When schools began offering remote instruction amid COVID-19, between our three kids, we were sorting through multiple emails from 14 different teachers. Almost nothing was streamlined, and it was up to us to organize everyone’s schedules, classroom codes, meeting platforms, and passwords. The day before classes began, it took James two hours to organize all of the logistical information for each of our kids into an organized spreadsheet. While he does relish structuring tabular data, it wasn’t a prime post-work pastime.
Administrators, teachers, students, and workers have all been learning new ways of connecting online. Everyone has been doing an incredible job at getting students and workers the bare necessities for learning and working remotely.
We’re in this for the long-haul. COVID won’t simply disappear when stay-home orders are lifted. Experts tell us we will be dealing with social distancing in some form over the next couple of years.
Step one has been to get systems up and running as quickly as possible in order to keep operating and learning. Step two will involve learning how to streamline information to make users’ experiences more optimal.
Optimal User Experience
Developing remote experiences that are streamlined, functional, consistent, and reliable requires an upfront commitment. In order to ensure that systems and processes are easy to use, organizers must understand their community’s or workforce’s needs and limitations.
Information is readily accessible and easy to find
For our family, learning to use new technology wasn’t the most frustrating barrier; it was compiling all of the information from multiple sources in too many locations: a Youtube channel for one teacher, another who preferred Facebook videos; some links were housed in a Google document, others were sent in an email; Zoom for some meetings, Google classroom for others.
As you consider how to share your system information, remember that your user is likely interfacing with many other remote experiences. So make sure that the information you provide is housed all in one place and is easy to locate.
The best tool for consolidating information is your website.
Dedicate a page on your website to all of the links your users will need. Access control may include things like password-protected pages, membership websites, and user-based access.
Be sure that your users know the password and how to access the site. Send instructions in a single, concise email.
Technology is functional and can handle the bandwidth
Before you launch into your remote instruction or meeting, be sure you’ve used the platform and are comfortable with it. You’ll want to know more than just the basics — be sure you can help users with connectivity issues, get their cameras and mics to work, and offer instruction on how to share their screens.
In addition, be sure that the platform you are using is capable of supporting the number of users you’ll host at one time. Some platforms outshine others in terms of their capabilities.
Importantly, understand what privacy limitations exist and how these may impact your users.
Limit communication to the platform
As much as possible, keep communication limited, concise, and properly structured. Remember, your users are likely juggling multiple online platforms for connection — both for themselves and for other members of their household. Email overload may mean that your information gets buried or unread.
Keeping information, links, passwords, and schedules housed on a website is the best way to ensure that you don’t contribute to bombarding your users with information overload.
Upfront effort saves everyone time
Keeping your remote experience efficient takes a little upfront effort, but in the long run, it will save you time and headaches. A sleek organization system means that your users have a more positive, seamless experience. It also means that you spend less time troubleshooting their issues week-to-week.
A simple website that streamlines information for remote learning/connecting doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive. Boiling Pot Media specializes in building websites that organize and optimize information. If you need support with any of these tools, get in touch. We’d love to help!