If you have not read part 1 of this topic then I would encourage you to do so as you can gain an insight into accessibility issues around vision impairments and other disabilities such as hearing, cognitive and motility issues.
Part 2 focuses on user experience from a usability perspective as I describe how language, equality and user experience can all be addressed through simple methods within SuccessFactors and help keep users engaged in the system (whether they are employees, candidates, or the public), assisting them in helping to adopt and access HCM Processes.
This is leading more into inclusivity, as we are not determining solutions to help with physical or mental issues, but we are looking at making our system more inclusive for our wide range of employees. Language is important to address, particularly if you are a global company. However, recently we have found that during these difficult times and with home working capabilities increasing tenfold, we could essentially employ anyone of any background (legal responsibilities permitted!).
Language issues can occur for differing reasons. For example, we might hire someone whose first language is not the common language spoken in the country; or someone whose reading level is not as high as others, through no fault of their own. For example, it is estimated 1 in 10 people in the UK has some degree of dyslexia . Additionally, figuring out how to pronounce something (names for example) can be difficult for anyone, particularly when it is a name typical of a country different to the nationality of the user.
There are several ways in which we, as system owners and admins, can assist users with language barriers.
First and foremost, if you are a global company with employees spanning multiple countries then it would be worth installing multiple language packs on your system. These can be enabled through provisioning, so you will need a certified partner or SAP to activate these for you. Once activated, within the ‘Manage Languages’ action, you (admin) can see what is activated and enable them for users if required. Users will then be able to see these and change them within their settings. More information can be found in SAP Note 2576325.
The above may be a lot of work regarding testing and ensuring that processes you run in SuccessFactors are accurately translated, but it will help users feel appreciated and reduce the risk that mistakes happen if the user mistranslates something that is not in their language.
After enabling language packs, you may need to adjust translations to allow for better phrasing that makes sense to your users. This can be done through actions such as Manage Business Configuration, Manage Organization, Pay and Job Structures, and Manage Data. Within these, if the field allows it, you can add translations by (in edit mode) clicking the Globe icon next to the field.
Building on languages, it may also be worth updating the Action Search within SuccessFactors, to allow users to both be able to search for actions but also understand what the action is doing using local language or business specific phrases.
For example, Booking Holiday in the UK vs Booking Vacation in the USA
Adding variations of what users might search for in the action search will aid users in finding the tools they need in the system. This can be done by using the action ‘Manage Action Search’.
You can also aid users in assisting their colleagues and peers. Updating People Profile so that employees can update their Bio, add a voice note on how to pronounce their name or even a welcome video or message is very helpful to colleagues to introduce the employee and help bridge that engagement. To enable these in your SuccessFactors system, go to the action ‘Configure People Profile’ and enable the options within the General Settings.
Finally, for language, more a general tip. HR is a language of its own and can often be confusing itself with its inclusion of legal terms, lengthy processes and convoluted policies which may be interpreted in numerous ways by different people.
Keep language simple, avoid any jargon, slang, or technical words throughout the system. Trial run processes and language with your everyday user to make sure they understand it, even the wording itself. You want your processes to be simple and efficient for the user; they should not need to put much effort into understanding what to do. Otherwise, they may get confused, do something wrong, and with the nature of HR, this may cause unnecessary worry and stress, resulting in more effort for admin or HR to resolve. Help the user to help you.
Moving on we look at Equality and this is not necessarily about accessibility issues but is more about making employees or potential employees feel valued by including content which is relevant to them, or the opposite – removing content which would exclude/restrict them. This is especially important if they have different background characteristics, and for increasing inclusivity associated with the place of work.
How do we assist users with this you ask? Again, with language!
Referring to how your content is phrased, rather than the actual language it is written in. SuccessFactors has several ways in which content is published, from Job Adverts, to learning content, to report stories for example. A key point to make with language is to try not to stereotype.
