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author's profile photo Lutz Rottmann

Am I the last one using SCN / SAP Community on a PC?

Hi all,

Just seeking advice or a short comforting virtual hug...
Probably I am using the new SAP Community the wrong way or I am just an old fashioned minded kind of usability dinosaur?

I am lost on virtually empty pages and already getting arthrosis in my scroll wheel finger. There is no valuable content without scrolling on my 22" (1680x1050) screen for a community (the Featured Content section is cut off at the bottom):

  • Loads of unused empty space
  • large fonts
  • useless large iconic pictures
  • Need to scroll down to 4th page to reach the essence: the questions area
  • Maximum of four entries in a content list:

So simply no chance to get a quick overview on what is new to a certain subject (or tag or community, still in learning mode with this).

I loved the old entry pages where "everything" was packed on the entry screen of a subject or maximum af two page scrolls away.

My feeling is that my productivity is down by 95% because of the complete loss of overview.

Any recommendations on how I could improve my way of using it?

Please share best practices! Thanks

Edit - October 27.10.2016 8:00 CEST:

Please be aware that this contribution was originally posted on 11.10.2016 and stuck in the moderator queue for 15 days before it was released on 26.10.

Thanks, Lutz

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  • Oct 26, 2016 at 06:57 PM

    Welcome to the new SCN! iSCN? ;)

    Yeah, it's not you, it's the platform. And you are not alone with the hope/wish/demand for less white and more content.

  • Oct 26, 2016 at 07:45 PM

    It's you and everybody else. My "SCN productivity" is also way down. White spaces plus everyone and their brother using ABAP tag (that's the whole other story).

    However, if you go to MSDN, for example then, sadly, you'll see a very similar picture. Yikes!

    Unfortunately, I don't know any workarounds for this since zoom makes the smallest text unreadable. Hopefully, the email notifications will be back soon and maybe it'll provide some relief.

    As a side note - blogs don't look very good on the mobile devices either because when you open a blog all you see is that ginormous useless header and you have to scroll for the actual text.

    • Oct 27, 2016 at 12:43 PM

      I like the comparison between this new SCN and MSDN.

      Microsoft at least use aspx, dynamic pages. Here "we" have html, and It is proven that if you want to change something, you must do so in every html page of the new SCN site. (Check here)

      So sad.

    • Oct 27, 2016 at 12:57 PM

      that MSDN page looks way too busy compared to what we have here ;)

    • Nov 03, 2016 at 11:33 AM

      But it looks soooo prettttyy!

  • Oct 27, 2016 at 04:33 AM

    You are not alone - here is a link to a discussion in the early Open Beta stages (the topic paged looked slightly different, but you already got the new site look&feel: Other than skipping the topic pages completely and using direct links for Q&A, there is not much that you can do. You could try to resize and reposition elements with greasemonkey/ tampermonkey, but it is not worth the hassle - in nearly all cases you will navigate directly to Q&A or blogs.

    I checked the same page in Pale Moon and Firefox ESR - the featured content is not cut off. Are you using the latest browser version?

  • Oct 27, 2016 at 06:11 AM

    Today my feeling is that this is the outcome of the new design principle "mobile first".

    Unfortunately many designers misinterpret it by perverting it to a "desktop worst" just ignoring power users' needs.

    What a pity!

    • Oct 27, 2016 at 06:18 AM

      My instinct upon noticing new, mobile friendly announcements is to search for those "Are you threatening me!?" Beavis videos to respond with :)

      • Oct 27, 2016 at 06:21 AM

        Some kind of obscenity filter doesn't like 'B*tthead', but gives no indication of it preventing submission of post whatsoever...

    • Oct 27, 2016 at 06:21 AM

      Interestingly, one of the head UX people for SAP talked about the Super Users and said leave them alone. It doesn't matter how clunky their current screens is but if they know what they are doing and aren't complaining then no amount of improvement is going to make them happy. If anything, it'll be a hindrance and frustrate them.

      • Oct 27, 2016 at 06:31 AM

        Leaving them (us) alone would have been a good idea concerning SCN.

        I'm afraid we will have a deja vu when our FI-pros are confronted with their first Fiori UI. I will hear them screaming at their screens like I do with the new community.

        • Oct 27, 2016 at 06:51 AM

          I'm a keen learner of UX strategy for SAP. A cleanup and overhaul was needed. Mobile first sounds great'

          But the gaps/challenge I see (and I guess SAP Community is a victim of them) - a consistent look and feel that is one size fits all. SAP Community ties in with the SAP branding now compared to SCN. All the banners and layouts are confirming. The icons and notifications is like, etc.

