Give Me A DAM Reason To Come Back

A few years ago, a client had proposed a user incentive in which their digital asset system (DAM) would congratulate the user for ‘saving the company $X.00.’ The value would be calculated by the number of assets downloaded multiplied by a base number that represented the savings of using a managed asset (vs. re-scanning, or reshooting/retouching an image).

The idea was that users would be allowed to earn EXCITING GIFTS on a regular basis. One of my colleagues developed a prototype for the feature and it worked and looked great. However, it was soon realized that there really wasn’t a way to determine if users were actually using the assets for their jobs or if they were just downloading to win the Starbuck ‘s Card (or other token of achievement). Thus the idea was put in the freezer.

I want to make clear, that user incentives are important, but there are no better incentives than a solid implementation and helping your users to know how to use that system.

A recurring mantra among stakeholders at several clients, was “if you build it they will come,” thus lobbied for something of a minimalist approach to the DAM and  a lot can-kicking down the road (we can add workflow….later, we can integrate with our portal…..later).

I think this is true in the sense that yes, the users will come merely because the system has been built; however the key is to get the users to come back, and come back again (and to stop re-shooting, re-scanning…).

I think you do this in two primary ways. First, you have to have to build a good DAM (boy that was easy!). Doing that, is way beyond the scope of this blog, but it is important to start with some reference points. I believe I Peter Morrivile’s facets of user.experience honeycomb ; to be a great guideline  for just about any type of information system. Remember, this is a guy  who literally wrote the book (with Lou Rosenfeld ) on user experience.

Users are more likely to make repeat visits to your system if they find its contents to be:

  • Useful
  • Usable
  • Findable
  • Valuable
  • Credible
  • Desirable
  • Accessible

A second key (and oft-ignored) component of promoting better user experience is to build better users. Don’t skimp on training for content contributors, system administrators, or end users.

Train-the-trainer sessions are fine, but you should also provide ample reference material–in the form of ‘print’ reference and e-learning demonstrations of procedures. If users go through instructor-led training, but don’t actually use the system for three months, the value of the training session is highly diminished. Provide them with the means to review materials before, and after an instructor-led session.

E-learning demonstrations should be brief and targeted to specific tasks (such as “how to download and convert an image” or “how to add metadata to a record”) Be sure to provide convenient access to these materials. You don’t necessarily need these to be housed in a learning management system, but doing so can provide added utility of allowing managers to assign learning materials and to assess users’ mastery of specific topics.

Additionally, in your instructional plan, you need to ensure that users have access to conceptual knowledge in an addition to system-specific procedures.

  • Help the users understand re-use best practices. Cutting and pasting is not re-use (not a best practice anyway). Nor is saving a file to a local hard-drive and e-mailing it around the globe.
  • Don’t ignore the fact that many of your users are not going be familiar with concepts such as resolution, color space, file formats. Provide the users the means to gain this pre-requisite knowledge Provide the users with gentle indoctrination to such concepts.
  • As mentioned previously it is a good idea to expressed these materials multiple formats as well: instructor led sessions, screen-casts (using Captivate, Jing….), Word handouts….to accommodate various learning styles and time schedules.
  • Generate a glossary that contains key terms. If you use acronyms, define them; don’t assume that the user will figure them out.
  • And do not ignore the power of mentoring; consider pairing some of your most experienced/DAM-savvy users with those who approach your system with trepidation.

If you build it they will come. If they have a good user experience they will come back.

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