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Recommendation for Structuring Roles, Spaces and Pages in the SAP Fiori Launchpad Based on Common User Behaviors

Spaces and pages in the SAP Fiori launchpad have been available for quite some time now. To help you define them, we have put together a set of recommendations. They are based on our research across many customers on how users typically use the launchpad and how they usually search and access content.

The Idea

The main idea behind spaces and pages is to allow users to consume the content of the launchpad in an easier and more structured way. For new users in particular, the benefit of a good default layout of spaces and pages is that they can quickly get an overview of the main apps which are relevant for their work context.

On top of that, if the pages are designed together with the business team, this encourages user adoption. The reason for this is that all users in the team understand the value of using the same pages for accessing their main work activities, and the business intention behind each page.

Accessing Content

In addition to navigating within the spaces and pages, users can browse and access additional content via search, the “All My Apps” menu or the App Finder.

From all those options which are available for accessing additional content, we learned that search is the approach which is used the most frequently.

Accessing additional content is particularly useful for expert users who may have access to additional apps they use to resolve exceptional business situations. And here is our first recommendation.

Recommendation: Make Use of a Good Naming Convention for Business Catalogs

A good naming convention for business catalogs aids discovery of additional content in the default Catalog tab of the App Finder and the “All My Apps” menu, accessed via the Home navigation button (as shown in the following screenshot). Business catalogs act as sub-collections of related apps within a business role and can be seen in the left-hand pane of the Catalog tab in the App Finder and the “All My Apps” menu.

Recommendation: Offer a “Favorites” Page

From surveying customers currently using the classic home page we learned that many users like to personalize which apps they wanted to see on their start page – they typically define their own My Home group containing all their favorites. This leads to the following recommendation:

Give each user a dedicated “Favorites” space with one empty page as their start page. This will allow them to create their own entry page, showing their favorite apps. If they want, they can group these into sections, too. This is helpful for all users, and in addition, makes it easier for users familiar with the classic home page to move to spaces.

In order to make this “Favorites” page their start page, put the space to which it belongs at the very beginning of the space menu. The spaces are ordered via their space IDs, and by making use of this knowledge you can define the ID of the “Favorites” space so that this space will be displayed at the very beginning. The SAP Note SAP Fiori Spaces: How to sort spaces via technical keys explains this in detail.

Even though it is possible to actively search for specific content via search or also via the integrated search capabilities in the App Finder, browsing and finding content is a cumbersome endeavor if there is too much of it. It is even more laborious if you need to do this for apps you use every day or even every week. This leads us to our next recommendation.

Recommendation: Limit the Number of Business Roles per User

Keep in mind that users need a way to browse their content efficiently. The spaces approach is designed so that each user receives a space for each of their roles, giving them access to the most important applications needed for their work in that role. A large number of roles leads to a large number of spaces with a correspondingly large number of apps overall, which will be difficult to browse through.

From a user’s perspective, 1 to 5 roles are ideal. For new users, a space for their main business role, and a space for Employee Services or Manager Services has been proven to work well for some customers we surveyed. You can add more roles as their knowledge grows or their working needs change.

For business experts with a lot of roles and needing many apps, putting all the content from those business roles on spaces and pages is not beneficial for the users. Too many pages and tiles are overwhelming and make for a lot of visual “noise”. So, the spaces and pages for each role should focus on the major activities for the role.

Recommendation: Provide Well-Structured Spaces and Pages

These are the best practices for structuring spaces and pages:

  • 1 space per role
  • 1-5 pages per space
  • 2-5 sections per page
  • 3-7 apps per section, but ideally not more than 25 apps for the whole page

When adding apps to pages, you should only provide the most important or frequently used apps for the role at hand. Remember that providing spaces and pages to your users should support them in easily finding and accessing their most important content for the roles to which they have been assigned.

Recommendation: Consider Performance

A lean launchpad is easier to navigate, and quicker to load. This is especially true for supervisor and managerial roles, where you are most likely to include dynamic data tiles such as Smart Business KPIs on your page. A few well-chosen KPIs help your managers focus on maintaining key thresholds. For example, keeping within their allocated budget, or reaching sales revenue targets. Each KPI comes at a small performance cost of an additional call to retrieve current KPI data, which quickly sums up to a high workload on the servers. So, while useful and while this data is temporarily cached to minimize these data calls, the number of dynamic data tiles should be kept to the essentials.

