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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert

Last update: March 2024


User research provides an essential foundation for the user experience (UX) of any successful digital transformation: Designing without user research is guesswork. Along with SAP’s user research community both expert knowledge and a demand for upskilling are growing. Thus, this blog provides a structured overview of methodological pieces, expert insights, and success stories. Also, find answers to the most-searched-for questions about user research.

What is user research?

There are very few definitions in literature about user research. Mike Kuniavsky (Observing the User Experience: A Practitioner’s Guide to User Research, 2003) defines user research as “the process of understanding the impact on an audience” to design products that meet customer needs. According to the ISO definition 9241-210:2019, user experience includes “the users’ emotions, beliefs, preferences, perceptions, comfort, behaviours, and accomplishments that occur before, during and after use.”

In the context of business software, user experience research is a systematic approach to find out how processes, products, and services work in everyday life. Insights about the users’ needs and expectations help to make informed design decisions and enhance the user experience.

Why do we do user research?

Investing time and money in user research benefits all parties involved: product, user, and business. Incorporating numerical data and deep knowledge about the end users’ behaviors, needs, and wishes in an early stage of the development process avoids costly adaptations, tweaks, and escalations later on. This goes hand in hand with an improved user experience of the product.

What are types of user research?

User research follows two goals- When creating a completely new solution, product, or design, user research should start before a single line of code is written to inform the product direction via field and market research,

When conducting user research for enhancements, the focus is on uncovering further requirements and improving the user experience.

Whereas qualitative research produces descriptive data and focuses on opinions, problems, reasons, and motivations, quantitative research results in numerical data that can be measured and analyzed more easily. The best kind of user research brings both quantitative and qualitative data together to provide product teams with a 360 view of user needs.

What’s the SAP User Research Panel?

Via a new database, the SAP User Research Panel, SAP users can now express their interest in participating in research projects to take part in selected studies. Daily workflows and business processes can then be simplified and optimized in direct collaboration with SAP’s product teams. If you are an SAP user, join here – easily, safe, and non-binding!

What are user research methods?

Selecting the right method for your research question is critical to uncovering insights. To find the research method that fits your project’s current needs, reflect on two questions: Where are you in the product development lifecycle? What kind of information do you need once the research project is complete? The graphic below gives an overview of the 14 most practiced user research methods at SAP and their typical placement within the design-led development process.



During the Discover phase, user research focuses on learning about stakeholder and end user requirements, such as their responsibilities, tasks and activities, typical use cases, workflows, and the use of other software and artifacts needed to perform their jobs. In the Design phase, different methods are available for the validation of low- and high-fidelity prototypes. In the Deliver phase, usability benchmarking and surveys help to evaluate the product.

What does user research include?

Any user research project includes planning, preparation, conduction, analysis, and synthesis. The details depend on the selected method. However, there are a few points that will decide whether your user research project will be a hit or miss.

    • Goal setting: Before starting any user research project, clear goals needs to be defined (What do you actually want to find out? And how will this information you collected help you make a decision?) Then, the right method can be selected for this goal.
    • Recruiting: You can only empower your team to make good product decisions by including the right test participants. Participants that don’t fit the end user profile might even lead to results that point the product in a wrong direction! The SAP User Research Panel provides SAP product teams a way to easily talk and connect with SAP users through a centralized platform and database.
    • Legal: There are multiple legal requirements to consider, such as privacy when collecting personal data (GDPR), intellectual property of SAP's products, as well as confidentiality and revelation of trade secrets.


User research blog post roundup

At SAP, we have written extensively about user research over the years. It’s a mixture of more recent pieces and oldies but goodies.

User research methods and approaches


Identity-Informed Approaches to User Research

October 2023
The influence of our own identities and perspectives as researchers are both pivotal in shaping the research process and its final outcomes.challenging biases, self-reflection

Why Mid-Fi Matters

October 2023

Get early feedback and make fact-based decisions by using mid-fidelity design techniques along the product development process

design decisions, case study

Your Voice matters: SAP User Research Panel Launch

October 2023
The new SAP User Research Panel connects SAP users directly with product teams to collect feedback, ideas, and wishes.user feedback, practises

Your Voice matters: SAP User Research Panel Launch

October 2023
The new SAP User Research Panel launched at DSAG.user feedback, practises

5 Ways to Advance Your Inclusive Research Efforts

March 2023
This article provides researchers with playbooks and resources to incorporate inclusive research into their work, enabling the creation of inclusive product experiences.inclusive research, research ethics, accessibility

Hitting the benchmark: Ensuring a best-in-class user experience for SAP Fiori tools

September 2021
Regular benchmark and usability testing for SAP Fiori tools is a key part to increase developer efficiency and overall usability of the tooling.SAP Fiori tools, SAP Fiori Elements, SAPUI5, benchmarking, kpi, usability, usability testing

User Research Method Cards: Available for Download

March 2021
This very popular card deck goves on overview of the 14 most used user research methods at SAP.Methods, design-led development, tips and tricks

How A / B Testing Improves Your Product and Service Launch 

July 2020
How to define macro and micro conversions, the difference between multivariate testing and A/B testings, and how to run them.

A/B, conversion rate, customer experience, cx, e-commerce, testing


Defining Target or Test Groups 

July 2020
Recruiting the right participants is crucial for generating valuable results from your testing and research.

