Let’s take a look at the six chief reasons why your users might have fallen out of love with your DAM system and the lessons you can learn:
Reason #1: The interface is unintuitive and unfriendly
Many DAMs tend to be conceived and built by technicians rather than by branding and marketing people. The technician’s approach is naturally designed to appeal to technical people, but what’s really required is design by people who understand what non-technical users need.An interface that’s clunky to use, unintuitive to navigate, difficult to manage and confusing to look at will intimidate users. And they will prefer to avoid using it -- simple as that.
Lesson: Keep the UI clean, intuitive and appealing
Reason #2: Too many near duplicates
We frequently see DAM systems that hold far too many duplicate assets in a variety of formats and sizes. One client’s existing DAM had more than 20 versions of the same image in every permutation of size and file format. A system like this makes for a confusing and frustrating user experience. To improve the UX and reduce system complexity, store just one high-res version of an asset and give users download options to get the file in whichever format they need.
Lesson: Cull duplicate assets and provide download wizards
Reason #3: Poor quality or irrelevant assets
Poor quality and irrelevant assets will frustrate the end-user, who has to spend unnecessary time hunting down the particular asset he/she needs. The efficient, effective DAM contains only up-to-date, quality assets that are relevant to the current brand values and standards. Fewer quality assets to choose from also reduces risk of error or inconsistency in content the user may be creating.
Lesson: Delete assets that don’t contribute to building the brand or enhance your marketing
Reason #4: Too many out-of-date assets
Never import and store old and out-of-date files into a new system. Review digital assets and cull any that are out of date or irrelevant. A ruthless clean-out will prevent the system from getting bogged down in a swamp of old files and unwieldy file structures. The effective DAM enables a user to tag assets with a review date or lifespan -- that ensures all content is up to date and avoids potential legal issues around licensing images.
Lesson: Cull out-of-date assets on a regular basis
Reason #5: Too many metadata fields
The user needs to be able to tag assets with metadata fields, but will probably be less inclined to do so if faced with too many field options. Keep metadata fields to a minimum to encourage people to populate them. It’s also worth pointing out that overreliance on free-text fields can result in human error and personal interpretation during tagging.
|Editor's Note: You can read further points in David Diamond's article Lost in the DAM|
Lesson: Balance the number of metadata fields to avoid over-facing the user with data to update
Reason #6: No assets returned for popular assets
Make popular assets readily available. Unreturned searches will only frustrate users and prompt them to revert to manual requests for digital assets. Common reasons for unreturned assets within a system include: misspellings (especially with global systems); delay in getting assets on to the system after a new campaign or products are released; and permission errors. Run reports for the most popular searches regularly. Coupled with reports on popular searches that didn’t return any results, this will provide a good understanding on how the system is being used.
Lesson: Use data and reports to amend metadata fields so assets can be found easily
Title image by Christina (Flickr) via a CC BY-ND 2.0 license