The guidelines outlined above, to give users a small number of business roles, is based on learnings from many customers: most users actually only use a very small number of applications, and generally never need access to a large number of applications. The spaces approach has been built based on this understanding.

In the current implementation, the time to load a page depends on the total number of applications – including both SAP Fiori apps and classic User Interfaces – assigned to a user via launchpad catalogs, i.e. the total number of applications that can be selected in the Catalogs tab of the App Finder, via search, or via the “All My Apps” menu. Therefore, you should limit the total number of applications assigned.

Be aware that the total number of applications assigned is independent of the number of tiles available to the user on pages. As a general guideline, the number of tiles available on pages is expected to be a subset of the total number of applications available in the Catalogs tab of the App Finder, search, and the “All My Apps” menu.

If there is a need to assign a very high number of applications, a user can be given access to classic User Interfaces via the classic SAP Menu and User Menu in the App Finder as well. This is a further option in an on-premise or Private Cloud Edition system.

Recommendation: Take a User-Centric Approach to Testing

When testing, test from a user-centric view. That is, create test users that mimic how your solution will be deployed to real-world users.

For example, you could take a sample user who is a Purchaser who also needs to access some Employee Services and create a test user that mimics how the solution will be deployed to them. While you may not have the capacity to do this for every business role, you should consider doing this as a minimum for your most important business roles where high user adoption is critical to achieving strategic business outcomes.

This user-centric testing approach has several major advantages:

  • You can confirm how your solution will appear to real users, including the launchpad layout and launchpad features
  • You can verify that users will be able to access all the content they need
  • You can verify authorizations that users will need to access their applications
  • You can verify app and launchpad features that depend on specific user authorizations, for example:
    • which cards appear in an Overview Page
    • which links appear in a Smart Link dialog
    • which apps are listed in a Related Apps button
    • which buttons appear in a List Report
    • which business objects appear in search
  • You get a realistic assessment of performance under real-world conditions, which can help you focus any mitigation efforts
  • You can use your test user(s) for walkthroughs and other user communications to encourage user adoption and gain acceptance from your business stakeholders and project sponsors.

You should avoid creating mega-users that are assigned to every application possible, or even to every application in a specific Line of Business. To a technical person, using mega-users may superficially seem a convenient approach to test everything, equivalent to “SAP_ALL” users common in many SAP Business Suite projects. In practice, the mega-user approach brings many distractions that complicate your project significantly, such as:

  • Navigation confusion – a bewildering array of tiles and links
  • Authorization confusion – segregation of duties issues causing unnecessary concern for auditors and regulators
  • Feature confusion – far more features showing than expected causing unnecessary authorizations rework
  • Unrealistic performance issues – slow launchpad loading times

These distractions typically result in a lot of unnecessary diagnosis and troubleshooting efforts that make little difference to your actual deployment.

Summary

Now let me end by going back to where I started: the main idea behind spaces and pages is to allow users to consume the content of the launchpad in an easier and more structured way. For new users in particular, the benefit of a good default layout of spaces and pages is that they can quickly get an overview of the main apps which are relevant for their work context.

To achieve this, we recommend that you:

  • Make use of a good naming convention for business catalogs
  • Offer a “Favorites” page – as the start page
  • Limit the number of business roles per user – to around 1 to 5
  • Provide well-structured spaces and pages – with 1 space per role, and 1 to 5 pages per space, containing only the most important apps for the given role
  • Consider performance
  • Take a user-centric approach to testing

Spaces and pages should not be another kind of navigation menu containing all the apps available to a user. Remember, users have the means to easily find all the content available to them via search, the “All My Apps” menu and the App Finder. As a further option in an on-premise system, a user can be given access to the classic SAP Menu and User Menu in the App Finder as well. So, as you can see, users never need to find all their apps on pages.

Instead, spaces and pages should be defined to give users easy access to their most important and frequently used apps required by the roles they play in your company.

By following these recommendations, your users will profit from the enhanced layout capabilities in form of a focused entry point for their everyday work.

9 Comments
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  • Hi Sylvia,

    thanks for the great blog post.

    I know this might not be recommended, but in the case that a user has more spaces than the "spaces bar" is able to display, is there a way to change the sequence of spaces?

