For many systems, performance can be significantly improved by educating the end users.

It might even be argued that training is required to achieve optimal system performance:

  • IIRC, Robert N. Bailey compares "handling software" with "shooting with a gun" in his book "Human Performance Engineering". Just as you need training to operate the gun properly (breathing, aiming, pulling trigger etc), you need training to perform well with software.

  • Practice/training is also one of the prerequisites of increased performance with keyboard short-cuts.

  • I also have experience myself with "domain complicated" desktop applications, where the end users really benefit from work-flow coursing and reviewing best practice.*

The question is, how can end user training be integrated into the UX plans without undermining the importance of the UX work in general?
I.e. avoiding situations where team members says "yeah, it is a bit complicated - but with some training it will be all right..."

2 Answers 2


First you design the system as if there will be no training. You have to consciously try to imagine that training will not be an option and make the system as usable as possible. This is no trivial thing, as some aspects may need training, no matter how good the UX is.

Once you have done that, you then design the training. This way you should be able to need less training, which should make the training easier and faster - both of which will give you a better UX.

One thing to note here is consistency. Reuse models and methods of interaction as much as possible in your app, so that once a pattern is established in one area in your users mind, the same skills can be used in other areas.


One option is "on the job training"


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

This of course can be overused but sprinkled in it can be effective. A few important pieces to this include: Being able to dismiss if I don't care, a link to learn more and, most importantly, a way to keep track that the user has seen the message so we don't show them something they already know.

  • Hi Chris and welcome :-) I'm afraid your answer doesn't cover exactly what I'm asking... The essence of my question is how to "plan" the training of the end user. I.e. decide that training is an essential part of the "delivery" but avoid that anyone use this as an excuse to make shortcuts (or accept bad solutions) during the design- and development phase. Your answer is well suited for the question "How to integrate training into the user interface"... ;-) Commented Jan 29, 2013 at 15:41
  • 1
    Jørn: thanks, I misunderstood the initial question. I guess my answer could be a way to implement step #2 of JohnGB's answer. Commented Jan 29, 2013 at 16:57

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