“My end users can’t find the applications they need!”

Nobody wants to hear that their end users struggle to find essential applications and information they need for their daily tasks. Therefore, designing a suitable entry page for your end users is crucial.

Check out the following video to get an understanding of the key elements of the SAP Fiori launchpad, and what you need to consider for setting up the right environment.

Key elements of the SAP Fiori launchpad

SAP Fiori launchpad key elements

The home page is the place for favorite business applications and analytics across functional areas and technologies. End users should find applications they use most frequently and ones that are most relevant to them, either added by themselves or preconfigured by an admin on the home page.

The app finder provides access to all other business-related applications and analytics that an end user might need.

From the navigation menu, end users can launch any content that was added to the home page or to any app from the app finder catalog.

 

Design recommendations for 3 common home page challenges

Challenge 1: “We have too many apps. We need more structuring possibilities on the home page.”

We conducted a survey with nearly 2000 end users of the SAP portal to understand how many apps are used on a daily basis and how end users organize their favorite applications. The most interesting key finding was the following: 80% of the respondents have fewer than 21 favorite applications saved, while most users do not maintain their favorites in deep hierarchies. Beyond that, though, we found out that only up to 5 applications are used daily. Why do we than need more structuring possibilities on the home page?

Before you configure the SAP Fiori launchpad, you should consider a few things, such as who uses it, what are their daily tasks, what kind of applications and information do they require, and how should the applications be organized. A design workshop with user representatives or interviews with end users will help you to answer such questions.

You would like to set up a design workshop? Check out the detailed blog post in the SAP community on how to adapt the SAP Fiori launchpad to your business role.

Design recommendation: Identify the applications that matter

It’s important to carefully select the apps that are the most relevant for your end users and not to overwhelm them with too many apps. Too many tiles and links (e.g., more than 70) on home pages create an unnecessary cognitive and visual overload for users, which make it harder to recognize the most important tasks immediately.

Use the default configuration as an inspiration, but tailor it so that it suits your end users. Listen to your users, have a look at how they organize their applications, check out which applications they use the most or added manually.

Design recommendation: Provide a meaningful structure and order

Once you have identified which applications should be placed on the home page, think about how to organize them. Use groups to structure the apps in a meaningful way. Put related applications next to each other and group them based on certain criteria, such as periodical use, functional, or, by process.

Define a deliberate order of the groups and applications. Users expect to find more important applications on top of the page.

 

Challenge 2: “Some apps don’t provide meaningful content and waste too much space.”

Design recommendation: Choose an appropriate visualization

Applications are either visualized as tiles or links. Use the tile visualization when you want to emphasize the importance of the app or when you would like to display a valuable application insight, such as informative text, numbers or charts.

Choosing the right visualization will help your users to be able to recognize the most important applications first and get an immediate insight which applications require the users’ attention.

 

Challenge 3: ”End users will accidently remove applications.”

Design recommendation: Consider the level of personalization

Some customers turn off the home page personalization capabilities because they are afraid that their end users will remove required applications accidently. Keep in mind that all applications can easily be added or accessed via the app finder and the navigation menu as well. If you still want to make certain apps always available, consider locking a certain group instead of turning off the personalization.

Hence one can say, that turning off the personalization should be the last option to consider. It might make sense in some edge cases, such as when there are few available applications, and there is no real benefit of making use of the app finder. Anyhow, before you turn off the personalization, consider the following: Users appreciate being able to adapt the home page to their needs. Even though you have conducted end-user oriented research studies for defining the perfect home page set up, end users have their own preferences and would like to have some level of flexibility and control to make the home page experience truly theirs.

6 key take aways for setting up the SAP Fiori launchpad

  1. Display as few applications as possible on the home page so as to not overwhelm end users. Ideally, add only the most relevant ones that are required for their daily tasks. Leave less relevant applications organized in the app finder and navigation menu.
  2. Display applications as tiles when your application has valuable insights to display or when you want to emphasize the importance of an application. Otherwise consider using the link visualization.
  3. Carefully organize and sort content (groups and tiles/links) based on how your end users work. Get an understanding which content your users need daily, occasionally or rarely. Sort content from most important to least important.
  4. Put related applications based on certain criteria within one group.
  5. Consider creating a general group for their top applications and information.
  6. Give end users some personalization control to allow them to optimize the home page to their needs.

Special thanks to Eva for her support in creating the multimedia for this article.

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  • Jocelyn Dart   3 months ago

    Thanks Jamila. Really like this concise summary of what is important in home page design. Voice of the user is so critical in this – needs to pass the end user “pub test” of “what’s in it for me”.

    • Jamila Schon   3 months ago

      Thanks for the feedback. You’re absolutely right. I’ve seen so many overcrowded home pages in the past. I hope this article helps to create some awareness for the importance of this topic.

  • Phil Cooley   3 months ago

    Thanks Jamila. I would like a Machine Learning based FLP so that an Administrator does not need to review or update the FLP based on commonly used apps. Would be good if Machine learning could determine on a user by user basis what they used most and then dynamically update the FLP based on this. That would be an awesome FLP!

    • Jamila Schon   3 months ago

      Thanks for the inspiration. We’re definitely thinking in that direction too. We also believe that the future of business software has to take into consideration more intelligence means than static structures. Having a supportive and pro-actively engaged system that empowers the user is the key to success.

  • David Drayton   3 months ago

    Thanks, Jamila, great article and very useful insights for us as designers for guiding users through the plethora of apps in some systems.

  • Shadab Shafiq   2 months ago

    You are right Jamila. Applications are supposed to ease our lives; but with so many apps being added. An enduser can get lost in the app jungle. Launchpads if designed intuitively can help put the perspective on finding the right app at the right time.