03-08-2017

As a User Experience (UX) designer, I’m often contacted by our customers to help them out with an app that has poor user adaptation. Often such an app, or any solution of that matter, is being perceived as not user-friendly or, even worse, as not very useful. So what steps can you take to become more user-centered when developing an app?

Sure, we can try to fix poor UX afterwards but there’s only so much one can do without the need of rebuilding large parts of the app. Poor user experience can have multiple causes but the most common one is starting headfirst with development without a clear understanding of the user’s goals, needs and expectations.

User insights

The first step in the early stage of a project is to spend some time with actual users in order to gain empathy and truly understand what they need and want to accomplish. Based on these insights, you can start drawing up ideas and a first sketch of what the app might look like. Design Thinking is a good and proven approach for understandig user needs.

Start prototyping

The next step is to bring those ideas and sketches to life! To make it tangible and interactive, we suggest you create a first clickable prototype. And that first prototype doesn’t have to be perfect right away. It’s all about getting feedback as quickly and often as possible. So go out with your prototype and show it to your stakeholders and, most importantly, the actual users of your app. You will get lots of feedback and that’s the whole point. Based on this feedback you can further refine your prototype until it’s exactly right.

Meet SAP Build, a rapid prototyping tool

Now is a good time to introduce you to SAP Build, SAP’s own cloud-based prototyping environment. Although It’s part of Leonardo, SAP’s digital innovation system that comprises both new technologies as well as design thinking services and best practices, it can be used by everyone for free (www.build.me).

According to SAP it’s ‘Everything you need, to design beautiful apps in one set of cloud‑based tools’.

Source: https://www.build.me/splashapp/how-it-work 

Like other good prototyping tools, SAP Build lets you design, create and share a prototype so you can quickly gather feedback and iterate upon that feedback. This can even be done remotely in which the user gets a link to the prototype and can work with it on their own device and at their own pace. What makes Build unique is the fact that it’s applying the SAP Fiori UX style and principles. This means that it’s very easy to create a clickable prototype that looks and feels exactly the same as a SAP Fiori app.

SAP Build also provides you with the ability to add team members so you can collaborate on a design and allow others to add comments directly into the prototype.

Templates are your best friend

You can start your project from scratch, but you can also use one of the many available templates created for you by the SAP Build community. This of course can really speed up the design process since you don’t have to start from scratch.

So what’s not to like about SAP Build? Not that much actually. It really depends on your needs and the type of application you want to prototype. If you really need to deliver a consumer grade app with a very custom look and feel, SAP Build won’t be your first choice (we use Sketch, Invision, or Axure for these types of prototypes). For example, it’s not possible to change the styling (e.g. colors or fonts) of the components that you can use or add your own elements.

However, if your aim is to quickly deliver SAP Fiori based applications, SAP Build can be used to easily design and prototype them.

Key take away

The key take away isn’t that you should look at SAP Build (you should), but that you should start your next project with creating some prototypes and validate them before you ask your developers to start writing any code. In the end it can really save your project and your day.

If you want to know more about the best way to design and deliver easy to use apps get in touch with me or download the leaflet below about our unique one-day design workshop in the Design Thinking Center in Amsterdam. In just one day you can translate your idea into a design that is ready to be validated with your stakeholders and users