What “Easy to Use” Really Means: features to examine when considering emergency notification systems


When an emergency notification system offers as a feature that it’s “easy to use”, that term can mean different things to different users.

In real use what exactly does “easy to use” mean and how can an emergency office determine how a particular emergency notification system will fit with the day to day operations of the staff. Here are some of the basic factors in comparing systems:

1) The log in should be simple when the website appears. It should be a one step process of ID and PIN or something similar. Sites that use terms such as “enter” before allowing a user to log in or multi step processes waste precious time in an emergency.

2) The main controls should be organized into usable and recognizable categories such as ACCOUNT, LISTS, etc. so that the user  has very little “re-orienting” to do to use the system.

3) The site should be visually clear in terms of color and contrast of buttons/drop downs/fields. Not all users “see” the screen the same way, so it must be presented as visibly clear to the widest possible audience.

4) The speed of processing for either adding information or switching functions should be rapid. When information is filled into a field for a function and the enter button is activated, the response should feel rapid  to the user.

5) There should as little clutter on any page as possible. In particular, the page that configures the “launch” of a campaign will need to be clear in providing the steps for launch, one at a time, leading the user easily through the process. Remember that the user may be under stress and this affects both memory and analytical functions in the brain.

You may want to begin to make a list of other features you find important for your own  emergency office. When you do, contact Hyper-Reach and we’ll give you more details.