As hard as I have tried, I cannot get resources away from their spreadsheets for tracking their more minor tasks or for tracking tasks that have a more detailed process to complete than Project can display comfortably. I have found that reverting to linking their worksheets to a task seems to fit both needs of getting the detail in and allowing a comfort level for the resource. We will never get away from separate Excell workbooks that I can see. I know that is not what you want but for now it may help.
Link separate files in the Information column with a hyperlink.