    Thanks and regards,

    Ridvan

     

    • Hi Ridvan,

      Right now, as an administrator, you can define the order of spaces as described for the "Favorites" space in Recommendation: Offer a “Favorites” Page. This approach can be applied for any space in the space menu. You then need of course to consider the order of spaces for your users before you actually create the spaces, because the order is defined by the space IDs, which cannot be changed after they have been created. As this is a quite laborious approach if you do this for several spaces, we plan to offer the managing of the sort order of spaces as part of the Manage Launchpad Spaces app in one of our next releases. With this the idea is to be more flexible when administering the space order. Please note, that plans might change anytime by SAP.

      For the user on the other hand there is currently no possibility to change the order of spaces.

      Best regards,

      Sylvia

  • Hi Sylvia,

     

    One additional question, considering the performance, is there a general recommended maximum number of tiles pre-assigned to an end user based on rule of thumb? 100?

     

    Thanks,

    Kun

  • Hello Sylvia,

    Thank you for the great post.

    Through section "Recommendation: Consider Performance", I understood that number of applications affects Fiori Launchpad loading performance more than the number of tiles. All applications accessed via Search, App Finder, All My Apps should be limited to improve the performance.

    On the other hand, in my understanding through some blogs and Notes (before Space mode released), it was recommended that the number of tiles shown in Fiori Launchpad at one time should be decreased by: "Tab Bar" option and limiting the number of tiles shown on the Launchpad Home page. If customers want to use applications that were not shown on the Launchpad Home page default, they can access them via App Finder. I feel that the previous recommendations focused on tIles, not applications, mainly. The high number of assigned applications was acceptable.

    According to your post, I wonder if decreasing the number of shown tiles on the page doesn't improve Fiori Launchpad's performance anymore. To do it, I also have to limit the applications including one accessed via App Finder, right?

    Is there any recommendation change from the former implementation (until S/4HANA1909) to the current "Space mode" implementation?

    Best regards,

    Eiichi

    • Hello Eiichi,

      Decreasing the number of tiles from a page has a positive effect on the loading, but the number of tiles that are removed from a page needs to be significant in order to have a positive effect on performance. Only removing 1-2 tiles is barely noticeable. On the other hand, keeping in mind that removing only few dynamic data tiles indeed makes a difference, as they have a higher performance cost.

      The issue with many tiles on the previous classic home page was mainly, because all the tiles were displayed on one single home page, unless you changed the display mode to tab mode. Now, having spaces and pages in place, the tiles of a page are only loaded when the corresponding page is opened. This loading behavior is similar to the one when you switched to the tab mode to show only one group at a time on the classic home page. Therefore, we do not have the option anymore to switch to such a mode, as it is not needed anymore. Thus, this recommendation for the classic home page has become obsolete with spaces and pages.

      Best regards,

      Sylvia

      • Hello Sylvia,

         

        Thank you for your prompt reply. Let me sort it out.

         

        # For classic home page (= before Space and Pages)

        - Recommendation: Avoid showing too many tiles on one home page. To do it,
        - Setting tab mode
        - Making the number of grouped tiles decrease by modifying Catalogs

        # For Space and Pages

        - Recommendation: Avoid assigning too many applications to a user. It is not only a single page, but also All pages, via App Finder, Search, or via the "All My Apps" menu.
        - Removing only a few tiles barely affects performance, except dynamic data tiles.

         

        I feel that Space and Pages function has higher performance than the classic home page. It's great because I and customer often faced Launchpad performance issues. Thanks.

        KInd regards,
        Eiichi Suzuki

        • Hello Eiichi,

          Let me state the last answer more precisely:

          1. For the classic home page, the recommendation that you wrote is perfectly correct. The recommendation is to really show less tiles on the user's launchpad. This could mean e.g. to put less tiles on groups and assign less groups to the user's roles - or to switch to tab mode. However, in the past few years we changed the loading behavior of the launchpad so that the problem with showing too many tiles is not that serious anymore.

          2. For spaces and pages, we need to distinguish between the number of apps that are assigned to a user via catalogs and the number of tiles that are shown on their pages.

          2.a Unlike with the classic home page, the issue is with the number of apps that are assigned to the user's roles via catalogs. This means, here the problem is that apps that are currently even NOT displayed on a user's page lead to performance issues, if there are too many of them assigned to the user.

          2.b Number of tiles shown on a page: When I talked about "removing tiles from a page" in my previous answer, I was not talking about the assigned apps to a user via catalogs, but about the tiles that are added to a page. Having a lot of tiles on a single page (far more than 25) would have a negative impact on performance as well. But this is anyhow not recommended (recommendation: max. 25 tiles per page - at least for the reason to provide a reasonable work context to the user).

          Best regards,

          Sylvia