Creating a mobile app that fulfills organizations’ broad ranges of HR needs is challenging. But in today’s world in which mobile devices have become downright essential and people use apps every day to complete their day-to-day tasks, there are considerations over and above whether the app enables access to HR processes and tools.
Our developers must go beyond understanding what people want in terms of HR service delivery in the palm of their hands, to how they interact with and experience the app itself. App user experience is a critical factor in whether the app will be used and incorporated into an employee’s daily work life. But how do you provide comprehensive access to everything someone needs, while also delivering this access in an easy-to-use, enjoyable package? How do you elevate an enterprise app to the level of the consumer apps people enjoy and use regularly?
Thankfully, our developers don’t need to answer this question alone. SAP SuccessFactors is partnering with Google to incorporate SAP Fiori style elements into our Android app in a way that follows Google’s Material Design guidelines and looks and feels uniquely SAP. The end result will be a completely redesigned Android app that works seamlessly and natively with the Android operating system, giving our Android users a comprehensive HR app experience on par with the consumer tools they use every day.
This is not a simple face lift for our Android app. We pursued a similar redesign in 2017 for our iOS app and are applying learnings from that experience as well as inspiration from other popular Android apps to bring new innovations in our design. Examples of how we are delivering these new experiences include the following.
All Android apps have a standard navigation mechanism: the menu, which Android developers refer to as the Nav Drawer. The Nav Drawer is accessible by tapping on the 3 bar icon in the upper left corner of the app. It’s simple enough, but a drawback to this approach is that a user typically cannot see information or menu items related to a feature until they’ve navigated to that feature. We have also received feedback from our iOS users that the tabs across the bottom of the screen can be similarly restricting, noting that the To Do’s tab is especially confusing when the user has no To Do’s to act upon. In short, employees need access to information front and center, without the added step of having to navigate to different screens and locations within the app to see what that information is.
To improve on these issues, we’ve designed the new Android home screen using a card metaphor borrowed from the YouTube and Google apps. Each card is a representation of a feature with important and useful information. For example, the Timesheet card shows how many hours of your work day have been recorded. The Time Off card shows your current time off balance and the date of your upcoming time off event. In addition to this, we’ve included Action Buttons on each card so that the most common actions can be initiated directly from the home screen rather than forcing the user to enter various parts of the app to get things done. The result is an app experience that is intuitive, easy and reflective of the user experience in other well-used Android apps.
The organizational learning industry as a whole is shifting from formal top-down assignments and compliance trainings toward user-driven, skill-improvement-based training. As a result, learning developers need tools that inspire employees to delve deeply into the content they have designed, driving an experience that pushes employees to want to learn and improve. These tools need to be engaging and fun—a simple catalog of learning courses is no longer sufficient to pull people in. And, since the world is increasingly on-the-go, these tools need to be mobile as well.
We took inspiration from apps like Netflix, YouTube and Spotify to deliver learning content in an engaging way. Our Android app will now showcase learning content, bringing forth the most critical information a learner needs to determine whether or not they should devote time to a specific course. This is in addition to other beneficial touches, like remembering when a course was last accessed and where the employee dropped off the next time they log in, providing a seamless experience that enables anytime, anywhere learning from the mobile device.
These and other enhancements to the Android SAP SuccessFactors app are being delivered in the August and September 2018 releases. As we learn from our customers and our consumer-grade partners, we will continue to innovate across iOS and Android in creating exceptional, impactful mobile HR experiences for your people.
Martin Cheng is director of Product Management for Mobile at SAP SuccessFactors.