When I started in design at SAP nearly 20 years ago, there was more or less one design discipline: usability. Some people were more focused on accessibility, others on interaction design, and my group was focused on product design. But basically, we were all heaped into one big usability boat. Since then, I have been […]
In my experience, about 50% of the screens our customers use are not developed by SAP but instead are adapted or developed by partners or the customer’s internal IT organization. I also learned in more than 300 customer projects, that many IT organizations typically do not engage directly with their end users when they develop […]
I visited with a customer recently who told me about a training program his company holds every 18 months for new contractors. The company needs to refresh its group of 3,000 contractors every year and a half. Each time new contractors are onboarded, they require two days of training, in which they learn what is […]
One of the biggest outcomes of the technology consumerization trend is how it has driven the importance of design. There’s no “waiting out” this trend – an unstoppable wave of interest in design centricity is hitting the business world, shifting the focus in product and service development from features to experience. But why? What […]
As designers, our common goal is to create products that make work easier. After all, one of the most important features of good design is ease-of-use and understanding. We have to build tools that are easy to use from the start.
To be honest, the words “religious about” above don’t necessarily need to be crossed out. As a user experience professional, you sometimes feel like you’re preaching a kind of gospel because you keep repeating the same words over and over to a succession of project teams: “Involve your end users.” “Get feedback from the end […]
“We need to change our platform. If I can’t figure it out, then nobody can. It’s not intuitive!” In my previous job, I attended a meeting with the Head of Product and the design team. He had just tried a new product for the first time and, to put it lightly, was unhappy. To him, […]
Understanding your end-user’s needs is key to excellent design. But what is the best method to understanding your end-users? Surely, they think the same as you – right? Often we forget that our expectations of how somebody else uses our end product is completely different to the reality. To understand your end-user and to deliver the best user experience for your target group, you and your team need to carry out design or user research.
In an ideal world, “caring about what users want” should be true and self-evident for everyone. Let´s assume that caring about everyone is the right thing to do from an ethical point of view. Isn´t caring about our users at least as imperative? For me caring about a user means that I use all the […]
If you have the job of designing an effective, actionable dashboard for your organisation, lots of advice is available. Most of the guidance for dashboard design focuses on what you should do during the process.
Nothing wrong with that.
But in addition to all of the ‘should-dos’ related to dashboard design, there are also some ‘better-not-dos’ that you should be aware of. These are 10 of the most critical mistakes commonly made during the process of creating dashboards…
Have you ever looked for information only to find it where you didn’t expect it? This happened to me recently. Whenever possible, I avoid printing to “save a tree,” but then the time finally came when I had to print something and also install the printer driver on my computer. After clicking the “print” button, […]
On April 15th the European Design at Business Community met the first time in 2016. Hosted by Philips in Eindhoven the Design Thinking experts took the chance of an exchange at eye level on “Prototyping new Realities”.
Can you imagine… … coding an application without a specified user interface design? … designing a screen without talking to an end user? … developing a product without knowing the customer? Clearly this would be a very bad way to develop software! This is why we in the Global Design team at SAP foster […]
In this interview, I talk to Philip Miseldine, development expert in SAP's Global Design team. This is the ninth in my series of interviews with SAP employees in the area of user experience and design.
Philip Miseldine is a development expert in the Global Design Frontrunner Apps team at SAP. Originally from the UK, Philip works in Walldorf, Germany.
I keep a sailboat in Sausalito, a picturesque town that has more charm than commerce. In May, I was enjoying a glass of wine on the boat of a friend who was all worked up about the new ferry landing that the Golden Gate Bridge District wanted to install in Sausalito. “It’s horrible. It’s huge, […]
This is the eighth in my series of interviews with SAP employees in the area of user experience and design. As you may have noticed, I’ve taken a tangent from interviewing people whose main job consists of traditional design activities like visual design, user research and interaction design, to talk with people who are very important to a successful user experience, but are […]
Innovation is an omnipresent buzzword in today’s world. But when does it happen and where does it come from? At SAP’s Design & Co-Innovation Center, we believe there are three factors for innovation: people, process, and space. In our projects, we always put the person in focus and we do this all the more so […]
In my work with design, user experience and user interfaces, I often run into confusion about these three terms, both within and outside of SAP. The tendency is to think they all mean the same thing. In reality, they are different parts of the puzzle, all working together to support the new way we need to think about enterprise software.
