SAP Fiori: Concepts and Best Practices
What is SAP Fiori?
SAP Fiori is a design language and user experience method used to develop SAP business applications.
The SAP Fiori design language is used by SAP applications such as:
- SAP Analytics Cloud
- SAP Data Hub
- SAP Ariba
SAP differentiates between three types of Fiori applications:
- Transactional application—intended to interact with individual business objects (e.g. customers and sales orders), manage a list of business objects, or perform specific business processes (e.g. publishing financial statements).
- Analytics applications—intended to analyze business problems and provide high-level visualization of business processes or key performance indicators (KPIs).
- Fact sheets—intended to display all relevant information about a specific business object in one place.
SAP Fiori Launchpad
The Fiori launchpad is a container that stores SAP Fiori applications, and powers elements like navigation, configuration, and personalization. The launchpad is where users access Fiori apps on their mobile devices or personal computers.
In the Fiori launchpad, there are tiles that allow the user to access different business applications. The tiles can show information like open tasks within the application. Fiori displays tiles according to the user’s role (depending on the role, different tiles are shown).
The launchpad homepage contains tiles to launch applications, and can display other application information as well. Users can personalize their homepage by adding, deleting and grouping application tiles.
The Fiori homepage can be organized using a hierarchy of elements:
- Spaces, which represent work areas
- Pages, which are areas the user can explore inside a space
- Sections, which are groups of tiles in a page
- Tiles, which provide access to a specific application
A Fiori application typically uses the following components:
- Tiles—containers representing applications on the launchpad homepage or work spaces.
- App Finder—lists all the applications available to the user.
- Shell Bar—always displayed at the top of the screen. Provides access to functions such as enterprise search, user-managed menus and notifications, and SAP CoPilot.
- Enterprise Search—allows the user to search for applications and business objects.
- Services—the launchpad provides central services for all Fiori applications, such as navigation between applications, support and user feedback.
Using Images in SAP Fiori
Imagers are an effective way to attract attention and communicate information. You can use image controls to incorporate images into your application. An image is a visual representation of an object or function.
- Responsiveness—image size is adjusted to fit the available space.
- Layout—images can be used in various places in the application, such as list cells and object titles. They can also be used in the main content area.
- Behavior—an image can be connected to an action—most commonly, clicking on the image to zoom in.
Guidelines for effective use of images:
- For accessibility purposes, provide alternative text for each image if the image is not available or cannot be displayed.
- Don’t use placeholder images unless you plan on replacing them with real ones.
- Do not use icons as images. In this case, use the icon font that has over 500 pictographs in a style appropriate to SAP design.
- When saving images, it is very important to choose the right file format. The following formats are supported in all browsers: PNG, JPG and GIF.
- When choosing an image format, always pay attention to the image quality and file size. High-resolution images with unnecessarily large file sizes can significantly reduce page speed. In this case, optimize the image.
Best Practices for Implementing SAP Fiori
Testing is important when implementing new business processes and applications. Pay attention to your organization’s strategy, infrastructure, and user needs. Security is also an important consideration when testing. Testing should be done in stages and should be run on multiple platforms, including Advanced Business Application Programming (ABAP), Fiori Launchpad, and a local sandbox.
Utilize SAP Fiori Launchpad
Launchpad enhances the user’s ability to easily access all Fiori applications from a simple UI. It also provides access to personalization and support. Users can access different information about each application they can run, such as the number of open tasks. The accessibility and visibility of these applications depend on the user’s role, thus avoiding confusion for users, and enabling quick access to all the applications they actually need.
Perform Cross-Browser Testing
During the testing phase, it is important to make sure that the UI works in all major browsers (including Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Internet Explorer). Multiple issues can arise on different browsers, and administrators should be aware of them. Addressing unexpected behavior, performance issues, and other problems on popular browsers allows end users to transition seamlessly to SAP Fiori.
Update SAP Backend Apps
For the most effective implementation of SAP Fiori, the backend application should be updated regularly, even if Fiori core functionality is up to date. Failing to update Fiori will eventually slow down your system and create security holes.
Put Security First
Security is a top priority when implementing SAP Fiori. Mission critical applications that can be accessed via Fiori are often a target for cyber attacks. In addition to maintaining basic security practices (e.g. deleting old accounts), it is also important to use access controls, monitor suspicious behavior, always use secure connections, and encrypt data. Use a firewall whenever possible, consistently manage compliance requirements and implement monitoring services.
In this article I reviewed essential elements of SAP Fiori:
- The launchpad, spaces and other components
- Effective use of images
- Best practices including testing, software updates and security
I hope this will be helpful in designing effective Fiori-based interfaces for your SAP users.