Understanding the New User Experience

Objectives

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Understand the new user experience

Traditional User Interface

It does not matter how good an application is if the user experience (UX) is poor. In the past, user interfaces all suffered from the same problem: they were too complicated. The main reason for this is that interfaces were often designed around the business function and not around the person. The result was a cluttered screen that tried to provide many features to many different job roles.

For example, consider a sales order screen: how many job roles does this screen support? You might assume one, the sales order entry clerk. However, the reality is that the same screen is used by a large number of people who need to either check information or make adjustments to an existing order. Some examples are as follows:

  • A quality assurance worker in the delivery department needs to release a blocked item in the order.

  • A finance person needs to adjust tax assignments.

  • A salesperson needs to adjust discounts.

  • A marketing employee needs to apply promotion codes.

  • A project manager needs to check that costs have been assigned to the correct project phases.

Each of these people could find themselves using the same screen, but only a very small part of the screen. The screen ensures that they all work hard to navigate to the specific area they need, ignoring the options they do not need. Lots of clicks are required for very little high-value interaction.

Concepts and Influence Factors

The use of IT and electronic devices is no longer reserved for a group of expert users; it has spread throughout society to all social groups. People need high-performing hardware that can support a variety of software products, with different scope and potential. There is added pressure to supply an easy-to-use solution to the end user.

The main drivers of this development are smartphones and tablets, with their easy-to-use and flexible user interfaces (UIs). The focus of these UIs is no longer on huge functionality but rather a comfortable user experience (UX), which puts the focus on the consumer. Business software must adapt and transform to turn this trend to its maximum advantage for the roles of an enterprise. In this evolution, the UI plays an important role.

With regard to SAP software products, the challenge is to keep a clear view and to understand the overall SAP strategy in the area of UX. Furthermore, it is important to have a clear understanding of the goals and target groups of each UI technology, to avoid mistakes and frustrated users.

In the beginning, it is helpful to clarify the terminology used. A good place to start is with the terms UI and UX.

Interface Focus

Contrary to traditional interface design, the design approach with SAP Fiori is that the focus is now on the job role, rather than the function. SAP Fiori applications are always role-based. There are many applications to choose from, and they are organized in easy-to-use catalogs, supplied by SAP S/4HANA. You simply need to assign the roles to the users.

SAP Fiori brings a consistent, harmonized look and feel across all SAP products. It's embedded intelligence brings user guidance through Machine Learning and dynamic home pages.

It has integrated, cross-product and cross-device integration through comprehensive and adaptive home-pages, a digital assistant and notifications for users.

One Entry Point

The SAP Fiori launchpad is the single point of entry to access all applications - directly via tiles or links, or by using Search.

Each SAP Fiori application is built around the user, rather than the function. As a result, the screens are very simple and uncluttered. A key goal of any SAP Fiori application is to ensure that a user can complete a task with as few clicks as possible.

In the past, users could find themselves working with many different interfaces, each one with a completely different look and feel, even when they only had one task to complete. With SAP Fiori, users require little training, because the simple screens are intuitive, with only the essential information and options available.

Imagine checking a customer inquiry from SAP CRM using the SAP Portal interface, and then moving to SAP GUI to check the stock availability in ERP. Completely different interfaces are used with their own style and features, with different buttons, menus, and tools. With SAP Fiori, users work with just one design.

Domain Specific Information and Actions

Users can quickly get an overview of what needs their attention with Overview Pages, List Reports and Work Lists. Notifications provide an additional channel for alerting on urgent tasks or requests.

Users can trigger quick actions – such as extending a contract, changing a delivery date – or drill down to the next level of detail. Users can also invoke the SAP CoPilot, an intelligent assistant supporting ad-hoc tasks in the context of their business activity.

Not all transactions from ERP are converted to SAP Fiori applications, so SAP GUI must still be used in some cases. The cloud edition uses only SAP Fiori applications, and there are no classic SAP GUI screens. The SAP GUI is still available with the on-premise edition, and can be used alongside SAP Fiori, but we recommend using SAP Fiori to take full advantage of the features of SAP S/4HANA. SAP GUI screens that are used in SAP S/4HANA are screen personas that reference the back-end system transaction to run the application.