When you read the title of this blog, you might wonder what the difference is between product UX strategy and an enterprise UX strategy. It is quite likely that you have never even heard of this distinction, though I believe it is important to talk about it.
There’s a digital disruption happening, and as an IT industry, we need to be aware of it and start to prepare. There are changes to come, but many are happening already, and it’s important that we take a leadership role during this period of rapid change. That begins by becoming innovation partners to business and […]
I’m very pleased to bring you the seventh in my series of interviews with SAP employees in a variety of roles in the area of user experience and design. About Beate Beate Riefer is a design thinking coach with SAP’s Design and Co-Innovation Center in Heidelberg, Germany. Beate started working at SAP in 2010 as a user experience designer and […]
By now you know that design can improve the adoption of your software application. Even without a trained Designer at hand, there are things you can do to create a delightful experience for your users and incorporate good design into your software.
After a bit of a summer break, I’m happy to bring you the sixth in my series of interviews with SAP employees in a variety of roles in the area of user experience and design. About Tobias Tobias Hildenbrand, Development Project Expert, acts as an internal consultant and global lead for business model innovation […]
Let me share the story of my latest Design Thinking experience with you. I admit it was not a perfect project, still I loved working on it. Looking back, I identified 7 mistakes I as a DT coach and we as a DT team made. And exactly these mistakes push me toward doing it again…
From my experience as a designer at SAP's Design & Co-Innovation Center, one common issue we face during our design research is the (mis)understanding of roles–the expert and a typical end user. While these roles have a lot of overlap, they are not interchangeable.
Designers are familiar with different types of prototyping across user experience and product design. Prototyping is a key element of the Design Thinking process, and also of great value for communication, as IDEO founder and Stanford d.school professor David Kelley explains: “If a picture is worth a thousand words, a prototype is worth a million […]
For the past three years, I’ve become a practitioner of Design thinking (DT) as part of my work as a Program Manager for SAP’s Design and Co-innovation Center (DCC). After working with DT on many projects, I began to notice that DT's real power lies in its simplicity.
Getting input from customers is vital to making sure we are building the right solutions. The tricky part is getting enough feedback to have a complete picture of the issues the majority of customers and users face. Ask too few users at too few companies, and the result is a picture very specific to their […]
UX/design requires artistic ability and creativity, hence there's a good chance, many of you may have some musical talent in your arsenal. So if you are attending SAP TechEd in Las Vegas, come join Sam Yen, SAP Mentors and other Musical volunteers on stage to jam for an hour in the Networking Reception.
My name is Mauro Rego and I am working as a designer at SAP´s Design & Co-Innovation Center (DCC). I design experiences of new digital products and services for business through storytelling and games. Over the last years, I have witnessed the rise of in-house trainings related to design. Thanks to Design Thinking and the presence […]
I had the great honor of interviewing Johanna Welz (18) and Viola Benecke (17), the two young women who joined SAP´s Design & Co-Innovation Center (DCC), based in the AppHaus in Heidelberg, for one month as interns. Johanna just having graduated and Viola still a continuing student are on their way to find out what […]
“With the ever growing spread of computers into our daily lives, software application design is more and more focusing on untrained and casual users. These users have very different requirements from professional users who for a long time dominated the business scene. Developers need to take this new breed of users seriously and design applications […]
A user interface (UI) control is a visual element on a computer screen that helps humans to interact with the underlying software. (They are also sometimes referred to as “widgets.”) Examples of UI controls are buttons, checkboxes, links, tabstrips, charts, and windows, but there are many more that you probably use daily, but never gave […]
The term “customer engagement” is used so often that it can admittedly sound a bit hollow. However, for those of us designing and developing enterprise software, it is a solid, hard-core matter of survival. Whether long-term or short-term, big or small, involving customers in the R&D process is vital to producing products people want to […]
Putting user experience (UX) at the forefront of what IT does and using the principles of design thinking requires digging to the root of what users are actually trying to accomplish and what motivates them. This invariably paints a very different picture than making educated assumptions or just asking users for feature requirements. Getting to […]
You probably wonder how improving User Experience relates to rethinking IT? There are some fundamental changes happening in how software is being developed. Having been in IT for many years before coming to SAP, I can clearly see these changes happening on both sides: at SAP and now also in our customer base. To illustrate, […]
So here was my challenge. As the manager of a team of user researchers, I was asked some years ago to help shift the mindset of our executives from traditional software benchmarked by features and functions to one measured by the quality of the user experience.
