Personas is more about user experience than user interface
I did a demo of Personas yesterday to the Higher Education and Research Special Interest Group (HERSIG) of the UK and Ireland SAP User Group. This was a fairly straightforward demo of Personas capabilities and more specifically what we have built with it at the University of Warwick. The most interesting part of the session, though, was not the demo but the discussion afterwards about how we had approached the project and how we had designed our solution.
There’s a lot of information here on SCN about how to achieve specific effects with Personas: how to merge tabs, how to chain transactions, how to automate tasks with scripts, how to add pretty backgrounds and other visual elements. While clearly you need to know how to use the product technically, in my mind the much bigger part of any Personas project is about designing the user experience, not about tweaking individual transactions. As I see it, Personas works best if it is applied to everything a user does in the SAP system, not just to one or two transactions. Building a whole Personas world for the user, an environment where everything they do has the same look and feel and the same level of simplicity, is what works best. Giving a user a mix of simplified and standard transactions creates a disjoint experience that could leave users less satisfied than they were before.
This does mean you need to choose your target users carefully. We started with a group of users than need to use just a handful of transactions so that it was practical to apply Personas to them all. We have many users that use 30, 40, 50 or more transactions, as I’m sure do all SAP sites. I don’t believe such users are the target users for Personas. I don’t believe anyone will use Personas as a replacement for SAPgui for all their users.
My advice when embarking on a Personas project is to think in terms of overall user experience, not in terms of individual transactions you can improve. Your users will thank you for it 🙂