Earlier this year, I met Jill Hart at BZ Media’s iPhone/iPad DevCon East in Boston. Jill is a usability consultant, and is a passionate expert on the subject of User Experience. When I first met Jill, she had just joined two friends and me to unwind after long day of educational sessions, and she was psyched about Apple’s emphasis on user experience. The three of us are programmers and we jokingly referred to it as “one more requirement” to include in our design. We jokingly referred to our user base as…ok, I won’t go there. Despite the jovial environment, Jill made her points about usability, revealing a deep commitment to the subject area.
Of course, most of my backlash against the topic of user experience / usability was all in good fun; I have been focused on making my “customers” more comfortable with technology for many years. It doesn’t take much study to understand that systems are used more when they are easy to use, when they make sense and when the interface has an intuitive feel. That said, I should point out that the first tool I traditionally reached for, was training. I always felt that “the technology is fine; they just don’t know how to use it.” There is some truth to that statement, and in the world of systems development, I could almost get away with a take-it-or-leave-it attitude – most business applications are required to conduct business. ECM is different. People still see most content management processes as optional. If transaction processing is difficult or complicated, people complain. If content management is difficult or complicated, people either do it wrong or ignore it altogether.
I accept the fact that ECM requirements need to be relatively easy to meet if we want good compliance rates. Fortunately, SharePoint comes complete with all the features necessary to support the function and form of a good ECM solution. Integrating form and function requires a good design, development expertise and a willingness to work through usability issues with the people standing at the document library door. Believe it or not, I know this. One of the reasons we chose SharePoint was for the capabilities the platform has for making ECM solutions more user friendly. Similarly, one of the reasons I hired the young woman that works with me is because, like Jill, she is passionate about satisfying the people who will use the solutions she designs and builds.
On November 9, 2011, I will have the privilege to share the stage with Jill Hart at an AIIM NE eventin Waltham, MA in a presentation about Usability and ECM. Jill will talk about usability, and I will describe and hopefully demonstrate some of the features we used to help make a complex ECM solution a good user experience. If you work in New England, please join us. You can learn about AIIM New England, a.k.a. your chapter, and you can take away some valuable thoughts about usability and the ways SharePoint 2010 supports those goals. Click here to register for this event.#usability #jillhart #userexperience #aiimnewengland #ECM
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