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So we all know the goal of UX is to develop simple designs that require little training. However some complex system just require training, no matter how well the UI is designed. My question is should training sit in UX? Parallel to UX? Do they have the same mission? Different missions? How is your organization structured?

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Training is not what it used to be

The practice of app training is undergoing big changes:

  • The past: app training was people-based. A trainer would conduct a class or a one-on-one session to train users.

  • Today: training is multi-modal, involving app design, self-service materials, self-administered qualification, and sometimes in-person training.


What does this mean to the modern training organization?

  • Setting up training is a parallel process to UX design. It doesn't matter where training sits (under, over, next to, or in a different time zone or org function). What matters is for training to establish a clear partnership with UX throughout the design process.

  • In order for training to be ready in time for app release, the training team needs to do some or all of the following:

    • Prepare training materials (these will include real screenshots)
    • Figure out training certification levels/tests/programs
    • Figure out what level of automation to implement (self service videos, training websites, etc)
    • Coordinate with support to establish smooth support<->training handovers
    • Train-the-trainers - If in-person training is involved, then teachers need to be trained and certified.
    • Work with the documentation team to ensure reasonable re-use and integration of documentation with training guidelines/programs.
    • Work with the marketing/website team to highlight training opportunities or requirements
    • And much more...

This list makes it obvious that training needs to get involved early in the UX process, and there needs to be a reasonable amount of organization to ensure that training and UX aren't creating redundant work and/or creating confusion for users before, during and after app rollout.

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Regardless of how the training team is structured within your organisation, their interaction with UX designers come from the insight and access they have to users, and their understanding of the context in which the application is being used. Therefore, there should be a clear channel of communication and feedback from the training team/personnel to the UX team/designer if you want to be able to involve them at both the research and testing phases of projects.

A similar question can be posed for the customer service/support team as well, and in some organisations these are separate teams because they are consider either 'pre-sales' or 'post-sales' services.

Another variation of the training team is a 'professional services' section where 'training' activities are only provided as a service rather than something built into the existing product, and the goal is not to provide training for the users, but to show them how to use the product better.

So I guess the best answer is that if your UX philosophy is an integrated, collaborative and holistic organisational endeavour, then they would probably run in parallel and have the same mission. But if your UX philosophy is about adding value to each of the different processes within the organisation, then you would probably work with the different teams at each particular stage of the product lifecycle.

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This is an interesting question. I think that for internal apps the training staff may be a very good place to go to to help flesh out user profiles and get an idea of how target groups have responded to other rollouts.

As part of the UX team you need to know how the people are currently using the system and, yes, the training team may be useful here; and it may be useful to ask them how "they" would improve the system." But if you have access to the end users (and they're motivated to help) then they should be your first choice.

After the initial consults I think the training team may be more problematic than helpful as their focus, their training, may pull the conversation away from where you need to go.

When your team is brainstorming; when you're designing the user flow and working through the details ("So he gets [here] by right-clicking this field. Then what? Does the div expand or ...") At this point I do not see the training team being helpful.

It may be useful to present mock-ups to them (as a test run) before you go back to business users but I would be shocked if the Training team has the time or the inclination to be that involved in the testing process. And they certainly will not have the product knowledge to help in the trenches.

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