Testing, target groups, extreme users, expert users, aspect of time



User research case studies


Sustainable Business: Leveraging User Insights Is Key To Greener Profits

January 2024
How products like SAP Analytics Cloud and SuccessFactors HXM Suite benefit from user insights and user-centricity while aligning seamlessly with modern values and sustainability goalsuser insights, sustainability, green product impact

SAP Product Insights Summit Recap

September 2023
Insights from a two-day SAP internal summit about the impact of user research towards product success, business decision-making, and accessibilityResearch, product and design impact

Self-scheduling on the go: Digitalizing staffing at dm-drogerie markt with projekt0708

April 2022
SAP Gold partner projekt0708 built four SAP Fiori staffing apps together with for dm drogerie-markt. Continuous involvement of end users not only contributed to the development of a successful solution, but also led to its high acceptance.staffing, human resources, SAP Fiori

Testing the Design of the German Corona-Warn-App: Online Studies

January 2021
Only a high adoption rate of the Corona-Warn-App ensures its effectiveness. A view at the online studies conducted to guarantee the best possible UX.

Online studies, mobile app, text comprehension, COVID-19, A/B testing


Remote Usability Testing at SAPPHIRE: Shaping the Future of SAP Products

November 2020
Remote usability testing piloted at 2020’s SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG. 14 product teams tested their applications with more than 130 participants and great impact.

Remote usability testing, data protection, SAP Fiori 3



Basics and benefits of user research


5 Tips to Maximize Your Impact as a User Researcher

July 2023

For outnumbered researchers, it’s all about being intentional when choosing projects

complexities, priorities

Don’t Let Stakeholder Bias Derail Your User Research

April 2023
Common biases that user researchers often face from other stakeholders and provides tips on how to overcome them, for example confusing users with customers, assuming participants need experience with the product, and disregarding research findings. biases, stakeholders, tips

Top 5 Trends in User Research & Insights

July 2022
This article shares five user research trends and highlights that inspire global SAP User Research practice and empower teams with actionable insights that inform and enable measurable product experiences that all people love.User research trends, remote research, mesurement

The Human Touch: The Evolution of Evidence-Based Design

September 2021
With user research as the basis for the success of any product, the discipline has been developing as a science for half a century. A short look at its journey.

ISO norms, definition of usability and user experience


We are not the user: A fish finger case study

June 2021
A humorous fish finger case study that experts sometimes might even use the products they are building, but can’t be considered as the typical, average end users.

Validating assumptions, user centricity, SAP SuccessFactors


Why User Research Is Beneficial for Your Work

April 2021
How user research is being practiced at SAP via customer councils and how the internal UX advocate program brings together team, domain, and UX knowledge.

Customer council, UX advocate program, career in UX


Discover the Unknown – Phase 1 of the DLD Process

March 2017
The Discover stage of the design-led development process and its three steps explained: Scoping, research, and synthesizing.

Design-led development, discover, persona, user interview, business role



Design-thinking and prototyping


How early prototyping helps create better experiences

August 2021
Prototyping is necessary for usability testing, but it can be extremely impactful even before that. This blog shares tips on how to get the most out of prototyping as a UX team.

prototyping, team engagement, UX uncertainties


Swimlane Diagram – a great tool for research, design, development and as communication tool

April 2021
The Swimlane Diagram helps to communicate a product’s vision, serves for quality and training purposes, helps to clarify responsibilities, and reveals inefficiencies and gaps. Find out how to create a Swimlane Diagram and how to work with it.

Key interactions, milestones, goals, motivations



User research: Behind the scenes at SAP Design


'UX' is incomplete without the crucial 'U': A User Research Fellowship Experience at SAP Design

March 2024

Experiences of a fellowship of Tamas Kovacs.

fellowship, career in UX, personal insights

The Power of Product Insights

September 2023

How SAP utilizes data-driven product insights to create user-centric experiences for future readiness

data driven insights, research for Concur

6 Questions about 22 Years of User Research Expertise

April 2023
After 22 years, SAP User Research Expert, Bernard Rummel has retired. He highlights his contributions to the development of user research methods and the introduction of tools for remote usability testing and recruiting at SAP.Career in UX, personal insights, user research development

Behind UX and SAP Design: Palo Alto

June 2021
Dan Watters is the lead for the user research team in Palo Alto. Find out how he and his design colleagues contribute to an improved user experience and what he enjoys working on in particular.

Working and cultural life, UX and design colleagues, personal takes on UX design


30 Days in the Shoes of a User Researcher

August 2020
To see how user research works in practice, Monisha Pattanaik exchanged her role as a user researcher for a month and shared her valuable insights.

Challenges of user research, user journey maps, validation


“I Love the Surprise Factor”: Lilia about being a User Research Trainer

July 2020
User research trainer Lilia Ungefug has been awarded the Trainer of the Year ’19 by SAP Development Learning. In an interview, she shared her insights as a trainer.

Career in UX, personal insights, user research versus usability testing



Further resources

If you are an SAP user, join the SAP User Research Panel to actively influence your user experiences for both unreleased and existing solutions.

For internal information about training courses, templates, tools, and much more, please join the User Research Portal.

To learn more about the SAP Fiori user experience, please visit the community topic page.