People often think that user experience is all about creating beautiful user interfaces to make users happy. Yes, of course enhancing your users’ experience will result in greater user satisfaction but did you know that UX has a range of other benefits, including financial advantages for your business?
Timo Bess is a visual designer for the SAP Business Suite and works at SAP headquarters in Walldorf, Germany. Since winning the internal design contest to create a responsive and beautiful design for the SAP User Experience Community, Timo is also responsible for the design of this site.
There’s a lot of talk about “user experience” today, but I’m not sure we’re all talking about the same thing. I often find myself midway into a conversation about UX, only to realize that some participants are really talking about UI, or user interface. In actuality, while the two are related, and both are important, […]
If being visual couldn’t be further away from your comfort zone, then trust me, you’re not alone. Discover how picking up a pen and getting a little more visual could help you reach the person you’re communicating with in a much more open, honest, and authentic way.
Gamification is the usage of elements that are typical for games, such as points, badges, levels and leader boards, in non-game contexts. This can be in business software, any other software (e.g. educational software) or in real life contexts (e.g. if your kids refuse to brush their teeth you can turn it into a contest). […]
Design Thinking has a strong history at SAP that started in 2004 and continues today. Here is the Design Thinking journey! Watch the video and let us know your thoughts! Visit the Design Thinking page on sap.com and follow on twitter @DTwithSAP to learn more.
Design Thinking is a term more and more people hear about lately but many perceive it to be confined to “designers”. Well, if you see something you don’t agree with and strive to change it, whether that be a business process or a piece of software, you are a designer too! As a designer I […]
The term “use case” is a common source of misunderstanding because it is often used to mean different things. Sometimes people use it to describe: a stakeholder’s high-level goal a step by step description of system action the flow of how users interact with a system If a team talks about use cases and everyone […]
This is the third in a small series of infographics on the topic of design and user experience. The first infographic was an introduction to the design process. The second was about conducting field research with end users. In this third post, the graphic highlights the steps involved in conducting a usability test and provides a few tips and […]
Fortunately, the days are gone in which the end users were mysterious beings that hardly anyone from the development department ever met. But since it’s still not a matter of course that software professionals have the real end user in mind when the end user is meant, the question should be allowed: What is an […]
If you are not a UI designer and hear the word “prototype,” what comes to your mind? If you are a UI designer, please forget about your background knowledge for a while and try to answer the question as well. There are two things coming to my mind. On the one hand there are sentences […]
A persona is a description of a typical user for a particular use case or scenario. It goes back to 1998, where personas were first introduced by Alan Cooper as a design tool and grew in popularity in the software industry rapidly from then on. Personas, as we use them today, can include different characteristics and […]
What happens if you bring together 10 founders, 50 team members, 10 coaches, 5 experts and one moderator in an inspiring location? Well, we tried it out during the "Gründerwerkstatt für Sozialunternehmertum" in the AppHaus in Heidelberg.
Here are a number of important considerations that I have learned to take care of when setting up and running a field research project. Involve as many disciplines as possible The more people that participate in the research one way or another, the higher the acceptance of the research results. For example, a solution manager, […]
This is the second in a small series of infographics on the topic of design and user experience. The first infographic was an introduction to the design process. In this second post, the graphic highlights the steps of conducting field research and provides a few tips and benefits along the way. The infographic starts with […]
Service design is a term that seems self-explanatory and ambiguous at the same time. Service design is the designing of services. But what is a service? A service is an intangible commodity. It is a set of actions that delivers value to users, without them having to own or manage any components. When sending a […]
We all like to play, and games have been around for a very long time. Yet, it is only recently that the idea of applying game like qualities into work has taken hold of our collective consciousness. Why now? This article examines the three main drivers behind the increase in the interest in gamification in today’s business community.
