Helping Users Love your Apps

Tips & Tricks
Dec 2, 2007
6 Min Read

A few months ago we did a Net Promoter survey of a small subset of our customers.  The survey reached about 20,000 administrators and end users.  What we learned was fascinating.  The biggest “ah-ha” was that buyers and application administrators love QuickBase, but end users don’t feel as good about the product.  In reading through the comments we learned that this is largely due to one thing:  application managers often build applications that work for them, but that users struggle to use.  Well, we want to help.  To that end, here are some “best practices” that we’ve pulled together for application creators that should helping drive adoption and enthusiasm for your applications:

Start Simple: Application managers need to recognize that when they ask someone to use an application they are asking someone to change how they work.  For many end users this is hard…we all know what people say about change.  The best way we’ve seen people drive adoption is to start simple.  Solve one important problem for the team and evolve from there.  Don’t get caught up in building the perfect app and letting “scope creep” turn the application into a mammoth application that requires lots of training.   If you start simple, then people will engage and won’t be hit by the hurdle of “not getting” the new system. Once people are engaged, you can build out the app as you go and expand the scope…

Listen, Learn, Evolve: When application managers proactively listen to user feedback and evolve the applications based on the feedback, end users become more engaged in the success of the application / team.  Sometimes this feedback comes in the form of review meetings or emails to solicit feedback.  Another technique that some use is to have feedback mechanisms built into the apps themselves (e.g. adding a feedback table into the app that users can post into).  By providing users a forum for feedback, the application creator gets some great ideas on how to improve things and it will generate some goodwill because the end users will see that the app creator “is listening” and actively trying to improve.  This approach is much better than the “deploy and forget” approach that many take where they put the application out there.

Utilize Key Functionality: There’s some important functionality that, when administrators use it, it significantly improves the end user experience.  A few of the best examples include:

  • Using “user fields” to help personalize reports and to limit what data users see (so they don’t get overwhelmed)
  • Using roles for more than security… roles are oftentimes used to customize the reports and dashboards people see- again so that users only see what they need to
  • Using “form rules” to simplify forms so that not everyone sees all fields all the time (big hairy forms can intimidate and annoy users)
  • Setting up grid edit views for situations where people update all their relevant content in bulk

Teach End Users to Personalize: QuickBase offers a bunch of features that end users can use to personalize QuickBase applications to their own needs.  Three examples are:

  • Personal reports: End users can create reports that are specific to them and that only they can see.
  • Personal notifications: End users can setup notifications that only trigger when they want them to and that only contain the content the end users want.
  • Personal subscriptions: End users can schedule reports to be sent to them whenever they want (e.g. they might want the daily reminder of tasks rather than weekly).

In coming weeks we are going to post some blog entries to dig into more detail on some of the things mentioned above.  I hope this helps you all…and makes the end users love QuickBase as much as the buyers and application creators do today.

Oh  yeah...anyone else have any good ideas of things that have helped end users?  I'd love to hear about them.


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