As a former association executive who spent many years working in the association database, I remember the days of having screens with all kinds of fields that no one ever touched. For example, I worked in one system that displayed 16 fields for demographic data about a customer, even though my association didn’t collect any demographic data on our members.

Back in the good old days (the 20th century), in most systems you were stuck with whatever was put on the screen. If you have a field (or many fields!) that you didn’t use, you just ignored them. But they were ever-present on the screen. That’s what I call screen noise.

The good news is that in almost all of today’s modern AMS systems, the user can control what data he or she sees on the screen. Got a field that you’re not using? Just hide it. Need to have key data from other parts of the database showing on your “home” screen? Move those fields to your home screen. The information you need is there, and the noise is gone.

Believe it or not, screen noise can dampen user adoption. So if you have an AMS that will allow you to modify your view, work with your staff to identify what information should be (and should not be) on your home screen. You might be surprised to find that user adoption of the system increases.