Marie can quite happily search an online clothing shop, add items to her basket, complete forms to “checkout” and receive updates about her order. In fact she is very, very good at this 😉 She can also contact support to seek assistance with respect to her orders. She does not need to attend a 2 day training course to achieve this.
So, in the work environment, Marie’s key goals will be to search for clients, add detail to their record (form completion) and save it. This is not rocket science and not dissimilar to her activity online shopping. But, the obstacles in her way at work include (and not limited to):
- Poor taxonomy (labelling of menu items, options make no sense in real world english)
- Confusing interfaces, complex in nature and with no clear guidance
- No personalisation or understanding of the person logged in and what they are likely to need from the system
- Slow, time consuming workflows to achieve simple tasks
A better way
Most of us learn best by “having a go”. Often we’ll be reassured if we can be demonstrated how to do a process before we do it. But once we have completed it a couple of times, we are ok. This could and should all happen within the system, for example:
- Onboarding – provide an online tour of the system when a user first logs in
- Visual Help – provide video demos available in context of the area of the system you are in can show people what they should be doing on that page.
- Helpful labelling, written in plain english as if its a human talking to them – not development talk.
- Clear signposting of what a user needs to do next, based on that user’s needs
- Simple, uncluttered interfaces
- Use of familiar interface patterns so its not alien to a user’s general device usage (away from work)
- Tailored Interfaces that adjust for a user’s role – relevance for what they need to do in their capacity
All of this means users should not even need training. Instead, have a 1-2 hour engagement workshop with employees where the system is introduced as part of a wider piece about the importance of data collection. Users should leave with no anxiousness about a new system. They should feel confident that they cannot “break” it.
Way before all of this though…
Before all of this, real users should be engaged with to ensure a system is designed around their needs. Too often “systems” are purchased at a senior level and access issued to teams to use. This procurement of the system is based on factors that don’t include usability and efficiency for end users. Bottom line is if Marie and her colleagues can minimise the time spent on the system they use to manage client data, then they have more time to spend with clients/patients – that’s more capacity to deliver the great service they offer. Right now, too much of their time is spent having to navigate awful systems, applications and tools. And then on top of that you have the time taken out to attend poorly delivered training courses on how to use these monolithic, complicated systems… it’s all wrong.
Hope on the horizon?
I really hope in the world of digital transformation, things will change and improve. Marie says the system she has just been trained on is being replaced in about 3 months… we could hope that will be a massive improvement…. But taking off my optimistic hat for a minute, I daresay it will lead to more “training” and just a different unusable, complicated, slow system.