TechEd '06 offered an educational class titled Harmonizing the User Experience of Composite Development Tools. This session was presented to share user development (UX) design best practices with independent software vendors (ISV) who intend to create composite applications for use on the NetWeaver backbone.
Jonathan Gordon of SAP described SAP's core design strategy to support developers.
Don't ignore best practices
Be sure to identify common user patterns. Developers appreciate seeing the same buttons in the same locations. Many well established UX designs exist in tools today.
Respect dynamic nature of tool users
Tool users work across multiple systems, some tool users change their profile over time, depending on tasks.
Support adaptability and change
Needs change as technology, methods and expertise advances. The tool user will either adapt the tool or leave it behind. Good developer tools will have increased usability with reduced complexity.
Always reflect reality
Be sure to conduct research. Explore the real world and collaborate with actual users. Hold beta testing sessions. Take that information and apply it to a user-centered design methods.
Gordon claims the ultimate goal for developer user tools is to have "extensible, scalable composite tools UX design based on the real world".