Over 1,900 attendees from 38 countries have experienced SAP devX at SAP UX Summit 2020 on July 1-3. With SAP Fiori in the center, they explored the future of user experience and design.
“Physical and virtual are melting together. This gives is us new opportunities. We need to adapt our thinking and – our software!” said Alex Lingg, Head of SAP User Experience and UX lead for SAP S/4HANA, and sponsor of SAP UX Summit 2020. This perfectly describes the character of the event. In 76 sessions, workshops, and activities, SAP’s design experts discussed with employees from 38 countries and speakers from Wacker Chemie AG, Boston University, Freeletics, and University of Siegen the future of UX.
“UX never stands still”
In his keynote, Alex Lingg stated: “UX for life is our motto. We believe that user experience is always present, but it should never be recognized.” The responsibility of UX is to hide software complexity from customers so that they can concentrate on running their businesses efficiently and with joy. A great UX is so much more than just a great UI, it’s rather a seamless end-to-end product experience with the user in the center.
With great user experience dominating our choices in our private lives, our expectations for the enterprise experience have now changed significantly. Therefore, Alex insisted that it is key, and even more important, for enterprises to provide mobile apps, a user-centered approach, and a strong focus on usability and accessibility.
When officially kicking-off the event as the sponsor, Alex Lingg emphasized again that this joint UX mission for the SAP customers can only be executed by all roles in the company together: “To support customers in their digital transformation, we need to deeply understand them and their working environment. We are already in the middle of this journey, driven by design-led development and SAP Fiori. The UX Summit is a great opportunity for designers, user researchers, developers, product managers, product owners, and customers to exchange our experiences and to create UX for life together.”
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Wacker Chemie AG: Our UX journey
In their talk about Wacker’s user experience journey, Marius Thammer, along with Lisa Nemeth, went through all phases of their SAP S/4HANA conversion and SAP Fiori launchpad implementation. The international chemical company uses one central SAP Core System for many plants and technical centers around the world, with an on-premise SAP S/4HANA system in the central data center in Munich. The main focus was laid on mobility as well as analytical and supplementary SAP Fiori apps. Lisa advised the audience to “take your time, talk to people, let it grow. If users don’t have the need to change, there won’t be a change!” A new user experience does not stop at the user interface, she stated, it’s the full package of documentation, usability, performance, configuration options, and design consistency.
Wellbeing in design
Professor Hassenzahl from University of Siegen elaborated the challenges on how we can grasp the general concept of wellbeing and make it productive for design. Activities are experienced as enjoyable and meaningful when they fulfill psychological needs such as competence, security, and autonomy. Technology shapes our wellbeing through functionality and interaction. Thus, the challenge of designing for wellbeing is to identify, understand, rewrite, or invent positive everyday practices and to materialize them through interaction and form.
Loving problems and conflict
The award-winning film-director Johan Liedgren talked about the love for problems and conflict in narrative design. For him, design is experience and experience is narrative. There is no story without conflict and the bigger the conflict, the bigger the story. Reversely, this means: no problem – no user experience. Only a conflict gives meaning, purpose, and direction. SAP’s narrative is to provide B2B solutions with great user experiences, navigating the users to solve problems.
SAP UX Summit: from on-site to virtual
User centricity was a reoccurring theme throughout the 79 hours of talks, sessions, and workshops. Originally planned as an on-site event, the virtual UX Summit came up with creative solutions to actively include colleagues in their home offices and offer a huge variety of speakers and topics around research, accessibility, mobile, development and design tools, process development, design thinking, design psychology. We also received overwhelming feedback for the fun activities like yoga, live music, DIYs, and pub quizzes.
The (omnichannel) future of design
In our panel discussion, Alexander Lingg came together with Freeletics’ design managers Kathryn Thomas Hastings and Natalia Patiño, Kai Richter (Chief Designer, SAP), Chris Allen (Head of Design for SAP New Ventures & Technologies), and Astrid Wunsch (Expert Strategic Design Consultant, SAP) to discuss design trends and visions. They all agreed upon the role of leadership in UX. A business culture of innovation is the basis for turning a UX vision into reality. UX as a mindset can only be successful if it is holistic, transparent, and agreed upon.
As one of the most influential UX trends, the omnichannel device approach with a focus on virtual tools was identified. Here, the current home office situation provides a new level of opportunity to change. Does physical distancing mean alienation? It surely can, but it also highly equalizes the distance between geographically dispersed employees and reduces travel. Nevertheless, Alex stressed, the personal connection to end users is as important as ever.
Check out the SAP UX Summit webpage and recordings (internal only).