By David Dick | STC Fellow

Once upon a time, I believed that winning user acceptance and influencing change was as easy as writing about a system’s new features and functions, providing training, and answering users’ questions. It’s not. I have learned that people are skeptical of change because they do not trust that the change will be beneficial. Their lack of trust is based on previous experiences, what they have heard, and what they have read.

Many organizations use “the cloud” to run applications and data storage. However, the cloud can be vulnerable to hacking when stringent security measures are not implemented. Cloud providers can be slow to report hacking because there are no laws or regulations that require cloud providers to inform users when a cloud platform is hacked and users’ data stolen. Despite the advantages of cloud computing, failure to protect data from unauthorized access affects peoples’ confidence that cloud computing is for them.

Newly-hired managers always promise to modernize legacy tools and technology, but employees have heard it all before. Because employees have heard such promises before, and modernization did not happen, they do not trust management. Successful implementation of new tools and technologies requires a thorough understanding of how existing tools are used and how technology interfaces with other systems to push and pull data; such research is often overlooked because it’s time consuming. Legacy employees know that legacy tools and technology are dependable and reliable, which is more than can be said about new tools and technologies that are unproven to the people who will use them most.

Organizations see artificial intelligence as the future; replacing humans to answer questions and make decisions. True, a computer can sift through extensive knowledge bases faster than humans can, but, the machine is only as effective as the accuracy of the information it accesses. There’s something more to consider—people are more likely to trust the word of a renowned and respected expert than that of a machine.

Trust is an integral part of the user experience and key to successful user acceptance. Users have a right to expect that the products and services they use are safe, secure, dependable, and reliable. Anything to the contrary should not be shipped to market. Unfortunately, this happens all the time. Never take users’ trust for granted.


Consider reading these posts.

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Certified Professional Technical Communicator Textbook
How CPTC Certification Changed My Career
Talking Usability: Usability as a Product Differentiator

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