The Key to a Great Service Catalog: Simplicity

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” – Hans Hofman

The Service Catalog is the primary interface between the customer and the service provider, and as such, it can be extremely challenging to create one that is effective. Explaining technical services to a non-technical population can be as difficult as translating information from one language to another. So, how can you help users find what they need in the Service Catalog? Here are two simple ways:

1: Use plain language

One way to optimize your Service Catalog is by using plain and clear language. The need for clear language is magnified by the fact that most people accessing your Service Catalog are probably experiencing an already elevated level of anxiety. The Service Catalog you display should immediately afford a sense of comfort, not add to that anxiety with technical jargon or strings of letters with no meaning outside of the programmer’s lounge.

2: Draw a map

As previously mentioned, when someone visits the Service Catalog, they are already anxious. The service catalog should immediately point users in the right direction, guiding them down the correct path as they look for what they need.

How do we accomplish these two tasks?  Consider these best practices:

  • Use plain language throughout your service catalog.
  • Keep the number of services displayed “above the fold.” Users should not have to scroll to see if what they need is showing up on the page.
  • Avoid technical terms unless and until they are necessary (usually within a sub-category).
  • Test the language and navigation with actual users.
  • Leverage a usage analysis tool (like Google Analytics or Hotjar) to determine where users run into dead ends.

Are you creating a Service Catalog?  What steps are you taking to ensure optimal usage?

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