Access to digital content is foundational to user adoption.
We often use the catchphrase “information wants to be free”. What we really mean is that everyone deserves and should be given the knowledge they seek regardless of who they are. Users agree.
Access to digital content is foundational to user adoption. Imagine, if you will, how users may react to a system with:
- Partial or inaccurate search results
- A convoluted permissions structure
- Unfathomable processes to gain access to material
- A user interface that is not ADA compliant
- A slow, or buggy, user experience
I am willing to bet users facing the above obstacles to access would lean towards distrust, frustration, annoyance, and, in the worse cases, abandonment and avoidance of that DAM system (DAMS).
To counter these risks, we must become “access engineers” (Campbell, 2992, as cited in Rettig, 2003). We must become experts about our users. By studying their intent, search behavior, asset usage, processes, work environment, their grasp of how digital assets impact their work, and their understanding or misunderstanding of the DAM system’s inner workings, we can finally begin to develop a system they will readily adopt.
Make your DAM system a content destination, not a content graveyard.
Create a Digital Habitat
Make your DAM system a content destination, not a content graveyard. A system containing the content users expect and which furnishes them with the means to obtain it, will engender in them feelings of trust in the search results. Create a place within which users can perform some (or all) of their work. DAM systems should support collaboration, sharing, asset transformation, tagging, and commenting.
Keep It Simple
Keep your DAMS as simple and as easy to use as possible. Doing so will create a path of least resistance; one that users will more readily adopt to accomplish their work. I realize that many restrictions to access are out of your control, but it is well worth your time and effort to identify any that you can influence. Should you seize those opportunities that do exist, users will at least see you as part of the solution – an advocate – as opposed to an obstacle to their access.
Don’t Hesitate… Integrate!
DAM systems often live in bubbles… so alone and sad. They need to connect with other business-critical systems so that data may be accessed holistically. For example, users benefit from searching and retrieving assets stored across systems and examining metadata without leaving whatever interface they happen to be in.
Encourage DAM Fluency
Teaching others builds on our work as accessibility engineers. Good user interfaces should obviate basic training and support self-service, but users require full DAM fluency to harness a DAMS’ full potential. This can only be achieved by offering them comprehensive training, solid educational material, and convenient help-desk-type services.
Involve your organization’s change champions, those early adopters of new technology, so that they learn about new features first and communicate them to their peers in a positive way (Perkins, 2017).
Measure Early and Often
Measure and report usage metrics to your stakeholders. Be honest about your successes and how you mean to course correct if goals were missed. This data may reveal heretofore unknown barriers to access that may be dealt with.
These are only a handful of ways that focusing on access to digital content will increase user adoption. How has this core value helped you to encourage users to embrace a DAM system you have managed?
Interested in learning more about user adoption? Join and participate in the live collaborative webinar on the State of ‘DAM User Adoption’ today! on October 17, 2019 at 8:30am (PT), 11:30am (ET), 4:30pm (UK). Sign up here. The webinar is hosted by the Insight Exchange Network and DAM Guru Program, along with New Jersey and London DAM meetup groups.
Perkins, K. (n.d.). Maximize User Adoption with These 5 Best Practices. Retrieved October 13, 2019, from https://www.avisystems.com/blog/maximize-user-adoption
Rettig, J. (2003). Technology, cluelessness, anthropology, and the memex: The future of academic reference service. Reference Services Review, 31(1), 17–21. https://doi.org/10.1108/00907320310460843