Archive for November, 2008

Simplify your intranet by using PDFs – but DON’T make documents searchable

November 29, 2008

pdf1Reading the Document Imaging Blog about how Google are now indexing PDFs and using OCR to make them searchable made me think about PDFs in general and whether searchable PDFs and other document formats are a good thing for intranets or not. At the moment I guess that search in most intranets doesn’t index PDFs but there are search products out there that will allow you to search all documents in your intranet.

As you can probably guess from the title I come down on the side of not making PDFs and documents searchable within an intranet for the reasons I give below.

I am not against using PDFs, in fact I find them extremely useful. Bundling up content in discrete sets as PDF documents in intranets makes absolute sense in many cases.

The advantages are –

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Minimise your project failures by using FMEAs

November 10, 2008

risk2I am now working as an information architect getting involved in all sorts of web and intranet projects and the question I recently asked myself was ‘If I only had one tool or approach that I could use in such projects what might that be?’ Without any hesitation the answer would be FMEA.

Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is an approach that is aimed at reducing project risk and it is simple, intuitive, collaborative and team based. It has been used extensively in the defence and automotive industries for many decades and I have seen the approach prove itself time after time. So what is it and how can it be applied to web and intranet projects?

It is about getting the right people together at the right time and asking the right question. The right people are those who are going to be involved directly in the project and who have relevant experience and knowledge. The right time is before the project has kicked off and when sufficient hard information is available to enable the team to make informed judgments during the compliation of the FMEA . The right question – ‘What could possibly go wrong?’.

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