learning curve and has needed to bring a whole new set of skills into the organization to build these new user experiences for their products. An outcome of this has been that SAP has been asked by customers to come in as consultants and help them build up their own internal capability to deliver "Fiori-like" user experiences.
  • Finally Sam gives some insight into what the future holds (some of which was subsequently announced at SAP TechEd in Amsterdam and Bangalore later in the year).


Here is the full interview, "Creating User Experiences that Drive Innovation for Businesses and Consumers".



I hope you enjoyed the interview. If you have any comments or questions please post them below. If you are interested in keeping up to date with user experience and user interface topics here on SCN I recommend you follow the User Interface Technology space.


In 2014, the SAP TechEd name will be retired and the conference will evolve into an exciting new program called SAP d-code, which will address education, collaboration, and networking for the entire SAP ecosystem of developers and technology professionals, incorporating the best elements of SAP TechEd. I am looking forward to seeing what d-code has to offer, I hope to see you there.



In this post I will describe the UX "laws" that we should take into consideration when designing our user experience.  These "laws" are really more generalized statements based off of research of user behaviors.  As with any law/rule there are always exceptions and non-believers.  I like to think of them as a guidelines.

Fitt's Law


What is it?

A model that tries to predict the time and effort to reach a specified target on the screen.  Generally targets that in the corners of the screens are easier to reach and targets that take up more screen real estate are easier to reach.  Also targets that are closer together make are easier to reach.


How this applies to UI design?

Make sure to place important content in areas of the page which are more easily accessible like the corners.  When designing action buttons make them easy targets by making them bigger.  Place commonly used buttons together.


Everyday application

Re-examine the layouts of your interfaces.  Are important items in easily accessible areas of the screen?  Do you have buttons that are commonly used in different parts of your interface.  Remember you want to help guide the user to what is important and reduce the time it takes for them to get to key pieces of functionality in your interface don't make them scroll across the interface to complete their tasks.


Further Reading?


Fitts's law - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Usability First - Usability Glossary - Fitts' Law | Usability First

Interaction Design &amp;mdash; When You Shouldn’t Use Fitts’s Law To Measure User Experience | Smashing UX Design (includes when NOT to use/ perils of Fitt's Law)



Teslers  Law


What is it?

Sometimes referred to Tesler's law of the conservation of complexity states that no matter what we do every application will have some complexity.  No matter how much you invest in the user experience, it will at some level be complex.


How this applies to UI design? / Everyday application

When designing user experiences we inevitably will be faced with many constraints with the big ones being time and resources.  Looking at the bigger picture if it takes a month to build a piece of functionality to reduce the user's process by a minute every day would your company do it?  We can certainly run an analysis to figure out the cost of building the functionality and try to determine if it would be worth pursuing. "Whose time is more important to the success of your business? For mass market sofware, unless you have a sustainable monopoly position, the customer's time has to be more important than your own." - Larry Tesler.  Don't pass off the work to your end user.



Further Reading?

Law of conservation of complexity - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Law of Conservation of Complexity



Hicks Law


What is it?

The more choices we have the harder it is to make a decision.


How this applies to UI design?

The more features we pack into a single screen the harder it is for a user to understand what the screen is for and where and how to take on that screen.  To increase usability we need to reduce the cognitive load on the user, don't make them think hard.  So when you are building you new Fiori app do not put 20 graphs and charts on their dashboard.  While it might look cool all those charts will make it difficult for your users to focus in on what you want them too.


Everyday application

Re-examine what fields are actually needed on your forms.  Look at your interface are there particular pages with tons of links  Show the screen to someone new who has not used it and ask the what it does can they tell what it is used for?  Or is it cluttered with too much information to denote what the purpose of the page is


Further Reading?





Poka- Yoke Principle

What is it?

Make a process or behavior "error proof".  For example if you are making a shoe make the shoe in the shape of your foot not in the shape of a circle with the diameter roughly equivalent to your foot length, where would the front of the shoe be? 


How this applies to UI design?

When designing UIs get down to the very minimum required to complete the task.  Try to guide the user whenever possible with visual cues, layout cues, and simple process flows.


Everyday application

Re-examine what your interfaces do you have extraneous information?  Try to remove the ability for users to get to error states.  Use real time feedback when possible don't make me submit the form before I see that a field is missing.