It is very easy to forget about this as quite often, everyone will subconsciously associate specifics with a certain group of people. A major aspect of this that I see quite often is with Job adverts in recruiting. We often stereotype jobs such as builders, IT developers or electricians with being ‘male jobs’ and will reference this within a job advert description e.g. “He should have a proactive personality and…”. Similarly, nurses, receptionists, carers are often stereotyped as ‘female jobs’ and trigger the same references “She should have qualifications in…”.
By including this within your content you are already restricting who you think should fit the role and discouraging those who do not fit that makeup from even applying. Try to use more generalised words or phrases such as “They should…” or “The candidate should…”.
Similarly, the same can be said with Learning content as you may include stereotypical references or pictures within the content which may frustrate employees/learners. You need to be seen as being forward thinking and this will help to improve equality and opportunities within the workplace.
Think back not so long ago when the UK government advertised a controversial picture giving COVID-19 “stay home” advice, which depicted women in stereotypical household jobs such as domestic chores, whilst the only male in the picture was simply sat down with their feet up. This caused uproar when the infographic went viral and was immediately branded sexist, causing the government to withdraw the advert. A failure to consider equality here shows how passionate people are for equality and inclusivity, and the negative effects that not addressing these can have.
Supporting this is a tool within SuccessFactors called ‘Legal Scan’. This is a tool which enables you to populate a library of ‘inappropriate’ words or phrases which, when activated, it will check against the content you are editing and highlight occurrences, providing suggestions for better options to use. Typically, this would be used for bad words but could essentially be used for any word or phrase you do not want to appear within the system. Legal Scan needs activating in provisioning first so you may need to ask your partner or SAP for this. It is then available to be enabled within any process which uses Forms, such as job profiles (which can be included as advert content), compensation, and performance forms.
Additionally, if you use Recruiting, it is worth looking into the optional upgrade to enable the ‘Job Analyzer’ tool. This tool can be used to check for gender bias (as well as other features) within your job requisitions and make recommendations to help improve the job description and desirability. More information can be found in SAP note 2557520.
Further to the above, a method to improve equality using SuccessFactors is to allow employees to enter equality type data within the system. This can be added to the people profile for users to populate their information, for example, including fields for gender identity, sexual orientation, or ethnicity. Some of these fields are included within the Personal Information > Global Information section of the Employee Profile, but it does not cover everything so it may be worth reviewing and extending these.
SAP themselves also monitor legislation around gender and gender identity and provide implementation design principles and localisations to support these topics, as the remit changes over time and within different countries.
Of course, this is sensitive information so you will need to be careful around permissions and visibility in terms of who can see and access the data, as well as how it appears in reports, otherwise you may be in breach of data protection rules such as GDPR! But by including this detail within your system, you are showing to those employees in a minority that you are a forward-thinking organisation who cares for your employees and is actively interested in diversity. Additionally, it is an opportunity for HR to understand the makeup of the workforce and assess opportunities to do more to help people who may be in specific minority groups.
Usability is focused on user experience, but with user experience you need to consider all users. Therefore, the methods we can use to address usability described here can also help towards the other accessibility aspects previously mentioned in both articles.
One of the simplest ways that we can achieve great usability is through consistency and familiarity. Ensuring that the whole system is consistent in how it looks and the positions of menus and buttons for example will help the user to feel more engaged in using it. This is especially important when thinking about SuccessFactors Recruiting and use of the Career Site Builder which is one aspect of SuccessFactors in which you have more control over the design. For example, if there is a change of background colour or layout between pages, this could prove confusing to the user, they may think they are not on the correct site or even have subconscious negative thoughts as the site may be deemed unprofessional if it is not consistent.
Similarly, keeping key navigational items in the same place helps the user become more comfortable with how to manoeuvre through your site, if the main menu suddenly changes location, or some type of save/submit button is not in its usual spot for example, this can frustrate the user as they are then having to refocus to locate these, even if it is just for a couple of seconds.
