|Books & People|
|What is the SAP Design Guild?|
German Version • This article has also been published in SAP INFO Online
The SAP Design Guild is a Website that provides information and resources for designing user interfaces and ergonomic software. It reflects SAP's commitment to placing the user at the center of software development.
SAP AG has had an online voice in the world of graphic and user interface design for over four years. This voice is the Website SAP Design Guild. It provides background information on the user-oriented design of SAP, training opportunities, and current information about events and new books, for instance. This specialist site has been well received by users. More than 700 subscribers from 40 countries have signed up to the monthly "SAP Design Guild" newsletter. Most of the site's users are from the US and Germany, followed by India, Canada, the UK, and France. Different industries are represented, in particular IT consultancy, electronics, software, energy, higher education, and (Web) design.
The SAP Design Guild was originally the brainchild of SAP co-founder Hasso Plattner. He wanted to provide customers with online information on SAP's design resources. This idea was a result of the "EnjoySAP" initiative of the late 1990s, which, under the slogan of "SAP software works the way I do", improved the ergonomics of corporate solutions and introduced a new aesthetic into software design. The idea of the SAP Design Guild was to provide a pool of ideas for designers. In October 1999, members of the Usability Engineering Center and the Product Design Center traveled to their design partner, frog design, in Austin, Texas, to devise a concept for the Website. The experts collaborated in developing a prototype and devised the first content. Six months later, in April 2000, the SAP Design Guild went online.
Figure 1: SAP Design Guild in 2000
The "Resources" make up the "stable" area. This section provides a permanent collection of publicly accessible SAP information resources on the topic of design. New versions of the "Editions," on the other hand, are published twice a year. Each edition contains a number of articles that concentrate on a particular topic. The most up-to-date section is the "Community," which is updated weekly. This provides an events calendar and book reviews, plus reports on conferences, projects, or design issues.
There are two versions of the SAP Design Guild: external and internal. In contrast to the external edition, the internal version contains additional information and style guides that are intended for internal use only and have not yet been approved for general circulation. "User Productivity Online," which was set up recently, is another, purely internal Website on the SAP intranet that supplements the information provided by the SAP Design Guild.
Figure 2: SAP Design Guild 2004
The "Resources" form the core of the SAP Design Guild, and are also the most popular section. This section contains guidelines and style guides that SAP has drawn up for topics such as visual and user interface design.
This section is subdivided into eight categories:
Around twice a year, an "SAP Design Guild" edition appears on a specific topic to do with visual and user interface design. Each edition contains between ten and twenty articles by internal and external authors, including prominent personalities from the design scene, such as Karen Holtzblatt, Steve Calde – a colleague of Alan Cooper – John Seely Brown, Dan Woods, and Abraham Bernstein.
The editorial team is currently working on the eighth edition of the SAP Design Guild, which is devoted to "User Productivity". This edition will deal with topics including the "User Productivity" department at SAP, which is in charge of ensuring that users can work with the software as productively as possible.
The earlier editions are collated in an easily navigable archive, enabling them to be accessed at any time. They deal with the following topics:
The "Philosophy" section – initially part of the SAP Design Guild – was included as "Edition 0". It contains seminal articles by Karen Holtzblatt and Hugh Beyer from Incontext, Steve Calde from Cooper, and Hartmut Esslinger from frog design on subjects such as methods of software design. The texts reflect the "EnjoySAP" spirit out of which the SAP Design Guild was born.
The "Community" was the last section of the current SAP Design Guild site to be added and is also the most frequently updated part of the Website. Here users can find a wide range of information offerings they can also contribute to themselves:
Figure 3: Christine Wiegand and Gerd Waloszek
The SAP Design Guild reflects SAP's commitment to user-friendly solutions, and the information Website has acquired a good reputation in the design world. The Website attracts beginners and students as well as professionals. The lively feedback from visitors provides encouragement for the editorial team and gives it helpful suggestions for ways to improve the site.
Inquiries to the editors of SAP Design Guild