Help ButtonTechnology companies are constantly battling usability in real estate. Among our user ranks, we find a great human challenge – the 55-year-old real estate professional. This is the customer.

There are some firms that do it right, and others that do it wrong. I recently saw a great example of software done right, and it is worth sharing. The example illustrates how you can improve software usability by putting help options immediately next to software fields and button functionality to explain them to the user.

One of the most difficult software solutions for usability in real estate is the listing management module. Not only is data entry significant, but there are rules that must be followed to maintain compliance. Mistakes not only lead to frustration but are also are followed by fines. The Keystone™ listing management product developed by Metropolitan Regional Information Systems or MRIS helps agents right where they need it most.

When entering listings into Keystone, there is a drop down where agents can view the pick list choices. Sometimes the agent is not clear which picklist option best describes the property attribute. Keystone delivers help to solve the problem by inserting a support menu behind a clickable field label. If you click the field label, a pop-up window will provide the field definitions for each item on the pick list.

A lot of time you see this level of support offered by putting a clickable question mark next to the item that provides definitions, support, training videos, or even access to live help. All of these “in app” support features help users help themselves; reduces help desk sessions; and increases the usability of the application.

A best practice to improving the usability of your application is to start with your help desk. Take the list of calls and/or emails and rank them in order of volume. Tackle the highest volume issues first. Build help guides for that specific issue and insert the instructions to resolve the issue right into the application.

Some tools that you may want to use to create training and how-to instructions include TechSmith’s Jing Tool, Evernote, and video training using Engajer. Make yourself familiar with these tools and you will enjoy the increased rates of customer satisfaction and reduced help desk calls.