          Within SAP, we're see the roadmap of getting users to Fiori. When S4HANA was announced we were told 100% Fiori. Then over time 100% disappeared and we started hearing about changes to bring everything to a consistent look at feel through extending use of personas. A realisation that industry add ons and customer transactions can't be mass converted to Fiori. But prior to that I could see larger sites trying to get everyone to work in Enterprise Portal for one single entry point and consistency. Followed by that it became SAP Business Client (NWBC). But in each case of this uniformity, the Super User would arrive and raise their Incident asking for their SAP GUI access back.

          It's like a lot of us super users out there who like what we had and new our system.

          There is a lot this platform is missing but I choose optimism to see it developed. However, I'm being conscious that I don't complain and ask for a technical like for like replacement without truly looking at the functionality and seeing if there is a better way. This new community will not try to replicate the Jive platform - there's a reason they/we left it. But at the same time we do need to get that balance so it's not a case of change for sake of change or the view of mobile first/simplistic when the technologist out there need details.

          I like that I can run SAP Community via my phone now without major rendering issues. But the trade off is desktop has a lot of whitespace. I'm hoping they find the balance.

          • Oct 27, 2016 at 07:15 AM

            Hi Colleen,

            i keep saying that "mobile first" for a technical space like this is stupid.

            If i've to ask something, show a procedure and so on, for sure i do not do it via my phone or even my tablet, but via my desktop/notebook.

            And this part has been completly forgotten while designing the new community.

            Again, follow any OpenSap course (if i remember well we followed together the lastet Fiori with Jelena too) and you'll get overhelmed by the importance of user feedbacks.
            But our feedbacks were completly ignored during the Beta: just the bugs were take in consideration (and not all of them are still fixed!).

          • Oct 27, 2016 at 07:31 AM

            From my point of view mobile first is no excuse for a bad desktop experience. Today I see it more as a kind of an excuse for poverty of imagination how to satisfy both worlds or perhaps even laziness.

            What I experienced as a good approach when I was involved in UX projects nearly 20 years ago at SAP was to always take care of two different user types and develop personas for them:

            • the long term occasional user who will never want to dig deep into functionality and does not need to develop proficiency and productivity on a seldom executed task
            • the user that will have to work on a task day after day, hour after hour and who needs to be supported in his development from inexperienced starter to a highly knowledgeable, proficient and highly productive expert of a complex business task and his tool set.

            At that time the first one got some ESS/MSS type stuff in the portal. The second one was the target of SAP's "enjoy" projects and follow ups in the GUI. WebDynpro was somewhere in between without clear orientation depending on developers' intentions.

            Today I am more an more missing the presence of the second type of user (persona) all over the place. Everybody seems to focus on the everlasting occasional user while neglecting the complexity of business tasks and the need for experienced (typically more expensive) users' productivity.

          • Oct 27, 2016 at 01:04 PM

            the problem with new UI's replacing old, traditional and those we used to is not that they are new and un-usual - its that often they are not as functional, less user friendly.
            Looks and simplicity in design over functionality is always a bad choice.

  • Oct 27, 2016 at 07:53 AM

    This is what I see on 1050x1680 pivot to portrait display at 110% (to make menu tuck away) zoom - it's OK:

    Unfortunately, I didn't buy pivot to portrait display for home use, so I can't try to join 'em the mobile users yet :)

    scn-portrait.png (155.3 kB)
  • Oct 27, 2016 at 12:23 PM

    I agree. I feel it should be responsive in a way that grid size *and* font size should be different on mobile, tablet and desktop resolutions (and possibly, print).

    Normally, this could be easily solved with CSS @media queries (screen, min-width, max-width)

    For Chrome / Firefox, there are plugins where you can apply a custom stylesheet to specific websites (Stylish / StyleBot / etc) but that's just a temporary, per-user solution

  • Oct 27, 2016 at 12:55 PM

    I feel like everything was made worst just to make new stuff look good on mobile.
    Look over substance.
    marketing at its best/worst.

  • Oct 28, 2016 at 06:58 PM

    I think it is very curious: I tried to use this community again today. But after 15 minutes I had at least 5 tabs opened with only one subject: how this new SCN are making us suffer.

    Maybe, in the future, this will be the only subject.


    • Nov 02, 2016 at 05:48 PM

      I opened ABAP questions but even there we have posts how New SCN sucks and makes everyone miserable. :) There is no escaping the subject.

      • Nov 02, 2016 at 06:07 PM

        You can't blame people for the occasional ranting - 3 weeks since the launch (feels like eternity) and I still use notepad as a backup to post replies... When we have go-live or upgrades, we don't wait for 2-3 weeks to apply bug fixes.

        Looks like this Agile is less agile than Waterfall :)

  • Nov 02, 2016 at 11:42 AM

    I share your sentiment, Lutz. Would that SAP hired a competent specialist in ergonomics and electronic typography to work on their websites. They could start with the classic books by Edward Tufte and Jef Raskin, but they have a very long way to go.

