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Dos and Don’ts for Engaging Your Online Users

by The Tip Doctor

June 10, 2011

Taken from the CRM 2011 presentation “Rich Internet applications on the front end: 10 dos and don’ts for engaging your users” by Nelly Mensah, Deloitte Consulting.

Here are just a few of the tips Nelly shares in the presentation for SAP CRM usability -- but these can apply to almost any user-facing online application:

TIP: DO evangelize user-centered design and usability within your organization

  • While buy-in from executives is important, talking to your colleagues and clients about the value of usability is equally as critical
    • Support from all levels will make it easier to obtain necessary resources to effectively execute a usability project
  • Have one-on-one conversations with peers and leadership, making the connection between business goals and how usability can help achieve them.


TIP: DO determine appropriate metrics to measure user engagement and success

  • When embarking on a usability project, decide how you will determine project  success
    • This helps focus the project on concrete goals and guide the design of the application
    • This applies to both productivity goals for your employees as well as user engagement goals for your customers
  • Add a flag to track which records are created in your RIA vs. SAP CRM GUI vs. Web UI to help determine the adoption rates of the new interface
  • When embarking on a usability project, decide how you will determine project  success (cont.)
    • Examples:
      • Reduce the number of clicks required for a rep to submit an order from 20 to 12
      • Reduce the number of screens a customer has to go through before check out from 7 to 3
      • Increase the number of product reviews by customers by 25%
      • Add a flag to track which records are created in your RIA vs. SAP CRM GUI vs. Web UI to help determine the adoption rates of the new interface.

TIP:  DO bring a user experience (UX) designer onto the team

  • A UX designer would already have knowledge of usability leading practices and familiarity with common interaction patterns, which can accelerate the design process
    • This is a distinct role from a graphic designer who is responsible for the look or “skinning” of the RIA application
  • “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” - Steve Jobs

TIP: DO stay in perpetual Beta by releasing early and often

  • Reevaluate and redesign the RIA frequently based on user feedback
    • Keep checking back against your metrics to make sure the goals of the application are being met
  • Develop a documented set of User Interface guidelines early on to maintain consistency when new features are being added.

TIP: DON’T rely on waterfall methodology, as an Agile approach is more suitable for user-centered design methods

  • It takes several iterations to lock down users’ needs correctly
  • The phases from de sign to deployment will be repeated several times throughout the life cycle of your SAP CRM project
  • “The joy of an early release lasts but a short time. The bitterness of an unusable system lasts for years.” – Anonymous

For more CRM articles, interviews, and other resources, visit the CRM Group on Insider Learning Network.

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