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Knowledge thrives where there is passion and interaction – and lots of smart people.

The SAP Community Network started with a focus on developers and SAP NetWeaver experts. Then we expanded to become a resource for the business process expert (BPX) community. This year, we welcomed new communities around Crystal Reports,  Xcelsius, and InnoCentive. Most recently, we launched SAP EcoHub.

Now, with over 1.5 million members, SAP Community Network (SCN) has become a giant online resource that provides indispensable support for the expanding SAP ecosystem.  More and more people are focused on SAP enterprise software, from more different angles and special interest areas. And members depend on SCN to learn, get help in their daily jobs, interact, and advance their careers.

During the redesign project, we asked ourselves, how can we continue to provide information resources that can be valuable to all the different special interest areas, and still provide a platform where professionals from different backgrounds, both technical and business, can interact and profit from their different, unique knowledge domains? 

This turns out to be a difficult problem with no easy answers. But the recent addition of new communities, and the prospect of adding even more communities in the months to come, made it clear that we needed to rethink our site architecture and design to accommodate the present and provision for the future.

Today, SAP Community Network launches with a major new renovation, or “makeover,” that, we hope, will provide a platform for future community growth and expansion into niche interest areas, but still provide for broad sharing of knowledge across traditional community boundaries. 

Shift to the SAP Color Pallet and Design

Most obvious: we have new colors and a new design that is more in line with the SAP brand and style. Over the past 9 months, we developed our new style guide together with a top German design agency.  Not too many frills here, just clean and elegant. We hope you like the crisp new look and feel.

2-Level Navigation

During our navigation design phase, we were able to leverage our SAP NetWeaver platform to implement a 2-level top navigation. Now you can easily navigate to the core SAP Community Network communities. 

The new navigation let’s you tab to SDN, BPX, Business Objects Community (BOC), or the SAP EcoHub community. Underneath each tab, you will find both community-specific resources, as well as common resources that span all communities. 

Your Feedback

Please give us your input about the new SAP Community Network design. Respond to this blog directly, or go to SCN Support in the /community [original link is broken] area

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49 Comments

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  1. Susan Keohan
    The ‘About Us | How to Contribute’
    and Welcome lines are in white on a light gray background, so that’s not so easy to navigate to.
    Otherwise, I need to spend a little more time clicking around.  But it’s fresh and bright!
    (0) 
    1. Keith Elliott Post author
      Hello Susan,
      We still have areas to fix and improve. You’ll see a lot of small changes in the next weeks. Please let me know your impressions after you click around a little more.
      (0) 
    1. ANKUR GARG
      I still find inline frames in many blogs, like:
      /people/sap.user72/blog/2006/05/04/enhancing-tables-in-webdynpro-java-150-custom-built-table-utilities

      And I cannot collapse the left side navigation panel now 🙁

      (0) 
    1. Keith Elliott Post author
      Hi Anton,
      We have a great platform team that engineered the change and executed under a lot of time pressure. We’re all happy with the results. Of course, there’s still lots more to take care of.

      For the user, we tried to make the navigation a little more representative of the site architecture. The two-level top navigation allowed us to separate out the communities from the content. We also did some reorganization of BPX pages that we hope will help simplify navigation.

      Some other UI features will be implemented in the next weeks, like “hover” menus that will help reduce mouse clicks.

      I’m not sure it’ll ever get a little more quiet, but I’ll try to find the time to read your suggested article anyway.

      Keith

      (0) 
  2. John Smith
    Hi,

    as developer I trust web pages that fit my browser window. With your new design you decided to fix the width and center it. For some link pages and business blogs this is ok but for technical blogs and pages I don’t like this style. Is it possible for you to offer 2 styles that a user can then choose from in the profile section? That would be great.

    (0) 
    1. Keith Elliott Post author
      Hi John,

      Thanks for this feedback. See my other comments about the new fixed-width layout.

      It’s very useful to get lots of input from the community on this issue.

      Keith

      (0) 
  3. Michael Wiedemann
    Hi folks,

    my first impression is – “looks good”.
    A little bit more streamlined even though there is not so much space for content as with the old version.

    The roll-out seemed to be seamless, maybe we can make a good success story for future SAP NetWeaver cusotmers out of this… 🙂

    One thing I noticed so far: when I click on a RSS feed entry in my feed reader the standard SAP portal layout is shown. I think this is as the link “jumps” into the Jive forum application directly and this somewhat confuses the portal framework…

    Keep on rockin’ !

