I'm working on an internal webapp that requires users to Enter Meeting Notes. Currently, the users write their notes in a Word template, then copy/paste into one large text field in the app. The notes include various sections, such as Summary, Actions Needed, Conclusions, etc. Problem is, there was no way to "parse" the various bits of notes and reuse them, if needed (say, if we wanted to display only the Actions in another section of the app, it wasn't entered as a standalone piece, so technically it doesn't exist).
When the previous redesign happened (before me), they forced users to use a pre-canned set of entry boxes in the interface (so a section for Summary, one for Conclusions, dropdowns for Actions that could be assigned, etc...). In theory, this would be better since we could collect the information into sections, right?
But when implemented, users didn't use it at all, and instead went back to the old way of cutting/pasting because it was simply easier. It required less of them in terms of breaking things up, changing their mental model, etc...
So my questions/solutions to all this have been:
1) Do we keep what they had before (enter stuff in Word, then copy/paste), which results in duplicate effort, and the inability to parse everything into sections?
2) If we do this, is there a way to parse through all this, know which items are actions, let's say, and present them with a "We think this is an action - who would you like to assign it to?"
3) Should we force them to enter notes directly into the system, using our pre-defined sections, whether they like it or not? Is there a more elegant way to present this? I like the live preview concept and auto-save drafts... not sure if this would be enough for these users to "buy into it"?
4) Any other options?
I'm just torn between "forcing" them into a workflow that's different for them (users hate change!), but also trying to avoid all this duplication of effort that's happening. It just all seems very convoluted to me...
EDIT (to clarify some of the questions below):
5) These particular users hated any instance of accordions - they actually prefer to just see everything all at once, without that extra click, which I can sympathize with.
6) The web app does provide them with rich-media/word-like functionality.
7) The issue isn't so much that the information was forced into sections, so much as it was forced into require more of them for that section. For instance, previously they would enter Actions in bullet form in the Word doc. Done. But in the new format, they would have to enter them in line-by-line (as separate fields), assign someone to the task using a dropdown, assign a due date, ect...
I understand that part of the issue comes down to "This is just how it needs to be done from now on, and you just have to accept it". I'm just seeing if there are better ways to force the new process, yet still make it enjoyable enough for them.