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My Journey in UI Design – Web Dynpro, UI5 – Two approaches towards the same goal – Better UX   

     UI5 and JavaScript have been the toast of town lately. User Experience (UX) a concept which encapsulates everything related to software users has brought these technologies into the limelight. UX is nothing new but it’s only now the due relevance has been given to it. Earlier, user experience was addressed into one of the following: “Meet Customer Expectations”, “Do Not Meet Customer Expectations” “Exceed Customer expectations”, “Must Haves” etc. We can debate that fundamentally, that its same that the UX theory espouses.Then, why did UX have to be coined? How did UX bring the focus onto the user experience which the earlier categorizations did not achieve?

IT world is littered with acronyms and when used smartly it has a multiplier effect on the results. If someone doubts, then we just need to have a look around our web. Cloud, SOA, SOAP, BPM, UX and many more instantly strike a chord with the IT consultants.  In my observation the nomenclature/acronyms garb your attention like a smart ad. UX was able to get everyone to focus on how the users feel while using these applications. Earlier, the IT implementers behaved like government offices with little regard to their customers. We used to push the customers to adjust and still blame them for the failures. I am sure we have all been part of discussions where the blame for the project failure or delay is blamed instantly on the “Customer’s lack of understanding”. It’s actually our lack of understanding the customer’s requirements. Well, finally stepping in the right direction UX is a component of the design and I raise a toast to it.

Web Dynpro UIs(initially Java) was brought in by SAP to push forward the internet enabled business applications. In the internet world, SAP GUI was still stuck on the client machine and the need to access content on browsers was accomplished by Web Dynpros. Considering that the purpose with which WD was introduced into IT space it did its best to fulfill the goals. The shift to ABAP was an alternative to Java version and helped it gain more reach among the ABAP consultants who either feared Java or looked down on it. It accomplished the trust among the business users to show their sensitive data on the browser. The key factor of TRUST was established between the data owners and the IT enablers to increase the EXPOSURE of their data to different sections of consumers. The game changer UX swooped in and disturbed the equilibrium.

The theory of UX brought in the much needed KNOWLEDGE to the customers of their rights. Once the consumers were equipped with the knowledge of their right for faster, safer and easier applications, it brought in more open democracy. The demand drives the supply and UI5 was IN and Web Dynpros are on their way OUT. I never believe in death of any technology but its relevance and importance is diminished with the new player. Everyone retires.

Personally, UI5 brings in a lot of open nature and allows the developers the freedom to express their designs. But, as consultants we are capable of turning it to another SAP standard UI which can be called as SAP GUI on a fast lane. We are quick to stick to SAP standard templates and basically mimic what SAP does. We are quick to fall back on the mentality of the sheep, follow the herd. To ensure that history does not repeat, I feel the onus is on the customers. PUSH. Customers are stuck with the performance and it’s easier to fulfill that now with the faster web speed and servers. But, they need to move deeper into the implementation to get the best out of every penny they invest in US. It is time that customers question our system design, screen design, screen flow, performance and so on.

Look forward to your responses and feedback. Happy Learning!

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