    • Nov 03, 2016 at 08:08 AM

      Well Anton, there are experts on UX at SAP. They are quite a significant number, they are qualified and I had the pleasure to work with some of them. It was a great experience. But this is exactly what makes me worry most and leads to speculation: Why aren't they involved? Are Support Launchpad and Community seen as irrelevant? Or are some relevant managers at SAP back in a "know-it-all" mode?

      • Nov 03, 2016 at 08:49 AM

        That's what amazes me too. If you look at the standard Fiori stuff it's all nice crisp clean and easy on the eyes.
        You would think that they would involve the people responsible for that. Or at least let them review it, now we're stuck with no overview, lots of unused space and a hideous and painful to the eyes colour scheme all of which could've been prevented.

        And then there is the inexplicable focus on mobile friendly. This used to be called SDN, Sap Developers Network. Developers sit or stand behind their desks using a laptop or workstation I have never consulted SCN using mobile and I will wager that that is the case for more than 95 percent of the community.

        Maybe it's all politics, I don't know...

        • Nov 03, 2016 at 11:39 AM

          Even Fiori suffers from legacy design patterns. Why else would buttons be located at the bottom right of the pages? Unless you are reviewing a legal document and signing same, all the scrolling is wasted time to get to a Next or Submit button on the bottom bar. An SAP blind spot in UX.

          Regards, Mike (Moderator)

          SAP Technology RIG

      • Nov 03, 2016 at 10:21 AM

        I don't know... the whole story with the site design puzzles me. Why this is so hard?

        In my country there are yearly competitions between school kids for web programming and site design. I don't know why or how, but these children manage to figure out fonts, colors, menus pretty well. Was it by instinct? Or common sense? Or they just had exceptional teachers? I don't know, but they did a good job.

        • Nov 03, 2016 at 12:34 PM

          Maybe they should have used Microsoft FrontPage 2003?

        • Nov 03, 2016 at 02:07 PM

          Its more than likely no one said to those kids any one of these three things to them:

          "You can't do that"

          "You have to do it this way"

          "You have to use this"

          So they have and see no limitations.

          I think all three of these things were told to the designers in the begining.

          • Nov 03, 2016 at 03:04 PM

            Maybe you are right... sometimes over-complicating things with rules, seminars and guidelines can cloud judgement.

            My nephew tells me that in local public schools nowadays you get more like: "use your own brain or pay for private tutoring".

        • Nov 03, 2016 at 03:44 PM

          I did some reading on the web design yesterday and this is definitely not the "best of breed". Makes me wonder what exactly was "the breed" and what criteria was used to come up with current choices.

  • Nov 03, 2016 at 04:48 PM

    Here is a "solution" with your 22" monitor - Turn it sideways, just like this smiley :) . I highly recommend it. It makes reading Word documents more natural with full page views, coding easier because I can see more of it at the same time, etc.

    And it makes this page a tiny little bit easier. And "flicking" up and down on my Mac's trackpad is way easier than a scroll wheel - If the their standalone trackpad works on a PC (somehow I feel it won't, but worth a shot) you should take a look that too. I hated trackpads until I used a Mac.

    Here is a screenshot of this page from my vertical monitor...

    • Nov 03, 2016 at 09:04 PM

      I thought about this option but the corporate overlords did not provide us with a monitor that can be rotated, unfortunately. :(

      • Nov 04, 2016 at 11:45 AM

        If you have an iPad, you can get DuetDisplay which will turn the iPad into another monitor that can be used vertically. Only, of course if Pointy-Haired Boss will let you install software on your computer.

        • Nov 04, 2016 at 07:41 PM

          Not visiting websites that require such jumping through the hoops seems like a much simpler solution. :)

          • Nov 05, 2016 at 06:27 PM

            Yes, but I earn my living trying to help people jump through hoops a little less; so, I don't mind pointy-haired boss and his company making things hard - oh, wait, did someone call me cynical. I have plenty of stories of decision making or the lack thereof - but, this is not the venue ;)

            KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid. Who you calling Stupid, I am the boss and I will make it as hard as possible for you minions.

  • author's profile photo Former Member
    Former Member
    Nov 05, 2016 at 07:15 PM

    You are not alone. This new site is totally awful.

    Can't find anything. How to find for example all new diskussions about Solman 7.2? The search is not very helpfull...

    It's like removing all folders from a 1TB fileserver, moving everything to only one folder, and tell the people "use the search to find your stuff". Haha. People would kill me.