Further Reading?

Poka-yoke - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Poka-Yoke | you can’t go wrong | The Toyota System




F-Pattern for reading

What is it?

Almost every user that reads in a "F" pattern starting with the upper left corner.  This applies to left to right languages that are read top to bottom.  There are some changes in the orientation of the "F" for readers who utilize languages that are read right to left


How this applies to UI design?

When designing UIs put the most important piece of interface for the user in the upper left corner as that will most likely be fore the first thing they see.  On the flip side do not put the piece of content you want every user to see in the bottom right hand corner as that will be last thing they read.


Everyday application

Re-examine what your interfaces do you have extraneous information?  Try to remove the ability for users to get to error states.  Use real time feedback when possible don't make me submit the form before I see that a field is missing.

Further Reading?

F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content




Sturgeon's Law

What is it?

90% of everything is crap -lots of applications out there are very difficult to use.


How this applies to UI design?

When designing UIs/processes/ overall user experience think critically.  Its becoming very easy to produce a poor quality product - some even look nice until you use them.  This can also apply to any UX practitioners; focus on only a couple of areas to master there are no UX unicorns our there.  Don't be afraid to bring in additional resources for a singular aspect of a project.  In my personal projects I try to leverage graphic artists whenever possible to produce a better quality product.  Good products come from collaboration across expertise verticals not a lone Interaction Designer/Visual Artist/Front End Developer/Content Strategist/Product Manager/Back End Developer.



Further Reading?

Five Indispensable Skills for UX Mastery

90% of Everything is Crap, and What To Do About It  |  The Discipline of Innovation


There are some more laws/guidelines/principles out there that one could follow so I encourage you to do more research on your own.  (those include but are not limited to Gestalt Principles of Form Perception, Rule of Seven, Parento Principle- 80/20 Rule)


Also remember that UX design is both an art and science.  It is always evolving and changing so don't be afraid to try new things.

Stay tuned for the next part in the series..part 7

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Over the years, user experience has rapidly become a critical component in technology across the enterprises. In today’s changing world where people are highly tech-savvy, users demand ease of use and simplicity in the activities they perform and applications they use.


This teched, SAP announced their “UI and UX Readmap”. SAP is really going aggressively in this area.


What we see in the below diagram from SAP’s “UI and UX Readmap” is  Screen Personas , SAP UI5 and WDA/FPM are now their key UI Technologies”,

SAP‘s Key UI Tools & Technologies : < from SAP TEC149 - SAP UX Strategy and UI Roadmap>

UI Roadmap.gif

However as design architect, it becomes very difficult to pick and choose a right UI technology amongst these options. From all the various discussion forums and Teched documents, I have made an attempt to put all the various features of these three technologies together on a single paper. This might give you a starting point to your thought process while choosing a right UI for your business scenario.

  1. SAPUI5: The UI development toolkit for HTML5. SAPUI5 is a client-side HTML5 and Java Script based rendering library with rich extensible control set and a lightweight programming model. It combines openness and flexibility with enterprise readiness and product standard support. It is extensible regarding custom controls, application services, theming, or custom branding.
  2. Screen Personas: Screen Personas allows customers to personalize their SAPGUI (Dynpro) screens without any programming, allowing them to streamline transactions and improve user productivity. It provides the ability to meet business user needs for rapid screen changes, delivering improved user experience, and increased work efficiency. It is a Silverlight framework over the SAPGUI controls so the screen layout can be completely changed to provide an easy to use user experience.
  3. WDA/FPM : Floorplan Manager (FPM) is a framework for creation of User Interfaces. It is based entirely on Web Dynpro ABAP. FPM supports developers in creation of applications which are compliant to UI and Accessibility Guidelines. FPM is a set of tools, templates and classes, which ensures a more consistent look and feel to the user interfaces of SAP applications.


SAPUI5Screen PersonasWDA/FPM
Development EnvironmentWe use Eclipse as a SDK. The application can be
deployed on any server like ABAP server or Apache server… ,

SAP would also be coming up with a drag and drop, web based SDK soon, which will ease our development efforts.

Browser-based software to personalize SAP GUI screens

Drag-and-drop interface that allows you to see the results immediately.