If you look up “mock-up” in a dictionary you will find several explanations. The one that fits best to a mock-up in the context of UI design is “It is a life-size model”. You could also say that a mock-up is an imitation, but one that comes before that actual product, not after. While looking […]
The following infographic is a fun take on a serious topic – integrating users into the design process. The graphic takes the reader on a journey which starts with a multidisciplinary team and then moves swiftly on to scoping the design project appropriately. The “real” work then starts with 360 degree research, after which, everything […]
In the context of business software, user research is a systematic approach to find out what exactly target users of a software product do in their work-related duties. The main focus of the research is on capturing the users’ goals, tasks, needs, pain points, information and interaction requirements. These findings are then used as input […]
To explain what a wireframe is, you do not need 500 words. If you limit the definition to the basics, 10 words are enough. This is the definition of wireframe: “A wireframe is a simple sketch of a user interface.” Since I have about 460 words left, let´s take a closer look at the words […]
Consider this: a product is not complete until a person uses it. A chair is not complete until someone sits down; a shopping website, not until someone orders something. My first design teacher chose this idea to make a point: the product is there to be used by a person. What does he want to […]
The answer to this question depends on how you define the term “usability.” So let’s take three different definitions and see where they led us to: Usability is “effectiveness, efficiency, and user satisfaction” In this definition, the target of usability is effectiveness (the user is able to reach his goal), efficiency (the user can reach […]
Sometimes a solution looks marvelous on paper but turns out to be a failure. Read this to get 7 design thinking tips to help your solutions swim instead of sink. I had the opportunity to attend this year’s Austrian Innovation Forum on “Business Design Thinking” in Vienna, and now I’d like to share my personal […]
Creating great software is hard. It’s one thing to create software that works. It’s something else to make software that people love. This difference is where many software projects run into problems. Here is how one developer on StackOverflow described the problem: Some of us just have a hard time with the softer aspects of […]
Everybody is currently talking about responsive web design. Be it when following the current web design discourse on blogs or when speaking with colleagues – responsive web design is on everybody’s lips. 2013 even was named the year of responsive web design. In this brief introduction to the topic I will deal with the origins […]
Colors Color is a primary and powerful ingredient of visual design. Designers create a color palette for a user interface (UI) to support the intent of the interaction, and to bring the personality of the brand to the application. There should always be a rational reason for choosing a color and they are mixed according […]
Design plays a prominent role in our modern society. Think of designer clothes, designer clocks, and even designer cakes. Increasingly, design has become an important differentiation factor and many companies define themselves from the competition through design. In the software world, quite a few directions of designers have emerged. In the following, I would like […]
When I first worked on the accessibility topic some years ago, I had a basic idea what “A11y” (short for Accessibility) stands for, but within 2 days, a customer message reaching my inbox titled: “I cannot access my system anymore because I forgot my password”. At least, you can learn from this what Accessibility is […]
A usability test is a method for validating prototypes and designs with actual end-users. In simple terms, a usability test is a one-on-one structured session between a moderator and a test participant as the participant performs a set of predefined tasks with a prototype or system. It does not involve a group discussion or observations […]
This two-part article takes a high-speed journey through the history of information visualization, mostly by presenting outstanding examples. Part I of the article takes a look at the pre-computer era, while Part II looks at more recent history and discusses the impact of the computer and the Internet on information visualization. It also presents a […]
This two-part article offers a brief history of information visualization, mostly by presenting outstanding examples. Part I of the article takes a look at the pre-computer era, while Part II looks at the more recent history and discusses the impact of the computer and the Internet on information visualization. It also presents a list of […]
Design Thinking is one of the more recent buzz words in the design community. I would therefore like to ask, “What is Design Thinking?” and suggest a few answers. A Design Methodology Basically, Design Thinking is a design methodology, which differs from traditional design approaches in specific ways. For example, it is characterized as more […]
In its most essential terms, design (more specifically product design) is the transformation of an idea into a virtual or physical thing. All man-made things have been designed, whether the design is good or bad. But I do think that design is the result of an intention. Can there be unintentional design? There may be unintended consequences of a design decision, but design seems to me to be inherently connected to a conscious intention.
Progressive disclosure is a method of balancing two contradicting requirements, simplicity and completeness, via a simple, yet powerful idea: (1) initially, show users only a few of the most important options and (2) offer them a larger set of specialized options upon request by disclosing additional features only if a user asks for them or […]
The extensive challenge designers and vendors of interactive products face is that “Experience or User Experience” is not about good industrial design, multi-touch, or fancy interfaces. It is about transcending the material. It is about creating an experience through a device”, states Marc Hassenzahl in his book on “User Experience and Experience Design” in the […]
Someone at TechEd told me to not talk about users, because the term packs a negative co-notation in some sub-cultures. So instead, let’s talk about software experience, although it doesn’t quite cover the load.
The introduction of Design Thinking at SAP as a product definition methodology requires every employee involved in the development of the product to take responsibility for the usability and end-to-end product experience. Customer involvement has become a cornerstone of both the requirements gathering process and the usability testing of our software. An essential part of the […]