A well designed CRM system is where users use the system instinctively without needing to stop and think – Hosk
I have been reading Don’t Make Me Think!: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, the book is great, easy to read and it gets straight to the point, which it needs to because the book is only 216 pages long and was written so it could be read by an executive on a 2 hour flight!
I wish films, books and TV programs would get to the point and stop extending things out, quality not quantity. The book offers great insight into usability in websites, Steve Krug the author is a usability expert and some they key points I have taken from his excellent book.
1. Don’t make them think
A website should be so easy and obvious to use the users shouldn’t have to think. The users should not need to think where to click because it should be obvious.
2. Users are like sharks
Users scan pages and will click on the first thing which seems might be the right thing to do. Users keep moving or die, e.g. They will point and click.
3. Users Love Back buttons
Users love back buttons because they use websites, with a point and click attitude. Users haven’t got time to think about what to do, they would rather click what seems right. This usage means they will make mistakes and need to go back often. It’s a trial and error method of web site usage because the cost of a mistake is rectified by pressing the back button.
4. Creatures of habit
Once users find a method which works they stick to it and do it again and again and again
5. Searching Rocks
Users know how searches work and use it a lot as a short cut to get to where they want to go.
6. Everyone loves to go home
The home button is vital to a website because it means no matter what rabbit hole the user goes down or how lost they get on a website, they can always get back to the start with one click without any thinking
7. Get rid of happy talk
Happy talk is like small talk on websites. Lots of words with not much being said, usually happy talk is information about the site, creating the site and other information the user isn’t interested in but the creators found interesting. You can read more about happy talk here, Common happy talk is
- welcoming messages
- details of the process of creating the website such as how long it took
- information about the design of the website such as rationale
- superfluous instructional advice
Web Usability and CRM 2013/2015
When CRM 2013 (which doesn’t seem long ago) was released the user interface was completely rewritten and it looked fantastic but then users started to use the application and they found the navigation was more difficult in CRM 2013 than in CRM 2011, oops.
The question is, Why was navigation harder in CRM 2013?
After reading the points made in Steve Krug’s book, these points explain why the navigation was difficult
Too much thinking needed
There were times when using CRM 2013 when I wasn’t sure how to navigate to the record/area I wanted to go. I had to stop instinctively navigating and start to think about how I might navigate there. I would have these thoughts
- How do I get too a certain record?
- Which navigation tool (menu, hyperlink, back button) should I use?
- Where is the advanced find button?
- How do I get back?
Some of the reason was due to my CRM 2011 navigation habits, but other problems were because it wasn’t obvious how to navigate in CRM 2013 and I had to keep stopping to think. Thinking isn’t how people are trained to use websites and slowed down the navigation process considerably, which contributed to the feeling it was harder than CRM 2011.
No Home button/Left hand menu
The removal of the left hand navigation pane was like Windows 8 removing the Start button. People like knowing there is an easy, quick way to get back to the start. The best solution to this problem I have seen was the free codeplex solution One Click Navigation which I have reviewed here. This puts a menu on the top, all the time, ahhh safety.
Creatures of habit – CRM 2013/2015 is too different
Users are used to working with CRM 2011 and CRM 2013 seemed very different and less initiative. CRM 2013/2015 is different from most web sites and applications which means users can’t use their natural instincts to point and click and muddle their way through.
There is likely to be a degree of uneasiness whenever any users use a new product
Dude, where is my advanced find?
This was one of the most puzzling changes Microsoft made in CRM 2013, suddenly I could rarely find the advanced find button, why would anyone hide this awesome button? Advanced find in CRM is a great tool because you can skip the navigation and find the records you are interested in quickly and you can save your advanced find as a search for easy reuse.
The advanced find button has been restored in CRM 2015 and can be found on the global command bar and always accessible no matter where you are.
It’s good to see Microsoft to listening to the feedback of the Microsoft Dynamics Community. I wrote an article on this subject Is Microsoft Listening to the Dynamics CRM Community?,
Slow to Navigate
One of the points I took from the book is users are in a hurry, swimming and swooping like sharks, clicking and not thinking, muddling through, clicking what seems right and pressing the back button if wrong.
CRM 2013/2015 make it hard to navigate quickly, you have to wait for menu’s to animate and then they keep hiding again.
Users of CRM will use CRM everyday and will want to reach power user level, quickly navigating the site without thinking.
Don’t make the user think
- Business Process flows guiding the user
- Remove unused fields on views, forms
- Reduce options
- Change Sitemap and
- Hide sections/fields until needed
- Use Dashboards to show aggregated data
- Views filtered and sorted to reduce noise
- group data on a form in logical areas
- Different forms for different security roles/teams
Test your CRM Solution
Reduce fields and clicks needed on a form
It takes 4 clicks more to complete this form than it did with the old system
Business Required fields at the top
Correct Field types
Automate field entry
Hide Section and Fields
Different Forms for Different Security Roles
Business Process Flows
An interesting article from CRM MVP Scott Durow on how the Command Bar really works, did you know it’s a ribbon in disguise!
CRM MVP Jukka wrote a good blog
I would recommend not only reading the blog post, but the comments have a great discussion about CRM Navigation