We previously discussed training and system documentation. While this is incredibly important for most systems, an intuitive UI (such as a simple guided instructional layout) can alleviate the need for intensive training and documentation. This is why we feel ease of operation is absolutely part of the overall system, and actually, the most important aspect. A system that technically works but isn’t easily understood by the people who need to use it might as well be broken. There are a few ways to alleviate this.
We often see complex control systems built for meeting and collaboration spaces. It’s one of those necessary evils when you’re controlling a lot of different components, but is an approach that can still be effective when there has been an emphasis and attention to detail in the UI design. Even so, there are many times that this kind of comprehensive control layout is not necessary.
One of the perks to having a service contract is that your meeting spaces can be monitored for usage. The telemetry captured can include details on when the room is used, the length of the meeting, the average number of participants, what technology is actually being using, and more importantly what technology is not being used. This data becomes invaluable in space planning.
Consider for a moment a meeting space that has been outfit with video conferencing, audio conferencing, and some type of shareable whiteboard tool. The control panel for this configuration could easily get confusing with all of the different options made available to the end user. With the data on room usage in hand we can look at modifying the control layout to create a much more streamlined user interface. This might involve just removing unused control options to clean up the interface, or taking things a little further and creating a guided menu that walks users through system use in a very simple step-by-step approach.
Another interesting option is to look at the room usage to determine if all the provisioned equipment is actually necessary for the space. If you review the data and find that audio conferencing is the predominantly used feature in that space, you could look at redeploying the infrequently used components to upgrade other meeting spaces, or use them to create additional meeting spaces all together.
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