    Michael

    (0) 
  4. Kevin Hill
    Hi,

    The new look is really slick. I had this habit of collapsing the left navigation frame to give ge more reading width, which does not seem possible now. Also it does not seem to utilise the whole width of the browser.

    regards,
    Kevin Hill

    (0) 
  5. Witalij Rudnicki
    …to get used to new layouts. I must say that SDN developed into much more appealing and stable platform, then it was 3 years ago. But now I need time to make myslef comfortable with this new layout and colors.

    There are more issues with content: during last 2 days we faced already 2 issues when Java error messages where displayed instead of content, and sent info to SDN team already.

    Regards,
    -Vitaliy

    (0) 
  6. Raghu Ram
    As someone had said earlier(sorry i forgot ur name buddy),i use the left frame collapse button always to get more space to more threads.It was very useful,bring it back.Also the top banner in near-yellow(is it some other color,i’m not a color expert) is a turnoff to say the least.

    Regards
    Raghu

    (0) 
  7. Matthias Steiner
    I think the new design looks fresh and tidy!!!

    One remark, the comments to a blog are still hard to read… any chance of extending the makeover scope to inlude that?

    (0) 
  8. Oliver Schmidt
    Hi,

    1. I see more and more SAP site move towards that “fixed width / centered / grey background” design introduced by http://www.sap.com. While this might be suitable for a marketing playground it certainly isn’t appropriate for real content. The quite wide (not collapsible) left-hand-navigation and the boxes on the right take away addtional screen estate, so especially with two-column layout pages the lines are way to short to read. On a 21″ display with default DPI settings and 100% scaling the actual page content is squeezed on roughly a quarter of the available screen width.

    2. The sub-heading links are not underlined anymore so it’s basically impossible to identify them as links. In example on https://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/sdn you have no visible clue that ‘SAP Community Gets A Makeover’ is the (only) link to this blog.

    Even worse: Normal sub-headings without links are rendered totally identical, even with a counter-intuitive mouseover action. Check out in example https://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/sdn/enterprisesoa : The sub-heading ‘Sneak Preview 2: …’ is a link while the sub-heading ‘New Methodology for SOA Transformations’ isn’t. The only way to understand the difference is to look at the browser status bar 🙁

    3. I consider it very counter-intuitive that the first-level navigation entry ‘EcoHub’ just opens an new browser window. The obvious user expectation is that one can switch back and forth between the tabs of the first-level navigation. But maybe there was just to much lobby force towards giving the EcoHub such a prominent place although it’s poor integration with SCN ;-))

    Just my two cents, Oliver

    (0) 
    1. Anton Wenzelhuemer
      i also observed the counter-intuitive phenomenons in the new navigation and layout and posted that in the CoffeeCorner. Basically I have been answered to wait, see, be impressed and else shut up 😉 at least thats how I understood it.
      (0) 
    2. Keith Elliott Post author
      Hi Oliver,
      The fixed-width center section was a point of disagreement within our design team.

      Some arguments in favor:
      * It is, in fact the official SAP style for corporate websites to have a fixed-width layout.
      * Using fixed-width containers enables us (the publisher) to control the layout of the pages.
      * Using fixed-width containers simplifies the design and reduces the complexity from the platform perspective.

      Some arguments against:
      * Fixed layouts don’t take advantage of online media, which allow for dynamic line breaks.
      * Fixed-width layouts cause users to have to scroll horizontally.
      * Fixed layouts don’t allow the user to take advantage of screen space and optimize the desktop.

      Finally, we made the decision to go with a fixed-width layout.

      Nevertheless, I think that we should continue to collect input on this.

      Keith

      (0) 
      1. Keith Elliott Post author
        Hi Oliver,

        I forgot to comment on your other observations.

        Link behavior will be corrected in a future update. You wouldn’t be surprised to learn that I was also looking for a link to my blog on the SDN homepage.

        We’ve decided not to underline links, but to render links in another, consistent color throughout our pages. After the update, links should be visually distinguishable from headings that aren’t linked.

        SAP EcoHub is kind of a hybrid. We designed EcoHub with a completely different page layout that is better suited for a catalog-type application. So the SAP EcoHub runs in its separate framework. Nevertheless, EcoHub shares community resources with the rest of the Community Network. EcoHub will build “micro communities” and launch forum and blog topics and wiki pages around various partner solutions.