    I want the old forum back, with clear topics. :(

    • author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Nov 07, 2016 at 05:52 PM

      Well, the idea to discard all the folders is not a bad one. But if the supplied search is only able to find filenames, it's a fail. Especially if a search eingine from outside delivers better results...

      • author's profile photo Former Member
        Former Member
        Nov 07, 2016 at 09:36 PM

        If everything is for one topic, yes, okay, place it in one folder.

        But if you have a site for e.g. a lot very different jobs - no. Only if everything is very well tagged with exactly the right tags, but in a public forum... forget that.
        One person is using "Solman", the other one "Solution Manager", the third one no tag...

        And, remember, SAP is renaming products very often...

        • author's profile photo Former Member
          Former Member
          Nov 08, 2016 at 10:00 AM

          Hmmm... finding synonyms should not be a big deal for a company, which wants to be a big player in big data.

          By the way: No tags are not allowed ;oP (be aware: ironic!)

      • Nov 07, 2016 at 10:16 PM

        Also if someone puts a picture of a cat in the file and tags it as "dinosaurs" then it's kind of a problem too. :)

        • author's profile photo Former Member
          Former Member
          Nov 08, 2016 at 09:56 AM

          Wrong tagging, localizing (in folders) and so on, is always a problem and it was also in the past (old SCN). Don't understand me wrong. I also miss the old SCN sadly. It had a good structure and a for me well presented overview.

          I like tagging, so I looked forward to the new approach, but I'm afraid of the implementation. For me, it doesn't work.

          • Nov 08, 2016 at 07:58 PM

            Yes, choosing a wrong space has been a problem before but now not only one can pick a wrong tag, they can pick many wrong tags. The question volume is still a bit low right now but if it picks up then some popular tags, like ABAP, risk to be flooded.

  • Nov 10, 2016 at 04:49 PM

    I have a touchscreen laptop - I actually find it kind of nice.

  • author's profile photo Former Member
    Former Member
    Nov 11, 2016 at 07:28 AM

    In the Past there was a design principle: Form follows function. Now it is only: Form. Funtion doesn't matter :(

  • author's profile photo Former Member
    Former Member
    Nov 11, 2016 at 09:38 PM

    Dear Lutz - I share every word you wrote. What's interestingly - today I posted own blog and that's how I get here - to code corner. That's the place where SAP sees their users who have a personal opinion and can give a real user feedback.

    Here is my answer on same stuff:

  • author's profile photo Former Member
    Former Member
    Nov 11, 2016 at 10:00 PM

    You know - we had in Russia a similar case. The biggest local internet company Yande decided to improve the UX of the Kinopoisk - IMDB-like site about movies.

    After spending more than 1Mio € it worked only 2 days. That was enough to gather the crowd of unhappy users across the internet. As a result - the project is closed, UI is recovered, And the whole project team was fired. That was a right decision of the top management towards Project members who's even actions reduced the audience significantly.

    The saddest thing - that UI was not so bad as we have it here now.

    Even typing from the IPhone I have issues with not smooth input and wrong cursor positioning, deactivated submit button when emoji is used and so on..

    What I really miss now - nobody answers my questions. I'll say more - nobody views them - the community's is broken

    • Nov 14, 2016 at 10:42 AM

      Yep, the story of kinopoisk came to mind as well, when I saw the new design, already at Beta version.

  • author's profile photo Former Member
    Former Member
    Nov 11, 2016 at 10:15 PM

    And there's no way to edit typos anymore in previous comments. Is this a feature or a bug?)) read carefully and think twice before posting on new SDN.

    • Nov 12, 2016 at 05:37 AM

      Or people can use the browser functionality for spell-checking to avoid typos (I actually use Notepad++ spell-checker, because a month after the go-live, there is no guarantee that you can submit a post successfully).
      Let's call it a design peculiarity for now...

      The SAP team promised to consider providing comments edit functionality also for regular users: Why can I see revisions of my comments but cannot edit them? .
      And #yetanotherbug for this discussion (I am not going to report it; there is no fun, challenge or use in doing that).
      If you look at the whole discussion as it appears by default, you can see the comment in the link above. If you press show more comments, just after Caroleigh's comment, it disappears - nice, huh?
      When I read about members complaining about a missing functionality, I remember Jelena's comment to an old thread in Coffee Corner: Why SAP don't have it's own browser?
      I found no way to create a direct link to her post, so here it is as a screen-shot:

      I was trying to help improve the site since early Beta by providing feedback, but I think it is time to accept the reality...

      jelena-comment.jpg (56.5 kB)
      • Nov 14, 2016 at 07:48 AM

        ...although a spell-checker doesn't help to fix up format issues, particularly as the comment editor does not really offer WYSIWYG...

        But of course deleting one's "first comment attempt" and adding another one is a workaround, so I'm finally glad that deleting my comments is possible.

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