How SAPUI5 could bring together consultants and developers
We just finished SAPUI5 month, and, hopefully, for every developer out there it was an exciting and perhaps challenging month (assuming you took on the ‘Testing UI5 apps with wdi5’ challenge). If not, and you are still new to the topic and not yet sure if it is something worth digging into, then I highly recommend you watch Volker Buzek’s video: Should I learn SAPUI5?
But…what about the non-developers?
The SAP community does not equal developers. There are also consultants, administrators, and other SAP enthusiasts. How about them? What significance did the UI5 month play for them?
Sadly, the answer is: none. Most consultants I talked to were completely clueless about this. Which led me to ask myself: what can we do – as UI5 developers – to improve this? How can we teach the possibilities of UI5 to our non-developer colleagues?
‘Why would we do that?’ you might ask…
Well… in my experience, most custom UI5 applications are built by small teams. This means there is no UX expert to make sure there is good design and that the Fiori guidelines are followed. It is usually left to the discretion of the consultant that writes the functional specification. If you – the UI5 developer – are lucky, you might be brought onboard at an early enough stage that you would be able to influence the design.
Hopefully, this answers the ‘why’.
So, how do we do that?
To answer these questions – or at least attempt to – I reached out to fellow SAP Champion and university professor Simha Magal. We had a long discussion about the possibilities of UI5, the improved user experience in standard SAP ERP ‘transactions’, and how he is keeping his students motivated to learn and think outside the box.
Watch the discussion with Simha and I.
We agreed that from a ‘technical’ point of view, any consultant can visit the UI5 page to play with most of the standard available controls, or scroll through the Fiori guidelines. Yet in real-life projects, most skip these steps, which leads to bad design and, ultimately, unhappy users.
How can we motivate non-developers to get interested in UI5?
One topic I’m a big fan of is the Fiori Makers community. In short, people submit custom made UI5 applications and the SAP Design team reviews them. During a <1 hour online call they present the use-case, the design process, and the thinking behind. It is both very instructive and entertaining to watch.
You can find out more about it here: https://community.sap.com/topics/fiori/makers
I went further and contacted SAP Mentor and leading UI5 expert Wouter Lemaire. I asked him to share with us some of the tips and tricks he uses to collaborate with the business/process consultants in his projects. Here is a part of his answer (Thanks again Wouter!):
“First, I introduce them to the Fiori UX guidelines. This is the best starting place for everyone to understand the possibilities of UI5/Fiori. Second, I show already existing apps and make them aware of consistency and harmonization within the company.
Besides all of that, I try to be involved from the very beginning. I try to understand the needs of the business and think together with them. Show them how we solved similar requests in the past with already existing applications or with demo apps on the UI5 website.”
He also gave me this quote which I think fits really good as sort of a conclusion to this:
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
(seems to be attributed to Benjamin Franklin)
It’s up to you!
Now I ask you: how do you teach the possibilities of UI5/Fiori within your company/projects?