You can use Web Dynpro ABAP development environment and

Floorplan Manager (FPM) Workbench to develop FPM applications.

Device UsageUI5 apps run on Mobile & Desktop. These are browser based apps and run with almost all the browsers.This is meant for Desktop usage only. Personas run on Windows 8 mobile devices. However, Personas is not designed as a mobile solution as it is.FPM apps are for Desktop usage only however they provide a tablet support with restrictions

Communication between SAPUI5 application and the backend database is done through secure oData services.

SAP Backend system’s business logic is exposed as oData services using SAP Netweaver Gateway as a middleware.

Personas is part of the NetWeaver ABAP stack. It is loaded into the ECC server.It is completely browser-based tool.

Personas 2.0 includes two separate Personas components, one based on Silverlight and one based on HTML Once installed, Personas Silverlight and Personas HTML run independently and do not interact. They solve different problems in different use cases.

Floorplan Manager (FPM) is a UI framework, that is, a set of tools, templates and classes.

FPM is based on Web Dynpro for ABAP and takes full advantage of its configuration framework. In an FPM application, the business logic is separated from the UI. The developers of an application take care of the business logic, and the FPM framework takes care of the user

Backend AccessSAPUI5 consumes oDATA services and thus this can be used as a frontend for any SAP / Non-SAP Backend database.Screen Persona’s are meant for ECC transactions and thus closely work with conventional ECC systems. They do not work with SAP CRM, SRM, PLM, SRM… systems and not with any other Non-SAP systems.WDA FPM is closely connected with SAP and works only for all SAP stacks.
Developer Skillset required

To build SAPUI5 apps , you should have knowledge of Java Script,
HTML 5,   CSS3. You should also need to know HTTP, LESS,    jQuery and Gateway   oData.

Building screens in SAP Screen Personas is fairly easy. It is mostly drag and drop along with some point and click. You do not need any HTML, Java,
or ABAP skills. This is more of end user tool to personalize their screens.
To build FPM apps , you should have knowledge of FPM, ABAP OO, WebDynpro
Theming and BrandingSupports theming and branding using SAP Theme Designer.Supports theming and branding using SAP Theme Designer.Supports theming and branding using SAP Theme Designer.
Backend Coupling Fully Decoupled. To adapt your application UIs without jeopardizing the
integrity of the business logic, SAPUI5 decouples the business logic from the
user interfaces, even across platforms and business process lifecycles (
software principle
This is Just a simplified subset view of big and complex SAP Transactions. Tightly Coupled with Backed ECC.

WDA/FPM provides Timeless software approach , as it separates the business logic and UI. Service Provider Infrastructure (SPI) is used by many applications to decouple UI and backend.

Integration with other UIs

The framework is lightweight and easy to consume, so that you can combine SAPUI5 apps easily with 3rd-party JS libraries to design an HTML page and integrate it into various application frameworks or server platforms.

Thus SAPUI5 apps can be called from any other SAP / Non SAP Web application.

We have a feature called  shortlink that allows you to place a Personas screen into another browser-based application (e.g an iView). Shortlinks also allow integration of Personas screens into NWBC. Clicking/opening such a short link is what opens a connection to the target system and authentication is required.

FPM apps can be integrated with other UIS like Portal , another SAPUI5 application.

SAPUI5 provides lot of security features like Data Protection and Privacy, Browser Security, Cross-Site-Scripting, encrypted connections and session handling on top of using either cookies or URL rewriting .

Check SAPUI5 seuirity guide for more informtion.

Personas supports certificate based login. Personas also support security authenticaion to the ECC backend. As Personas sits on top of existing SAP transactions, ECC roles are used in Personas and Personas cannot bypass ECC security.

Check SAP's security guide for screen Personas.

Security functions are available both for when you create Web applications as well as for when you operate them.

Check SAP's security guide for WDA / FPM


  Quick points that we might think for before Choosing the UI/UX option : .


Business scenarios to be covered by the application.

SAP UI5 is meant for lightweight apps having few screen fields and less navigations. Good Example of SAP UI5 application is SAP Fiori. With SAP Fiori, SAP offers UI applications for the most frequently used Business Suite transactions to allow users the same experience across different interaction channels – desktop, tablet, mobile. Fiori is intended to address core processes that invoke the most commonly-used transactions. Use for the business scenarios with limited transactional character.

