When designing an SAP Fiori Launchpad there are a variety of tiles to choose from, each of which can add different functionality to your Launchpad. Before getting into the specifics of what each tile can offer you, let us start with the basics - what exactly is a tile?
Tiles are the visual representation of (and shortcut to) any applications that are on your Launchpad homepage. All apps can be represented by a tile which can show different insights into your app (depending on the data that your apps supply). Tile size can be 1x1, 2x1, 1x2 or 2x2, the choice is yours.
A 1x1 (left) and 2x1 tile (right). The tile shown is a trend tile.
Tiles can be broken down into 3 types: static, dynamic and custom. Static tiles do not change over time, dynamic tiles can refresh the information they display and custom tiles will do whatever you like (within reason). Despite all your options for how to present information in static and dynamic tiles, there is not a great deal of choice in what these tiles can do. In fact, there is only one thing that these tiles can do - navigate. Static and dynamic tiles support a one click event and one navigation target, this means that if you click them they open up their corresponding app and not a jot more. In short tiles are made for quickly viewing app data and quickly navigating to said app. Let us go into more detail for each of these now.
The most basic tile type available, this tile normally contains a title and image and is used for navigation to an app that does not require insight.
Basic launch tile
If you want a numbers overview of the data behind your tile, a key performance indicator (KPI) tile is probably the one for you. KPI tiles can be used to show deviations in values, in the form of an up or down arrow. It is also possible to add colours to emphasise values.
If a KPI tile does not give enough insight then there are four more options to graphically display data:
For comparison of two or more values against each other, the comparison chart shows two or more different data values in horizontal.
Similar to the above comparison chart, the column chart compares different values using vertical bars.
The bullet chart can be used to compare one value to two or more target values.
Finally, the trend chart can be used to show variations in data over time.
As mentioned earlier, tiles can be either 1x1 or 2x1 in size. If you opt for a 2x1 option you can combine any of the above tiles to display data in two different ways.
2x1 tile showing both a KPI and comparison chart
For instances of displaying the numeric status of an app, e.g. the number of outstanding orders on a product that your company sells, the monitoring tile can provide a quick numbers insight that can be combined with colour.
Here is the last one... I promise. If you want to show a news feed of any description then you can integrate it straight into your Launchpad home page through a feed tile. These tiles refresh every 3 to 5 seconds and show a headline, image, source and timestamp. For feed tiles showing more than one news story, the tile can be set to flip between headlines at a set interval.
So you have got your well-designed and appropriately chosen tiles and everything on the Launchpad is looking good. What happens if you open your Launchpad on a different, far smaller screen - like your mobile? Fear not, the Launchpad has you covered! The tiles themselves are device responsive, meaning they will change their size when they detect what they are being viewed on. Be that a mobile or laptop screen.
Small tile (mobile phone) Medium tile (laptop/tablet)
Your Launchpad home page will also cleverly adjust itself to suit the size of screen that views it. If all the tiles you have on screen do not fit in one row, the Launchpad will just move a few down to the next row - simple.
Let’s wrap this up
Hopefully this has helped illustrate just how much variety you can provide in a Launchpad page through tile choice alone. If you are interested in learning more about what you can do with the Launchpad then make sure you attend the upcoming webinar The SAP Fiori Launchpad as a Human-Centric Dashboard on April 26th 2016 - it is free to attend and an hour full of great content!