Mental Models

We all build mental models of how to get stuff done. They are our own personally constructed instruction manuals we have developed in our heads to use the technology that helps us achieve things day to day.

These mental models are developed from reading instruction manuals, watching someone else complete tasks, listening to people talking about how to use the technology and hands on trial and error with the tools. 

Many times the mental model in the users mind is far from the intended design of the designer. We often rely on very basic training and simple documentation which allows users to invent their own approach. 

Time and time again this riffing of the users experience moves away from efficient use of technology and like the well-trodden path through the grass when the concrete path has been built only meters away it causes a culture of doing things that are hard to measure, hard to retrain on that lead to an ongoing struggle for adoption. 

Short circuit the mental model process for your users. Approach their training from multiple angles and train on the highly designed, intentional and efficient process you set out to achieve.

1. Develop easy to understand and visually engaging training documentation - make this incredibly easy to access e.g. online click-throughs or printed and laminated on every desk

2. Create a culture of classroom training that focuses on the practical day to day use of technology - model how to use the tools and then get other users to show tips and tricks. Encourage group conversations and feedback. 

3. Allocate time to complete 1:1 coaching with every single user. Sit down with each person and walk them through end to end processes and key aspects of functionality. Use this time not only to connect with your user for learning/training but also for your learning on how to better configure technology that makes sense.

4. Develop short and sharp training videos in a catalog for your users to watch. Pull apart the end to end process into segments so users can get refreshed on sections they are struggling with and HEAR and SEE how to complete the job.

Get ahead of the natural process of mental modeling by approaching user adoption and training from multiple angles.