Comparison - SAP Fiori UI5 and SAP Screen Personas : The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

July 9, 2017

SAP provides two paths to a delightful user experience (UX)

SAP Fiori UI5 apps and SAP Screen Personas are two ways to achieve the SAP Fiori user experience.

  • The Fiori UI5 UX strategy aims to transform the transactional operational model to a role-oriented one
  • SAP Screen Personas simplifies scenarios not yet covered by Fiori applications or for your custom transactions

UI v/s UX

There is a distinction between User Interface (UI) and User experience (UX).

User interface deals with intuitive screen design, screen flow, buttons and colors.

User experience deals with how users feel when they interact with the technology. It includes integration between processes, people and technology

Example:  Uber

  • Intuitive screen design to call a ride from your mobile phone  > Great UI
  • You can walk out of your ride without using your mobile phone >  Great UX


SAP provided technologies (Fiori UI5, Personas) can be used to improve UI for screens as part of organization’s UX improvement initiative. Here is a perspective of each technology.

1. Fiori UI5 apps:

The Good:

  • Role based development
  • Develop once, use on any device i.e. Mobile phone, tablet and desktop
  • Develop based on your need (independent of existing SAP transactions)
  • Leverage SAP Fiori Launchpad to personalize landing screen
  • Fiori design is the future UI for all SAP products
  • Dynamic search functionality
  • Smart tiles with analytical annotation

The Bad:

  • High cost of development
  • Different approach for development compare to traditional development (Design thinking)
  • Need to provide complete “end to end functionality” for designated roles otherwise users ends up in two different user interface (Fiori and SAP GUI)

The Ugly:

  • High cost of change (develop once and develop right)
  • Easy to deviate from SAP’s Fiori design guideline

Bottom line:

  • Great for complex business process. High development cost. High UX improvement. Long term approach.

2. SAP Screen Personas

The Good:

  • Modify existing transactions (standard and custom) > Keep existing business logic
  • Easy to simplify > remove fields
  • Relatively easy to beautify screens by applying themes
  • Great screen editing interface for screen editing and great libraries for JavaScript
  • Great for simplifying display transactions
  • Can be integrated with the Fiori Launchpad

The Bad:

  • Limited to SAP GUI transactions (Very difficult to combine different edit transactions on one screen > It gets ugly pretty fast)
  • JavaScript can be used only for front end development i.e. SAP GUI for HTML screen
  • Limited to fixed screen-size per theme (You need to create flavors for every screen size. Development time multiplies with every flavor)
  • Every transaction needs flavor (i.e. Three flavors for MM01, MM02 and MM03). Multiple flavors if you are creating different variants for different users groups

The Ugly:

  • For edit transactions it gets ugly to merge fields from multiple tabs esp. grids
  • It gets even uglier if you have mandatory fields on different tabs
  • Must have ABAP expert and JavaScript developer for any meaningful automation or screen development
  • Numbers of scripts and flavors can get out of hand very quickly
  • Screen can look like Fiori screen but will not provide intuitive UI functionality available for Fiori UI5

Bottom line:

Great for simple transactions and linear business process. Limited development efforts. Limited UX improvement gain.

3. Hybrid approach:

Improve UX by implementing Fiori UI5 and SAP Screen Personas

  • The man who chases two rabbits, catches neither. ~ Confucius
  • If you “the organization” wants to chase two rabbits, setup two different teams and send them to chase one rabbit each ~ Confucius 3.0
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