        The EcoHub community of our partners and our partners customers will be active in the same common collaboration spaces as the rest of the Community Network.

        (0) 
      2. Michael Nicholls
        Can we make it a user setting/preference? If I want to have the whole screen, then that should be an option I can set as a user. If I’m comfortable with the SAP branding design, then I should also be able to pick that..

        Just an idea..

        Cheers

        (0) 
        1. Keith Elliott Post author
          Hi Michael,
          Thanks for this suggestion. We’re still collecting feedback from several separate sources on the design.

          Please keep the observations coming. This helps us to make decisions on future design iterations.

          — Keith

          (0) 
    1. Keith Elliott Post author
      Eric said, “German design? 🙂 I guess it is just a joke… :)”

      Hi Eric,

      I said that we employed a german design agency. Didn’t say that the design was German — just the agency that designed it. 🙂

      Keith

      (0) 
  9. Jim Spath
    Keith et al:
      Personally, I’m not enamored of web site facelifts when performance suffers.  To help SCN management understand the user experience, I put up a wiki page for feedback.  If users could measure how long basic operations take, such as navigation to sub-home pages, then update this wiki page, the baselines can help drive future improvements.  I put an example row to get started.
    Jim
    (0) 
  10. Aamir Suhail
    Thanx for the effort but there are few things which could be fixed moving forward.
    First of all why the website leaves two huge gray pillars on each side(about 1 inch wide).earlier the page was displayed on the whole screen and now it displays only in the center.
    Secondly the position of the bottom scroll bar(Horizontal) is not suitable at all,please either wrap the line if its too long to be displayed or provide the bottom scroll bar on the main screen,not all the way at the bottom of the page.
    Thanx
    Aamir
    (0) 
    1. Keith Elliott Post author
      Hi Aamir,
      What you’re experiencing is due to the fixed-width center area of the page. Previously, this area expanded and contracted with dynamic line breaks, depending on screen resolution and on how wide or narrow you set your browser window on your desktop.

      In the new design, the center section stayes the same width no matter how you size your browser window.

      As I commented to Oliver below, this design decision was critically discussed within our team and we finally decided to go with a fixed-width layout.

      Comments and reactions from you and others in the community will be taken seriously as we go forward.

      (0) 
  11. Gail Moody-Byrd
    keith and team,
    The new design from my standpoint is a huge leap in terms of clarifying the role of the SAP Community Network (SCN)- the umbrella under which SDN, BPX and Business Objects sits. I encourage readers to go to the SCN tab (click on the HOME icon next to SDN) and see mentors, community quotes, the map of the global span of the community and other info. Sorry for the time delays for some functions – i know you will work that out.
    Gail Moody-Byrd
    (0) 
  12. Shyam Ravindranathan
    Hi Keith,

    Great work!! The New Navigation Features are really good and makes it easy to use.The new look is also slick but the  fixed-width center area of the page is not very good.Specially while reading forum posts and blogs certain lines get cut and doesn’t look good.I hope you will improve this soon enough.

    Shyam

    (0) 
  13. Ayyapparaj KV
    Hi,

    Its cool, good looking but do we ever thought of user experiences with this fixed column screens.

    1) Will i be able to access this sight if i suffer from band width issues? Do we have a light weight portal or classic screens with out much rich contents.

    2) Is their any monitoring on the so called “Web2.0 initiative” contents being posted ex: mp4 files part of blogs.

    Regards
    Ayyapparaj

    (0) 
  14. Robert Warde
    Hi, the redesigned site looks nice but the fixed width issue is a pain. Makes it very difficult to read some of the detailed blogs.

    Certain areas could have had more attention, such as the search facility and forum moderation.

    (0) 
  15. Thomas Vogt
    Hello,

    1. The new bigger font size causes unnecessary line wraps. Together with the new fixed page width the readability of the page is decreased.

    2. Subtopic headers
    old design: bold black and mixed letters – good to read and to recognize
    new design: bold light gray and capital letters – harder to read and to recognize

    Regards,
    Thomas

    (0) 
    1. Bhavesh Kantilal
      Plus one to this issue. There are threads which I want to read, but the pain of having to scroll all the way just stops me from doing this.

