In seeing hundreds of websites with a link to MySchoolBuilding, I have viewed a wide spectrum of approaches. In an another blog post, we will delve into full department sites, but in the meantime, let's summarize the exceptional approaches for a "customer interaction" page:
1) The "MySchoolBuilding" Link
If you provide a simple link of www.myschoolbuilding.com, this adds an extra step for new users by which they must manually enter your 9-digit account number. Some organizations prefer this as they may want to control exactly who has access, but for first-time "requesters", they often do not. It is ultimately your preference.
Want a list of links to speed up self-registration for requesters/customers? Download the SchoolDude MSB URL Generator spreadsheet where you can enter your SchoolDude Account Number and see the resulting web addresses to give to your webmaster.
Note concerning existing users assigned a Requester role: the account number is not required and they may login via www.myschoolbuilding.com or through links identified in option 2 below:
2) Include a Link For "Non-Requesters" That Saves 2-3 Clicks
You have Site Administrators, Technicians, Supervisors, etc., so give them a place to log in.
Create a link for "Submit a xxxxx Request" for customer access and another for "Department Login" for all other users.
One client's page had 3 links as entrances for requesters vs. site admins vs. department staff. , Technically, 2 were the same web address and it didn't matter which of the 3 a requester clicked, they were simply making the process easy.
Instead of https://www.schooldude.com and clicking "login" and then picking a software option, consider these options for our most used applications:
3) Multiple Departments? Link Them.
You do not want another department's requests, so mention "To submit a xxxxx request, visit xxxxx"
4) Include Instructions
Keep text very basic and to the point. For more detailed help guide, create a document of instructions specific to your organization and include a link to download the guide vs. filling up a webpage.
Need templates? Download these Requester Guides as Word documents for editing. Be sure to save them as PDF versions for use on your website as most devices and computers can open that format.
5) Use Videos
People prefer a visual vs. reading.
Have an A/V department or club? They may be looking for a "real world" project. One of the better examples I saw for a Community Use page was an interview video of a staff member on why they were transitioning online. They used this "why" video just above a help video.
Prefer to DIY a short video? Consider recording on a smartphone or tablet. Personally, I use a plug-in for my Google Chrome browser called SnagIt by TechSmith. I use a USB microphone to record the audio while I am simultaneously recording my screen or a PowerPoint in show mode. The files are stored in your Google Drive and you can convert the videos with audio into a variety of formats to download or link to (MP4 works well).
Need a video? We have videos hosted on Vimeo in which your webmaster can quickly grab an "embedding code" to insert in a webpage like this.
Entering Event Requests from SchoolDude on Vimeo.
6) Include FAQs
You will have Frequently Asked Questions by your staff, so use your page or a link to a PDF document to address them. This will save phone calls, emails and irritations.
7) Think About Web Searching
Your customers do not know what the "Dude" is, but they know what a trip request, a work request, facility reservation, etc. is. We love seeing someone referencing our company name like "Just Dude It" or "Submit-a-Dude", but also include phrases in your page that will show up in search engines on your website.
Having a page on your website for request submissions is an essential tool that doubles as a professional representation of your department. Use a variety of approaches and "think as your customers think" to provide them an optimal online experience.