Familiarity is key too, where buttons are used, stick with icons or words that are familiar to users through use of other websites. For example, the save button in a lot of systems is represented by a floppy disk icon even though these are largely not in use anymore. This is because that icon is familiar to most users and increases with their use of different systems.
Mobile testing is still often seen as a secondary item in projects even though it is ever increasing in its use and becoming the go to medium over desktop/laptop. Therefore, if you are making use of the mobile application, then it is important to keep this consistent too. There are limited options for updating the mobile application but there is the ability to apply custom theming, so ensure that this reflects the theming on the browser version too. There is also the ability to determine what modules are available on mobile, ensure that this accurately reflects what you want users to have access to, and that there is nothing there which they should not be able to see. These options and more can be found in the action ‘Enable Mobile Features’.
Usability can also be made more efficient by providing guidance within the system. Overall (and in depth) guidance can obviously be created outside of the system for staff to read through at their leisure, but there are also methods within the system that can help.
Firstly, let us talk about Home Page Tours. These are short, guided tours of the home page which trigger when the user first logs on and can be retriggered by the user when needed. You can customise these through the action ‘Manage Home Page’ and clicking on the ‘Manage Tours’ option.
By including this in your system you are letting the user know where the key functions are which are primarily the same in most other modules in the system.
Tours are very easy to set up and are simply a case of creating several steps which highlight a tile on the home page and a short description of what the tile is used for. This is a cost-effective method for providing on-demand guidance and training.
However, please note that these will become obsolete once the new home page becomes active on your system. This is because the new home page is more dynamic and tailored to the user, therefore it does not make sense to include these. This is currently an optional upgrade but is planned to become universal in production instances in the 1H 2022 release and universal in preview instances in 2H 2021 . More information about the latest home page experience, including its features and limitations, can be found on the SAP Help website. Do not let that put you off creating a tour now, such a quick and simple change can have a great improvement on improving the user experience and learning of the system.
Another useful approach to guidance is to include tooltips for items that may be difficult to understand, or to simply provide more information when you do not want to clutter the screen with wording. These are represented by an info icon within SuccessFactors and can be configured in places such as ‘Configure People Profile’, providing descriptions for different blocks.
Finally, providing validation as well as warning and error messages where needed within processes can assist the user to complete the process accurately and more quickly. Users want to know that what they have entered is correct, especially for important pieces of information therefore you may want to add in validation to fields for contact details (Phone number, email address.), Bank Details (Sort Code, Account Number), and generally, when you have important fields, ensuring that they are set as required so they are not missed before the user submits any details.
Warnings and error messages, although they sometimes can be frustrating, are there to guide the user and prevent them from entering any information incorrectly. There is a fine balance between making sure that the process and information on screen is clear enough for the user to understand, and the number of error messages which could appear. You do not want to have too many messages as this could overwhelm users, but equally if the process is important then sometimes it is warranted.
Therefore, when determining these messages through business rules, ensure that they are both needed, but also clear and understandable to let the user know what they need to correct to move on. The benefit of these messages is to save time further down the line if they needed to go back to something to correct it rather than doing it there and then. Although people might find warnings and errors frustrating, they will equally question why the messages were not there when they made the error.
Hopefully, you can see from both articles that there are a lot of items to consider around accessibility and usability, and these are just a small selection of changes that could be made. There are a wide range of aspects out there to consider but by addressing some of the challenges mentioned in these articles with the small, simple changes that can be performed, you are then on the right track to having a more accessible system with improved user experience.
These should not be forgotten about once done for an initial release either! Requirements constantly change or you may add more functionality into your system that needs to be addressed with the same principles. It is useful to have a governance framework surrounding user experience in your system and regularly review the processes, functions, and content in your system, especially where content could change or have more added such as Job Profiles, Learning Content and Performance forms.
Remember, improved user experience results in greater uptake of system usage and adoption. System and process adoption is the key element in achieving benefits and ROI for any project. So, making your system Accessible and Usable will help drive the right outcome for your implementation.