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  SAP
  Building a visual language for over 50,000 screens  
 
 


Included in the SAP R/3 design language were more than 1600 icons.

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MORE ICONS



The core color palette is user adjustable and can change according to the time of day.

 


The application titling
area provides customer branding opportunities.

 

 

THE CHALLENGE
SAP is the world's largest inter-enterprise software company and the world's third-largest independent software supplier overall, with nearly 22,000 employees in over fifty countries. We were contracted originally to do only a simple set of icons and splash screen work for R/3, SAP's main product, an enterprise system software from which a large corporation can run its business. The project grew to include the redesign of all known C++ components and controls. Soon after, the project grew larger to include mySAP.com and SAP.com.

Many industries with manufacturing needs use R/3 — but the software itself, with over 50,000 individual screens, countless widgets for building tables and entering data, along with hundreds of mystifying icons often invented by developers on the fly — needed to be more accessible.


The rippling water animation supports the "Zen" design theme. It also brings the softness of nature to a traditionally impersonal item such as business productivity software.

THE PROCESS
This massive UI design job required the creation of a new visual language to guide SAP's nearly 3000 developers in their effort to create the screens and icons. Developers at frog wrote manuals for SAP on how to implement any further graphic changes, while the frog design team put together the "design implementation cookbook" for R/3 to assist in any future development projects.


Through 3-dimensional rendering, animation and sound, key controls in the interface inherit analog qualities.


THE BENEFITS

The design system created for SAP R/3 is used by all SAP applications. It is infinitely scalable and is usable in all countries and languages. The presence of these traits help unify the SAP software brand worldwide.


The application titling area clearly states the nature of the screen.

 


A messaging area at the bottom of the screen allows for task-specific messaging as well as application-specific status display.

 

 

 

THE RESULT
The frog/SAP relationship is a close one. The design system was implemented and has been a success—users in testing found their task times cut dramatically as they used the newer, easier interface— representing value for the user and value for the client.

 



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