Screen personas is ideal if you have working SAP transactions in your existing business and you want to improve look and feel of these transactions and make the transaction screens easy with only required fields on the screen. (like skip pages, carry values over, combine tabs etc)

The Floorplan Manager provides a highly-configurable framework for easy and efficient application development and adaptation. FPM is now mandatory
for the creation of most user interfaces in the Business Suite applications. It is a key technology for SAP Business Suite.

Use FPM if you want SAPGUI robustness with tight ABAP Integration. FPM applications are best suited for transactional state-ful applications.


If your business wants to address modification in common/ daily used transactions, then SAPUI5 apps (e.g. Fiori) will probably be a best choice for you. However, If you want to use more specialized SAP transaction with tight coupling with ECC, then Personas or WDA FPM are the right solution.


The device range for the application

Screen personas and FPM applications work only for desktop however if you want web responsive application across variety of devices like desktop , tablet , smart phones then SAP UI5 is the ideal option.


Browser  support

Screen personas and FPM works with almost all the browsers however SAPUI5 have certain limitations like it does not go with browsers with lower version like IE8 and below… If you already have such lower browsers running, then you have to take a call of choosing UI.


Complexity of the application

SAPUI5 applications and WDW/FPM applications do require coding.

As FPM apps are fully transactional stateful apps they are good choice for large and complex apps like Order to Cash, Talent Management, Procurement, (PLM) Product Development where the demand is to cover full business cycle with lot of screens and lot of fields per screen. The apps may have lot of navigations and links.

SAPUI5 apps are lightweight aps and complexity should not be too much. Use UI5 for lightweight scenario based small apps with less navigations and limited transactional flow.

Screen Personas is a drag and drop, no programming approach. This can be used only for ECC transactions. You really don’t touch the conventional transaction logic rather you only change the look and feel of the transaction screen. What you can't do with Personas is to change the screen flow across transactions or the embedded business logic. You can hide tabs, skip screens within a transaction and pass data between transactions. Personas allows you to modify classic ERP (Dynpro) to improve your users’ productivity by combining tabs and screens, automating keystrokes, and pre-filling fields.


With this what We can say is , None of these technologies are replacement to others.However we have to think deep before choosing a right option. Business might also choose multiple options running parallel for their different business scenarios.These technologies are rather complementary to each other and have their own distinct use cases where they excel .


Finally to add , while choosing the UI/UX we can also think for below checklist :

  • Does a new UI/UX allow my business process to be more efficient ?
  • Will the productivity of employees and users going to be improved by implementing this technology?
  • Are we able to find the numbers for this efficiency increase? For e.g. Can I calculate the total time reduced by the end user in performing certain transactions after implementing this UI/UX.
  • Will a new UI/UX allow the right business process to be followed ?
  • Does the UI/UX helping me to reduce time for user training ?
  • Will the new UI/UX reduce the number of clicks, tabs that user has to navigate?
  • Does the new UI/UX helping me to increase Data Entry Compliancy?


These are the few points that I have thought of …the checklist can grow bigger… However I trust with this checklist in mind we can definitely succeed in providing right UI solution to the business.

<References : SAP SCN Discussion Forums

TEC149_v3 : SAP UX Strategy and UI Roadmap>

Following the successful launch of Fiori 1.0 in May 2013, we now have the “Wave 2” apps which extends the Fiori family from 25 apps to 206 apps.


Wave 2 is now officially called “SAP Fiori for SAP Business Suite 7 Innovations 2013” and Wave 1 is called “SAP Fiori for Releases prior to SAP Business Suite 7 Innovations 2013” – I’m going to stick to Wave 1 and Wave 2 in this blog to keep the length down J


At the time of writing the experience.sap.com/fiori site has not been updated with the new portfolio (sure it will catch up). The best place to see a full list seems to be here.


So what is new in Wave 2 ?


New Apps


We now have content for ERP, SRM CRM, SNC, GRC, PPM (Wave 1 was only ERP and SRM).  SAP have also introduced the concept of application types. 3 Types of Application exist at the moment – Transactional (53), Fact Sheet  (69) and Analytical (84). The fact sheets require Business Suite on SAP HANA and the Analytical Apps require SAP HANA Live for Business Suite – more information can be seen here on the architecture. The picture below shows the recommended architecture if you were to run all 206 apps.


Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 09.49.04.png


Enhanced LaunchPad


We now have an enhanced Fiori LaunchPad which allows for more personalisation  like favourites, groups and search. It seems to be evolving to offer a transactional alternative to SAP Portal and/or NWBC. You can see more information here. The picture below shows an example of this personalisation.


Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 09.32.46.png


Enhanced Extension Guidelines


You can now extend Fiori apps in a modification free way, so that your modifications and the SAP standard UI are merged at run-time. You can get more information on this topic here.  The picture below shows the extension concept fot the UI components.


Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 10.32.11.png



In summary, the SAP Fiori team have put a huge investment into this wave adding both content and architectural components that in my opinion mean that Fiori is now at a critical mass to be actively considered by anyone running Business Suite 7. It might be the catalyst to justify the upgrade to SAP Business Suite 7 Innovations 2013, run your Business Suite on SAP HANA and/or install SAP HANA Live for Business Suite.


The only way you will know will be to review the Fiori apps, figure out which ones add immediate value, figure out which one need to be enhanced and figure out what Fiori Style Apps you need to fill the gaps. This will give you your Fiori to do list which will drive your business case for adoption.


Well done Fiori Team.

Save the Date

As SAP's most awaited event, SAP TechEd, is around the corner and many of you plan to be present in Bangalore for this event, Incture is co-hosting a 2 hour workshop on SAP Ux on Tuesday, 10th of December.
Date: 10th December 2013
Time: 2.30 pm - 4.30 pm
@ Hoysala Auditorium,
Incture Technologies
STPI, 6th Floor Cyberpark,
Electronic City, Phase 1
Bangalore 560100

SAP and Incture Technologies invites you to join - "Creating consumer grade user experience through Smart Apps on SAP"

Who should join:
If you are an SAP customer, partner or an SAP professional interested in providing consumer grade experience to SAP users, this event is right for you so please read on!

What to expect in this interactive and engaging workshop:
  1. SAP UI Strategy and Roadmap - Michael Falk, Product Strategist and UX Evangelist at SAP Germany
  2. Smart Process Apps are The Future of Applications - CIO's are getting to realize that's the way to spend all their new IT project investments - Sachin Verma, Founder and CEO of Incture Technologies.
  3. Smart Apps on SAP - Customer show cases by Incture Technologies and Customers
Please register .....registration link

We look forward to meeting you there!
Thanks for your time in advance,


Let us know if you have any questions and please share this with anyone who may be interested. Any queries can be directed to -

A.K. Balan
Head, Talent Transformation
Incture Technologies
Cell # (91) 9008188400

In this post I am going to dive into Usability testing.  This post is aimed at towards an introduction to usability testing and is not meant to be a full on how to (note to self write another series on usability testing alone).  Ideally we will have created a high fidelity prototype of our design using Axure or some other prototyping tool.  While you can directly code a prototype I would say 95% of the time Axure (or your preferred prototyping tool) will be quicker to build especially when it comes to making changes.


Usability testing is a method by which we test users to see if our product functions for them.  During a test we will have a list of tasks for the user/subject to complete while observers watch, take notes, and listen.  According to Jared Spool (prominent UX research and lecturer) and UIE most failed designs are caused by a lack of information.  We conduct these test to gather information on our designs.

Usability testing should be done with specific goals in mind.  These goals should be directly reflective of the goals for the entire project that you set at the beginning of the project.  For instance if you creating more orders is the goal of the project it should be easy for the test user to create an order.  After testing you should be able to reasonably conclude if you design is going to meet the goals of the project.  Here is a quick very high level run down of the steps involved when conducting a usability test:


1.) Script/Planning - Develop a script for your test.  These script should have an introduction, a quick think aloud explanation, tests, and a conclusion.  Remember write your script around the activities you would like to test not just the entire system.   Also note that we what to not only see everything the user does but we would like to hear what they are thinking for this we can use the think aloud protocol.  We ask the test subject to act as if they have no inner monologue.  Here is a great article explaining think aloud protocol.  I find that having the user practice think aloud with a piece of candy tends to beneficial to both introduce the subject to thinking aloud and helping them let down their guard and be more open.