User Types

Deployment Types

Next Generation of UI

A key theme of SAP S/4HANA is simplification, and this certainly applies to the user experience (UX). We use the term user experience, rather than user interface (UI), because we need to consider the overall experience of the user, rather than just the look of the screen. For example, if you go to a restaurant that has good food presentation but the service is poor, you would say that the overall experience was not good, and you would not be keen to repeat it.

It is important to provide not only a great-looking UI, but also features that help the user become more productive, resulting in a good overall experience. This is what SAP Fiori delivers.

SAP Fiori is a completely new UX, rather than an upgrade to any existing interface, such as SAP GUI, SAP Portal, or SAP Business Client. It works on any device that allows users to have the same experience, regardless of the device they choose to use. They can set up a basic sales order in the office using their desktop, then visit the customer to complete the configuration and agree pricing using a tablet. SAP Fiori provides the same look, feel, and productivity features on all devices.

SAP Fiori applications are designed using a methodology called design thinking, which is a user-centric and solution-based approach to software and user interface design.

Types of SAP Fiori Applications

SAP Fiori applications can be classified into different types. Examples include the following:

  • Transactional:

    These follow an optimal design for fast transaction processing, such as purchase receipt entry.

  • Analytical:

    These provide the tools required for analysis, graphs, charts, exploration, data mining, and drill-down.

  • Factsheet:

    These provide a 360 degree view of all key information related to a business subject. For example, enter an employee name and all information about that employee appears, such as working hours, vacation, pay, performance, manager, and awards.

Note
This is a good example of the SAP Fiori approach, which is to use a limited number of consistent interfaces to keep things simple.

When a developer creates a new SAP Fiori application, they begin by selecting a template that is based on transactional, analytical, or factsheet, so they have a consistent look and feel.

The three most common types of SAP Fiori app are as follows:

  • Transactional apps provide the classic approach for functions of a business system. They are available for SAP S/4HANA and Business Suite on any database.

  • Analytical apps use the analytical capabilities of SAP HANA to provide insights in business data. They are available for SAP S/4HANA and Business Suite on HANA.

  • Fact Sheet apps use the enterprise search capabilities of SAP HANA to provide search results. They are available for SAP S/4HANA and Business Suite on HANA.

SAP Fiori Application Examples

Note
For more detailed information on SAP Fiori technology, follow the training courses with the codes SAPX__ (SAPUI5) and GW100 (SAP Gateway).

Search

SAP HANA Search is available via the Launchpad at any time. You can avail of the following functions:

  • Highlight every search match in a results list.

  • Search the result list across all business objects.

  • Specify result list per document type.

  • Navigate to related objects, showing an object page of the document.

  • Navigate to related transactional applications to start maintaining the business object.

With SAP S/4HANA, a global search across all applications, business documents, and master data is provided. By providing a search term on the top of the screen, the system starts a Google-like search across various entities.

The search result list is structured along categories, such as business documents (for example, purchase orders) or master data (for example, suppliers). The search term is highlighted in yellow. Depending on type of search result, either the related object page is started, or the transactional SAP Fiori application. To facilitate providing correct search results, a preview of data related to the search result is provided.

SAP Fiori Launchpad

The SAP Fiori Launchpad is aligned with the two main UI clients: SAP Enterprise Portal (available) and SAP NetWeaver Business Client (planned). Alignment with the SAP Enterprise Portal is achieved by running the SAP Fiori Launchpad UX within the SAP Enterprise Portal (also known as the SAP Fiori framework page), while also leveraging established portal infrastructure and best practices.

Note
Alignment of SAP NetWeaver Business Client for Desktop (NWBC) with SAP Fiori Launchpad design is planned for future releases.

The SAP Fiori Launchpad can be visually adapted and customized using the UI Theme Designer. It is designed according to the simple and intuitive SAP Fiori user experience, while supporting established UI technologies (such as Web Dynpro ABAP and SAP GUI for HTML).

Adjust the SAP Fiori Launchpad in SAP S/4HANA

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