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In my day to day activities I often encounter a wide variety of User Interfaces.

Some are really ugly and almost impossible to navigate easily. Simple things like entering dates can provide a level of frustration that makes me want to throw things at the screen. Some have menus with annoying hover “capabilities” that I’m sure looked cool at design time, but when you’re a microsecond too slow with the mouse cause nothing but hassles.

Some aren’t too bad, but I can’t think of any that make me go “wow”.

Where are some examples of “wow” sites?  

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  1. Martin English
    Hi Mike,
    One big problem I see coming (in fact, its a bit of a problem now) with web apps is how gracefully they break when the browser functionality it depends on isn’t present. 

    Even breaking with a polite error message (‘your browser doesn’t support this functionality”) would be better than some of the cases I seen.  However, the perfect world would be where the Application Functionality is separate from the presentation (sidenote: … which is what I thought it was all about anyway), so you don’t necessarily get all the pretty drop downs and fade-ins when using an older browser, but at least you can see what you came to see 🙂

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  2. Rahul Urs
    I suggest SAP should work on connecting SAP EP with WordPress to provide some better user interfaces !
    I use cool designs from wordpress for all the portal projects. I remove all the sections of the default framework page and only leave the masthead alone which is the header section and the rest has some of the coolest designs which has made every client go  “woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow “

    so lets say booooooooooooooo to SAP EP UI as I like to throw stones at my screen every time i see the blue default theme with some really sad UI’s that we have seen ever since Enterprise Portal came into existence and  lets all say  yaaay!!!! to WordPress..

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    1. Robin van het Hof
      WordPress is blogging software. I am quite curious to know how you would deal with the following by using WordPress templates:

      – portal eventing
      – custom portal applications
      – usability
      – SAP provided portal applications, like ESS/MSS
      – etc
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  3. Tobias Hofmann
    Just follow basic guidelines:
    – focus on the data and on the user.
    – fancy UI is part of Javascript. If no Javascript is available, at least show the data: table with jquery on top of it.
    – make it simple: make it fit on a screen. I like pages where I have to click through 10 screens and in the end I hit a timeout.
    – put the page in context.
    – fast: performance is king
    – fit on screen: no scrollbars and no white spaces on the right … while the rest is put in a tiny area with scrollbars. Like this textbox window I’m right now entering this message.

    br,
    Tobias

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  4. Sergio Ferrari
    It was Apr. 18, 2005 when I blogged about “the nightmare of statefull Web applications” (BSP / HowTo: BACK Navigation – the nightmare of statefull Web applications) and I still think it’s one of the worst characteristic of the web applications based on SAP strategic UI that is Web Dynpro for ABAP.
    I know that’s due to the session management but as from the guru (Jakob Nielsen http://www.useit.com/alertbox/990530.html) “The Back button is the lifeline of the Web user and the second-most used navigation feature (after following hypertext links)”.
    I add the link to a fantastic blog from Karin Tilliston “Why I believe in the power of ASUG Influence Councils Part 2 – The ASUG UI Influence Council” http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/scn/weblogs?blog=/pub/wlg/20039. [original link is broken] [original link is broken]

    Finally, it’s not a pure web apps but the best ERP I have never saw is called LightSpeed, let’s dream looking here  http://www.xsilva.com/en/explore/manage-your-business.html

    Sergio

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  5. Jan Laros
    I like news sites and their navigation structures. I work for Tweakers.net (biggest Dutch IT-website, http://www.tweakers.net) and might sound like I am plugging and spamming, but I really like the top level navigation they use. I am sure we could implement this kind of navigation and colouring in a SAP NetWeaver Portal (using Javascript ofcourse).
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    1. Robin van het Hof
      Hi Jan,

      Although I highly like the Tweakers.net site, I have some comments:

      – The hover effect is of course already possible out-of-the-box, and with the Navigation API you could achieve extensive styling effects (i.e. have a look at the SDN navigation for instance)

      – From a usability point of view, it is considered not-done to use 2 horizontal levels of navigation, and 3rd and deeper levels in a dropdown

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    2. Tobias Hofmann
      News sites have a different focus than the average SAP Portal (business). It’s easier to categorize the content than delivering content based on the user role and current context (manager vs. employees vs. home office vs. road warrior vs. …)

      Creating a great portal experience for business users depends on the business case. What is great for ESS doesn’t have to work for PM or BI: a screen with little information is easier to display than 5 BI reports without the need to scroll down.

      So, what makes a great portal experience? The navigation? The constant usage of UI elements (define to use datatables for every table and never change that), the same way to present data, speed, runs on every client (desktop, mobile)?

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  6. Pete Lagana
    Hello everybody. This is a great discussion!  I just wanted to say that SAP software can certainly look great too – with a focus on UX design and not settling for out of the box. By focusing on designing what you want the UI to look like and how you want users to interact with it, then you have a blueprint to follow in terms of modifying SAP software to look great. Here’s an example of a project we did built with 100% Netweaver Portal – http://www.pfizerpro.com
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