Some things just never seem to change, and user reluctance to application changes is one of those situations which it seems, is always present – regardless of the form of change. Sometimes I’ve found that even changes which had been requested by users, and that they kept looking forward to, once made, the changes are received with grumbling and every excuse possible being used to avoid incorporating the changes into their routine.
The question is, what do you do about it? What does it take to bring the user around so that rather than condemning the changes, they embrace them with enthusiasm? The answer is actually quite simple, although time consuming — it’s one-on-one training. My experience with providing “training” applications which the user can access on their own to learn new application features has been highly ineffective since the users do not spend the time needed. A “classroom” kind of setting also has been ineffective for my clients since often it is key people in the company that need to use the application, and they have a business to run! (…read this as they’re TOO busy for training!)
However, the 1-on-1 approach has proven effective consistently since it provides the capability to work with the reluctant user with “real” information, in their setting (…always do 1-on-1 at their desktop!), and your presence allows for instant answers to questions and concerns as they come up in the session.
This kind of training can also provide valuable feedback for further development of the application — for one thing, it allows for experiencing “real issues” for users “IF” such issues exist. Certainly as developers we hope that there will be no “real issues” with our pride and joy of application, but I’m sure we all have experienced them. Seeing exactly how the application performs for a user is important – many a “little issue” that I’ve seen when working with a user 1-on-1 has led to better the next iteration of the application.