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Software Usability: References, Metrics, Training

By Harold Hambrose  |  Posted 2008-10-30 Print this article Print

Whether you’re purchasing new software, developing an in-house system or assessing the application tools you already have, be sure to ask these questions.

Do they have references? Ask for user endorsements, not customer endorsements. The people who bought the system—the vendor’s customers—are often many organizational layers away from the people who use it.

Show me the metrics! Ask for performance numbers. Find out how many minutes, hours, days or weeks it will take for your employees to become comfortable with the system, and how long it will take for them to really get rolling. Ask if such performance metrics can be written into the contract.

What’s all the training for? Is the training effort focused on improving the skills of the professionals using the tool, or is it an exercise in teaching your staff how to navigate around the idiosyncrasies of the product? If the displays, functions and language of a business system don’t allow a user to safely explore the product and discover its value, perhaps you shouldn’t be adopting that tool.

Harold Hambrose is founder and CEO of Electronic Ink.
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