Monday, February 4, 2013


Service desk analystA while ago, I was given the opportunity to spend a few hours at the service desk of one of our customers. There were 6 analysts (including the service desk manager) providing first line support to around 3,000 end users. A fairly typical corporate service desk.

Being allowed to observe how people use ITRP always provides a wonderful opportunity to see if they are using it the way we envisioned. Sometimes this gives us some ideas to improve usability and that is exactly what happened here.

User selection in the Service Desk consoleThe thing that surprised me was that the analysts were not clearing the Service Desk console between calls. We had intended the Service Desk console icon to be used for that. Instead, they were highlighting the name of the previous caller and overwriting it with the new caller.

Using the mouse to click and drag over a name is a relatively complex mouse action. Still, it was apparently more intuitive to overwrite the name of the previous caller when the name of a new caller had to be selected, even though clicking on the toolbar icon may have been easier.

User selected in the Service Desk consoleSo we decided to improve the usability of the Service Desk console a little. Now a 'clear' button is displayed behind the name of the selected user. A click on this button will empty the Service Desk console so that a different user can be selected. While we were at it, we dramatically decreased the time it takes for the Service Desk console to reset (also when it is cleared in the way it was originally intended, i.e. by clicking on the toolbar icon).

And then we took it another step further. Some service desk analysts told me that they would like to have a quick way to open the Person record of the selected user. That would allow them to, for example, quickly add the user's mobile phone number. To make this possible, we decided to hyperlink the name of the selected user. So when you click on the name, the user's Person record will open in a separate browser tab. There, the user's information can be updated. After that's done the analyst can return to the previous tab to complete the registration of the user's request.

This is a beautiful win-win-win. The service desk analysts get what they need to make their work a little easier, the business users get served more quickly, and it improves the support organization's efficiency. So ITRP...