The value of drop-in labs
Rolling out a new CMS is a challenging proposition. How you train and support your web authors can make or break the success of your CMS adoption and overall website. Beyond training on new technology, each user brings a different level of technical experience, enthusiasm and available time. Not to mention they all use the website in different ways.
Drop-in labs are a great way to make the rollout process smoother. A drop-in lab is simply a set time where you invite users to a working session with staff on hand to help. Not only will the labs help reduce support calls and e-mails, but they can foster community among your web authors and encourage peer support.
You’ll help end users with real questions in way that the curriculum-based classroom training can’t. Web authors will begin to support each other and feel less frustrated realizing they’re not in it alone. Plus it gives folks less of an excuse in complaining about difficulties with the CMS.
Here are a few tips we’ve learned from our drop-in labs:
- Encourage users to bring actual work so that way they leave the lab with something accomplished.
- Schedule the drop in labs soon after formal training sessions if possible, especially if your trainer will help out at the labs.
- Pay attention to common challenges and look for ways to address them for all groups.
- Make sure users are trained before attending a lab.
- Keep plenty of documentation and support materials on hand.
- Don’t get frustrated if all users don’t attend. It’s amazing the number of people that simply find comfort knowing they are available.
- Hold them at a regular time and place and make them well advertised.
- Consider having different staff on hand including designers, editors and developers.