Eight rules for a good user experience improvement project

1. Put your users in the centre 

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). 

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 honour the improvements you are going to provide, even if they does not address all issues in the first place.  

3. Know your general options 

Know your general options in order to improve user experience and prioritise 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)

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

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.

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.

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 optimise the mix by harmonising 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.

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. 

Neil How
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Neil How

Neil ran his first SAP transformation programme in his early twenties. He spent the next 21 years working both client side and for various consultancies running numerous SAP programmes. After successfully completing over 15 full lifecycles he took a senior leadership/board position and his work moved onto creating the same success for others.

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