Where I think the next round of major improvements in records management effectiveness are going to come from

User experience research.

I think it’s the core of what’s missing from records management.

We have a unique value proposition – which is the concept of business evidence and it is timeless and will be fit for purpose forever. But…

20 years ago a different group of people started doing records management.

Records management went from being done by professionals to being something that was done by people using what professionals had built.

Simply put, 20 years ago, we started to have to look after users.

But no one has ever trained us to look after users.

Universities don’t teach us how to look after users.

There’s no research into the the link between how we build systems, and the effectiveness of those systems.

And we can’t get them to use what we’ve built.

Because we have rules of thumb that worked when we didn’t have users but that I think now actively work against adoption by them.

Rules like “you can’t have a fixed term above a variable term” in a classification scheme – which are convenient for us, but which I think mean that people who would use our systems go somewhere else.

Don’t agree?

That’s the problem – there’s no agreement, no central pool of research that says “this works, this doesn’t.”

There’s no A/B testing.

No card sort.

We need user experience focused research to tell us why we can’t get the bar up.

We need it to save us from the practices that used to work.

If you’re already doing this, know someone who is, or would be interested in doing some research in the area, I’d love to talk to you about it – please reach out https://www.linkedin.com/in/karlmelrose/

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