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How SAP Mobile Leverages SAP’s New Horizon Design 

At SAP, I lead a great team to drive visionary mobile app development. At home, I’m a proud father to two kids who inspire and challenge me with their curiosity, creativity, and eagerness to learn every day. And boy, do they learn fast! As proud as I am, it has not escaped me that, one day in the not-too-far future, our kids will become the workforce. Are we as enterprises ready for them? Do we know what they want and how they will work in the future to help the world run better?

Simply responding to what the new generations want is not enough. It is imperative that we think ahead and revolutionize the modern workplace into something the mobile generations will love, as outlined in our new mobile strategy paper.

Our mobile app suite already has a strong foundation of technology and industry expertise, and our teams are tirelessly optimizing them every day. What really sets our mobile app suite apart, however, is a cohesive suite feeling across all our mobile apps, and the delivery of moments that truly make a difference in the user’s daily life. This is where design comes into play.

Building not just for you, but with you

We are privileged at SAP to have a large community of experts, but no one knows our users better than the users themselves. To come up with a design language that will really take our mobile experience to where we want to be, our User Insights team has conducted a large-scale visual design research not only internally, but also with external end users and customers.

Our central design team then skillfully translated these insights into a beautiful new user interface based on SAP Fiori, which they called Horizon. Horizon then went through extensive qualitative research with a focus on desirability and inclusivity before it was finalized and shared with all product teams to adopt. But we do not stop there – we continue to collect feedback from our customers and users via in-app surveys, so that we can continuously enhance our app suite to meet ever-changing demands of our users.

(Find more about how our central design team transformed research insights into the beautiful “Horizon” in this blog post).

Horizon in its element: SAP Mobile Start & SAP Ariba Shopping

Design is more than cool fonts and eye-catching colors. Given SAP’s extensive solution portfolio, a delightful user experience relies on a cohesive, intuitive, and user-centric design across platforms that really simplifies enterprise apps for professional users. As pioneers in the mobile enterprise, we have made two of our native mobile apps early adopters of Horizon.

SAP Mobile Start is the native entry point to SAP’s mobile experience and thus makes a great candidate for an early adopter of a new, cohesive look and feel across platforms. The app offers a simple and elegant way to access SAP's intelligent app suite and persona-tailored content, allowing users to stay ahead of business-critical alerts, enjoy immediate access to their apps, and see all important updates at a glance.

Given that our typical user’s average session time on the smartphone is between 20 and 30 seconds, the mobile team’s challenge was to design for interruption. The new vibrant yet approachable color palette allows the designers to naturally draw the user’s attention to prominent information and urgent tasks, while the enhanced contrast shadows create a feeling of depth to make sure important or actionable elements stand out.

We are also using a sleek new typeface 72 that is easy to consume, helping our users to quickly read critical notifications on their lock screens or even on the small smartwatch face.

(See it for yourself - download SAP Mobile Start: Android | iOS)

Another early adopter is the SAP Ariba Shopping mobile app, which will be released later this year. The app offers a consumer-grade buying experience for the B2B market. Our team conducted intensive user research and concluded that our users want an intuitive and delightful experience, but without compromising on clear product details. This is where Horizon does its magic again. It’s like I would expect in a consumer app: There’s no chunky, irrelevant text – concise product details are easy to read without coming off bulky or cramped.


(Curious about Horizon? Find out more in this blog post)

…“I like the layout. It’s fresh and easy. The colors are good because it’s not overwhelming.”

…“It looks like a big step forward from an UX point of view.” 

…“It looks very nice and easy. Not those long screens when you need to scroll down for a long time.”

I am proud to say the new design of our mobile apps has been very well-received. Nothing makes me happier than hearing from customers how the marriage of a powerful mobile app suite and a fresh approach to user experience makes their work lives easier and more fun daily.

This is just the beginning of our journey towards an outstanding mobile experience. One thing I never get tired of emphasizing is this – we put people at the heart of our business, and we embark on this journey notjust for you, but together with you. So let us know your thoughts on our new mobile app suite experience.

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