Apologies for the lengthy absence from posting on here. Now that I have grown my HR Partner team a little, I have some spare time on my hands, plus some renewed motivation and energy to work on improving the system with them.
As a "programmer pretending to be a designer", I am always accused of making my applications screens just too verbose. I tend to pepper the screen real estate with hints, tips and (what I think are) helpful snippets of information that will make the user's life easier.
Of course, when we did some real world UX testing a few months ago, I was astounded to see that most users simply didn't read the information presented to them, but instead would look for distinct CTA (call to action) links or buttons and try those out instead.
This has made me rethink my whole verbose strategy, and made me remove a lot of excess wording from many of our HR app's screens (with the able assistance and guidance of both my talented former and new UX designer). Conceptually, this has been a hard thing for me to do - removing what I thought were helpful prompts, and replacing them with an image or single word link to our help pages.
However, there are some screens where detailed explanations ARE still necessary - mainly the screen which deals with importing a CSV file into HR Partner. Seeing as this is a screen which a lot of our new users use, as well as the fact that we have absolutely no control over the layout and format of the CSV import file the customer supplies, I thought that some extra explanations at the bottom of the import screen may be useful to guide them to a pain free import process.
Here was the old explanation text at the bottom of the CSV import screen:
As you can see - very wordy. But what niggled at my UX designer the most was that the explanations for Gender, Departments, Locations etc. were still fairly vague, and worse still, prompted them to leave the import screen and go to another screen in order to look at what the valid import options were.
What she suggested was that we actually present the valid options all on the one screen, which means that they can check and modify their import file without having to leave this app screen, and get the chance to be distracted or lose interest.
So, the new screen looks like:
Because categories such as Department or Employment Status only have about 5 or 6 items in them, it was no problem to actually list them out on this screen directly. As a bonus, we also modified the import code to use some default values if the information supplied in the import file was missing or invalid.
We actually added more words to the mix, but I am hoping that in this instance, the extra information will help the user to create a better import file and have a better user experience at the end of the day.
Can you think of any other way we can improve on this? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.