      A fix needed asap please~

      Regards
      Bhavesh

      (0) 
  16. Anumeha Khandelwal
    I have been facing trouble in reading the forums or blogs using the new layout. The problem is the display area is so narrow that almost half of the text is cut of whatever document I read. The scroll bars present at the bottom is a pain to use coz to read each line I have to:

    1. Scroll down
    2. Scroll right
    3. Scroll up 
    4. Read line 
    5. Scroll down 
    6. Scroll left 
    7. Scroll up 
    8. Read next line

    And it continues for entire document. This is extremely painful and I hv stopped referring sdn as I used to earlier and prefer Google because of this problem. And im sure others must also be facing same problem
    Request you to please look into this and provide a more user friendly layout.
      
    For eg: Try accessing this link: Re: what is DEV and CONS

    (0) 
  17. Esther Schmitz
    Hi all,

    I would like to clarify some facts regarding the perceived connection between fixed width and horizontal scrollbar in some blogs and forum posts:

    The fixed width layout is not what causes the horizontal scrollbar to appear.

    As you might or might not know the forum and blog applications are integrated into the SCN site via iframe. The horizontal scrollbar is a bug in the iframe integration where the content of the iframe is wider than the iframe. The same bug happens even if the layout is not fixed (I tested this on one of our dev boxes).

    The integration via iframe has caused us a lot of problems in the past. We have been trying to get rid of the iframes for almost two years now, precisely because of the issues they cause.

    The solution to the horizontal scrollbar is not to get rid of the fixed width layout but to rework the way forums and blogs are integrated with SCN.

    (0) 
  18. Kenneth Snyder
    I have been getting emails about responses to a thread but when I click on the link in the email, I don’t see the response.  The thread is not complete.  It seemed to stop at the beginning of December sometime…  

    Kenneth Snyder,  You are watching the forum “SCM – APO”, which was updated on Dec 10, 2008 4:35:03 AM by Amit Gujargoud.  Subject: Re: Filtering delivery types and PGI Message: Check Business Add-In *LE_SHP_GOODSMOVEMENT* is called at the following points: Post goods issue for outbound delivery Post goods receipt for inbound delivery also look At *LE_SHP_DELIVERY_PROC* for finding Shiping BADi: Logistics Execution and choose Shipping -> System Modifications -> Business Add-Ins in Shipping.  To view the forum, visit: SAP Advanced Planning & Optimization (SAP APO)  To view the thread, visit: Filtering delivery types and PGI  —————————— Registered Office: Walldorf, Germany SAP Executive Board: Henning Kagermann (Sprecher/Co-CEO), Léo Apotheker (Sprecher/Co-CEO), Werner Brandt, Erwin Gunst, Claus Heinrich, Bill McDermott, Gerhard Oswald, John Schwarz, Jim Hagemann Snabe, Peter Zencke  Chairperson of the SAP Supervisory Board: Hasso Plattner Commercial Register Mannheim No HRB 350269  This e-mail may contain trade secrets or privileged, undisclosed, or otherwise confidential information. If you have received this e-mail in error, you are hereby notified that any review, copying, or distribution of it is strictly prohibited. Please inform us immediately and destroy the original transmittal. Thank you for your cooperation.

    (0) 
    1. Marilyn Pratt
      Hi Kenneth,
      My guess would be that there might have been some conversation that ensued that necessitated moderation or pruning. Examples would be inappropriate answers, gaming, off-topic responses.  When such an answer is removed by moderators you would then no longer see these responses in the message threads. Looking at your example, it doesn’t seem to be a case of that kind of response so it might be a glitch when the author of the reply edited his comment.
      I’ll forward this to our forum guru but I recommend using the forums themselves (Suggestions and Comments) to raise these issues so they can be properly addressed. 
      (0) 
  19. Hi, the design of SDN changed, now looks nicer 🙂 but makes most of my used wiki pages containing code unreadable 🙁 as the 2nd part of the code is “cut” and you’ve to scroll horizontally even though screen is wide enough to contain whole text width. Do you see any possibility to force page to wrap text? If not, please make content area wider so content is easily accessible.

    Exemplary pages showing the mentioned behaviour:
    https://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/scn/wiki?path=/display/wdjava/faq%252b-%252bmodels%252b-%252badaptive%252bweb%252bservice 
    https://wiki.sdn.sap.com/wiki/display/WDJava/Creating+Confirmation+Dialog+Box+in+WebDynpro+Java 

    Best regards, Georg   

    (0) 

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