Taking the time to plan and use a design methodology that meets your organization’s specific needs will help unlock the door to a successful user adoption strategy.
---By Steve Judge and Brian Thompson
Have you ever wondered how instructional designers come up with informative, engaging training and support content that provide end users with an enjoyable learning experience?
Instructional design is the process by which principles of training and instruction are used to create training and enablement material that targets specific learning goals. Great design requires effort, focus, and the right strategy to meet an organization’s specific needs. For software applications, the goal is to fill the gap between what end users know in the current state and what they’ll need to know after the software or new process is implemented.
Placing end users at the center of your design methodology is critical for creating and delivering successful user-adoption solutions. In this approach, instructional designers focus on end users from the very beginning of the content planning and creation process and involve users throughout the training project. By asking for their help with usability testing and validating the material design and content, designers give users training and enablement material that meets their specific needs.
Our team of expert user-adoption consultants has worked with many organizations on countless software implementation and upgrade projects that impact end users. We’ve found that overall, those that follow a design methodology that meets their organization’s specific needs realize improved user adoption and greater value from software investments.
In this post, we’ll take a close look at design methodology and see how it fits into the content development process.
Here are six tips for planning a successful design methodology:
- Prepare your end users. With the right combination of documentation, training and communication, users are more likely to adopt new or upgraded software and processes. That translates to a fundamental requirement in user adoption: Users must understand and take ownership of their part in the end-to-end process. A solid training and communications plan helps to get both the message and the necessary skills to the right people, at the right time in the project. If users understand the need for the change and the benefits of the change for themselves they are more likely to embrace the training.
- Develop customized material. While a standard design works for a few organizations or projects, a custom methodology is required more often than not. Create documentation and training material that captures your particular system configuration and business processes rather than standardized or generic content. If training material and documentation don’t match the look and feel of the new system, users will find excuses not to adopt new software. Also, create job-specific, role-based content so that users will understand how to use the software and how it impacts their job.
- Follow a systems approach to training program design, development and execution. Focus on job performance, not just software skills. Taking end users’ individual characteristics, skills and knowledge into consideration, define, assess and evaluate learning objectives and select the appropriate training and means of delivery for each role. Because even the best-designed training program doesn’t guarantee that users will retain everything, include ongoing performance support that users can access after go-live.
- Be flexible. Experience tells us that there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach, so the methodology needs to be flexible, accommodating users in all types of cultures, projects, and environments.
- Identify and involve the users. Involve users throughout the documentation and training project, asking them for help with usability testing and validating the material design and content. This increases their awareness and buy-in and ensures creation of effective material that they will actually use.
- Create material quickly and efficiently. Project budgets and deadlines are often tight, so it’s important to create and deliver training and documentation as quickly and efficiently as possible. Developing prototypes and templates help to significantly reduce the time, resources and cost of a documentation and training project.
The bottom line is this: Designing a methodology that meets an organization’s specific needs will give you a leg up a in planning a user adoption strategy that helps increase adoption and realize greater value from your software investment.
About Enterprise Studio
Enterprise Studio by HCL Technologies provides IT solutions and services to thousands of customers across many industries. We specialize in working with organizations that are challenged with optimizing the potential of their technologies and transformations.
We use a blend of deep technical skills, advisory and consulting expertise to help you navigate the complexities that come with competing in an inter-connected world. By addressing IT challenges while enabling business and cultural transformation, your IT and business teams can achieve better, more predictable outcomes with long-lasting benefits.
Our global team across North America, Europe, Latin America, India, Australia, and Asia has a relentless focus on customer centricity. Our team’s expertise, built upon decades of experience across digital advisory consulting, IT business management (ITBM), cybersecurity, and AIOps, can help you move quickly from idea to value as you build, integrate and adopt resilient enterprise solutions.