Even if your Information Management initiative has done a fabulous job of educating end users and explaining the benefits of the necessary change in systems, processes, and behavior, getting each person to consistently follow through remains a challenge. You’re asking people to change their routines, to combat their muscle memory, and proactively do something different on a regular basis.
Despite comprehending the rationale for these changes, breaking habits and building new ones takes some real motivation, willpower, and dedication on the part of each and every end user. In most cases, however, there’s little incentive to adapt to the new processes other than a nebulous desire to “do the right thing,” which can be pretty fleeting when everyday chaos and work stressors kick in. That’s why most information management programs often see trial and adoption rates in the 10-20% range.
Often, what’s holding adoption and compliance back is a lackluster user experience. A poor UX can alienate end users, creating resentment or disengagement if they’re being asked to perform odious, complex, confusing tasks just to meet IT’s or the legal department’s needs. This is why Information Management initiatives must emphasize UX from the outset rather than tabling it until the final stages of implementation or disregarding it altogether.
At harmon.ie, our offerings are centered on solving UX challenges for Information Management needs. The success of our solution hinges on widespread adoption and ongoing usage—if we weren’t driving usage, our customers would cancel after Year One rather than expanding the footprint of our deployments. That’s why we take UX so seriously, considering the larger context and impact on end-user efficiency any time we make updates or enhancements.
The easier and more intuitive it is for end users to “do the right thing,” the more often they’ll do it. That’s why we grounded our product in a few UX concepts proven to increase user adoption and compliance while boosting business performance.
Part of harmon.ie’s value proposition is making it easy for end users to move or copy emails to locations in Microsoft 365, such as Microsoft Teams and SharePoint. Instead of asking users to switch contexts and begin that workflow from Teams or SharePoint, we instead do it all within Microsoft Outlook.
There are multiple reasons for this. Obviously, Outlook is where most users interact with email—and therefore where they spend a lot of their time. By adding harmon.ie functionality and visual elements directly into the Outlook experience, end users don’t have to navigate to other locations, use unfamiliar apps, remember lengthy URLs, or use yet another set of credentials.
By using Outlook as harmon.ie’s “home base,” we’re also able to offer additional functionality that’s conveniently baked into existing workflows. For example, if someone wants to add a file saved on Teams to an outbound email, they can instead send a permissions-based link, adding it to the message all from within Outlook rather than having to toggle to a different app or website. This simplified, integrated experience reduces barriers to compliance without disrupting existing end-user routines.
Shrinking the learning curve is key to boosting trial and adoption. The more familiar end users are with how things work, the better the odds of them getting the hang of it and building good habits.
Dragging and dropping electronic files with a computer mouse has been an option for Mac users for half a century now and is now a natural interaction model for anyone using a computer on a regular basis… even if they’re now using touchpads or touchscreens to do the dragging and dropping. It’s become a ubiquitous method because it’s a truly simple, understandable concept: you want to move something from one place to another, so you select it and drag it where you want it, not unlike how you might pick up an object from one location in the “real world” and then put it down someplace else.
We wanted to demystify email management as much as possible, so we’ve made drag and drop the centerpiece of the harmon.ie user experience. In the harmon.ie panel within Outlook end users can search or drill down to the location they want, then just drag that email message over to it, as simple as moving them from one Outlook folder to another. No typing, no keyboard shortcuts, no switching between apps or folders or windows.
Great user experiences are also consistent user experiences. By keeping things consistent users aren’t in for any rude surprises and can utilize their learned behaviors in a broader set of situations.
harmon.ie has incorporated this principle into its solutions and abstracted some of the variability between SharePoint, Teams, and OneDrive. The same workflows let you save an email message or attachment to any of those locations.
And with the upcoming launch of Microsoft’s new Outlook, the New harmon.ie plug-in will work across native Windows, MacOS, and mobile apps as well as in web browsers. That gives end users the same great experience regardless of where and how they’re using Outlook and reduces one more barrier for consistent end-user compliance. For a sneak preview of our new plug-in, download it here.