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SAP: Why so bad at 'Human Factors'?

This item is aimed at the SAP employees who monitor this forum. My comments are not related solely to this site (if only that were the case) but are applicable to it. If there is a more suitable forum in which to raise these comments please let me know.

It is an endless source of amazement, and considerable frustration, to me that an organization as large and successful as SAP can develop such sophisticated software yet consistently neglects what are often termed 'Human Factors' -- the interface, usability, and documentation.

A good illustration is the simple 'Search' function, which is implemented completely inconsistently even within a single product. On a given screen there is seldom any indication of whether partial strings are recognised, whether wild-cards are permitted, whether the function is case sensitive, values entered in a field before pressing F4 may or may not be retained. As a result it can take many attempts to find a value (or feel confident it does not exist). Multiply this by the millions of people using SAP software and the inefficiency is mind boggling.

I could go on, and am willing to do so, but I think these shortcomings are self-evident to anyone who has used the software. So what is SAP's position on this? Are there any plans to address it? In early 2000 I heard Hasso Plattner talk about the problem; 'Enjoy SAP' has come and gone. What happened?

26 Feb..

... new forum software is a big improvement, I can even fix the typo in the title!

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  • author's profile photo Former Member
    Former Member
    Posted on Jan 05, 2004 at 01:29 PM

    .. add 'Last Post Date'

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  • Posted on Jan 19, 2004 at 04:36 PM

    Hi Robert,

    Thank you very much for your feedback and sorry for not answering earlier. Yes it is the right forum within SDN to raise this question.

    As you said SAP is a large organization, it is not easy to get consistency throughout all applications, but we are continually working on improving our user interfaces.

    For example, check out the following article about our new Web Dynpro user interface technology and "pattern-based" user interface design initiatives: http://tinyurl.com/3xpdf These initiatives particularly aim at standardizing user interface components like "search" so that they can be applied consistently across applications.

    We are happy to discuss your ideas in more detail and will contact you within the next days.

    All the best, Mark.

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