Why Accessibility is Key to Boosting Digital Adoption 

The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation by months or even years as many companies evolved their use of technology to support a hybrid work environment. The need for successful adoption of digital applications to avoid disruption, unnecessary costs, and productivity issues is perhaps more important than ever. 

While speed, agility and adaptability have become highly prized attributes in today’s economy, there’s also a danger of moving too fast without having first put the right processes in place. Introducing complex applications requires adequate support and ongoing training to help employees keep up with the transformation and to ensure accessibility. If these are lacking, digitisation is destined to fail. 


Productivity and Accessibility   

Technology has no doubt streamlined tedious and wasteful processes while exponentially increasing productivity for most, if not all, workers and in today’s digital world, it has helped workers to become more efficient than ever before.

However, there are important considerations to ensure efficiency. For instance, can all your employees access your software, and do they all know how to use it – or do many still lean heavily on colleagues or search engines for answers?

The ever-evolving access to new technology can be good for business, but frustrating for employees. Truly accessible technology is technology that people with a wide range of functional abilities can use successfully. In other words, they can interact with it in ways that work best for them. The solutions to address updates and issues must be readily accessible, fast, and intuitive for all employees in real-time, especially with a globally distributed workforce.

According to a recent piece of research from Userlane, 86 percent asserted that their organisation has rolled out new digitised tools and processes in the last 18 months that they’re expected to use regularly. Almost half of this group (43 percent) stated that introducing these tools and processes had left them more frustrated with their jobs.

Technology can indeed be both a boost and a burden to the overall employee experience  it all depends on how successfully a company implements it, how they ensure full accessibility, and how they get employees to understand and use it effectively. A poorly managed induction into new technology with little or no training and additional support will result in a visible drop in productivity.


Slow Adoption  

Another downside of inadequate support and training is a low adoption rate, further contributing to below-par productivity and higher costs. For CTOs or CIOs, this might be difficult to detect, especially if employees are working from home some of the time or in siloed departments. The same applies to unawareness or general avoidance of software use.

The underutilisation of product features is surprisingly high. In one of our customer studies, we learnt that, on average, users (including power users) interact with just 40 percent of the features in software applications they are required to use. The reason for this could be three-fold: either they don’t know how to use the tech, it isn’t accessible, or they don’t see any value in the other features. Therefore, it’s critical to make the software accessible to motivate them to use the technology.

Technology was never created to be a one-size-fits-all solution. It evolves continuously, which is why employees need to be as self-supporting as possible when adopting new technology.

To empower employees to leverage the full power of software applications, focus on the following five areas:


Rethink Your Training methods 

Teaching employees how to use new software via traditional training methods, such as team workshops, are becoming increasingly redundant because new features and functionalities are constantly being added to products. As a result, such training quickly becomes obsolete, which is not only demoralising for employees but running regular, bespoke workshops is also prohibitively expensive and time-consuming.

Rather, they need to “learn and do” simultaneously instead of “learn and then do” and do it autonomously. Using digital adoption platforms (DAPs) to create “embedded training” within commonly used software applications is becoming increasingly important to encourage this self-sufficiency. For example, employees might get access to an interactive guide for lead management to find the right leads in the company’s CRM system.


Focus on the End-User Experience  

Be mindful of the broad impact of how people’s jobs will change and what it will take to achieve adoption and utilisation success. A successful project outcome starts with a thorough understanding of the ultimate impact on the end-user.

Traditional training rarely considers the bespoke needs of the end-user, whereas a DAP can provide the right content at the right time for the right job.

Call on the Experts 

The success of a digital transformation requires a tailored approach to change. As business leaders, we need to actively champion the change process and engage with employees throughout the program.

To guide the overall adoption process, enlist the help of seasoned change management teams. Ultimately, their longer-term aim should be to encourage as much self-sufficiency as possible.


Measure Your Progress 

To address the strategic shifts and adoption behaviours at the organisational level, use analytics to measure and sustain the impact of the change management process.

Analytics will also highlight which features and processes within software products have the highest error rate or lowest adoption rates. This will allow organisations to invest more time in tailoring training content that addresses the right problems.


Make Provision for Disabilities and Different Learning Styles  

Employees with disabilities approach the access of information in different ways, depending on what works best for them. The same applies to older or less digitally savvy employees, where accessibility also needs to address the perceived generational digital divide.

To accommodate such individuals, present your content in multiple formats to maximise the communication process. An example of an accessibility service that benefits various audiences is captioning – a critical necessity for people that are hard of hearing, older adults, and English language learners. Digital adoption platforms provide intuitive on-demand assistance in real-time and are the perfect vehicle to support all employees using new software, including those with learning or disability needs.


Future Outlook 

Digital transformation is impossible without proper digital adoption. In turn, full adoption is only achievable by making it as simple as possible for all employees. Offering constant on-demand support in whatever application employees are using is one of the best paths to simplification.  


By Felix Eichler, Co-Founder and CTO, Userlane