2.) Logistics - Determine how many users you are going to test.  Where are they coming from? Off-site? On-Site? Are you going to compensate them?  Nail down all the logistics of the test well ahead time.  Make sure to send reminders to your test users at least several weeks in advance.  Determine if you would like to use Morae or another piece of software to record the test.  Who will be conducting and observing the test.  Also make sure you get users that are in your target user group.


3.) Conduct the test - Conduct the test. Make sure to remind the user nothing they can do is wrong!  Also remember that they might have difficulty completing a task, let them struggle a bit and ask them what they are looking for.  This will give you vital information into solving the issue.  However you must walk a fine line between letting them struggle and getting frustrated don't be afraid to show the user where something is at if you notice they are getting frustrated.


4.) Analyze - After the test analyze your results.  How long did it take to complete tasks?  Was the user frustrated?  What worked what didn't work?  Here is a good article about usability test reports.  You can use this analysis to help you decide what the next steps should be.  Was the test successful?  Should we move forward or were their issue that we need to address before moving forward?


Bottom line usability testing is a very vital tool/method that can save money.  Using usability testing we can prove with a high degree of certainty that our design will meet the goals of the project.  Why spend a lot of money building a piece of functionality and then testing it if we can test it before using high fidelity prototypes built with Axure or some other tool.  Now I am not saying we can not test already built pieces of functionality.  Testing already built functionality will give us great insights into the pain points of our users.


Finally, if you are Jared Spool reading this I love the UIE blog and podcast UIE Brain Sparks.

Links to usability testing resources

Great Intro to usability testing

Planning a usability test

Comparison of Usability Testing Tools



Stay tuned for Part 6... Interaction Design Laws (well sorta laws)


Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

To recap, we are in the design phase.  We have all of our research from our analysis.  We know what different about the different fidelity levels of prototyping.  Now we are putting 'pen to paper' and trying to address the design problems we have identified.  Many times people will ask 'How did you come up with that?' or have trouble with coming up with ideas to address design problems.  In this post I am going to describe some ideation techniques that anyone can use to address design problems.  (Ideation is just a fancy word for brainstorming)


Start Drawing

Start drawing your ideas on paper no matter how far fetched they are.  Draw lots of them too, don't stop at 2 or 3.  Surround yourself with these drawings and iterate, iterate, iterate.


Cross Industry

Look at other industry solutions or try to find design problems similar to the one you are addressing no matter the industry.  How did they address it?  Can we leverage any patterns they used?


Take a walk

There have been many studies conducted that prove stepping away from a problem and doing some exercise helps clear your mind which ultimately will (hopefully) lead to some clearer thoughts.  Or perhaps an 'aha' moment during your mental break.


Worst Idea

While this might seem counter-productive at first it is rather helpful.  Come up with the worst possible solution then determine why its so bad and start iterating on it.  These technique works especially well in group design sessions where people have a tough time making a decision.  Next time you go out to lunch with a group who has a tough time making a decision on where to go offer a suggestion of McDonalds and see what happens; magically those who can not make a decision will have some alternatives.


Problem Space Mapping

This technique involves categorizing ideas across 2+ plane space.  Lets look an designing a solution for insurance agents.  We could map the problem space on a 2-d plane.  We can on each axis put a single category/type/attribute, for instance the x-axis  might represent a more sales orientated approach while the y-axis might an agent focused approach.  We can map our ideas on this 2-d plane along the x and y axis based off of the characteristics then we can visually see what part of the idea space we have not explored.  Even though some spaces might not seem fruitful at first the change in direction can often be helpful and lead to new inspiration.


Pattern libraries

There are lots of wonderful UI pattern library resources available for free (http://ui-patterns.com/ , http://patterntap.com/ , http://inspired-ui.com/ , http://developer.yahoo.com/ypatterns/) .  Many times just going to these sites and exploring common patterns will lead you to sites you would have never visited before.  Exploring these sites often provide inspiration which can lead to new solutions for your design problems.


There are many more techniques one could use other than the ones I mentioned (here is a great paper on 12 different techniques),  no matter which technique or combination of techniques you use iteration is the key.  Iterate on each of your designs several times.


Feel free to comment on techniques that you have used which worked for you.


Stay tuned for Part 5... usability testing


Part 1, Part 2, Part 3


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