Archive for the 'content strategy' Category

Dis/integrate your intranet for a better user experience (Part 2)

October 7, 2012

 In Part 1 of this post I discussed how we could do away with the traditional homepage altogether and restructure an intranet with the focus being on the My Stuff section. In this approach the My Stuff section will not only contain personal data and tasks such as salary details and booking time off but also a personalised view of relevant content held in the other sections. Of course the question then arises of how this might be done. I am going to suggest some approaches but I’m hoping that this post might start a conversation and other, probably better, ideas as to how My Stuff might be made to work will be suggested. The probability is that no one solution will work perfectly but then again we shouldn’t be looking for perfection. If we only make 50% of the content users regularly need easily available in My Stuff then we will have saved out users a massive amount of time and frustration

Let’s start with a very low tech approach…

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Dis/integrate your intranet for a better user experience (Part 1)

October 2, 2012

There’s a conference being held in a few days and one of its features is Do you have the best intranet homepage? This got me thinking and I had a look at some sample homepages from ‘award winning intranets’ and, to be honest, I  felt vaguely depressed.  It took me a while to figure out why, which I did with the help of one of Jakob Nielsen’s posts from a few years ago. It showed a composite image of ten intranet homepages which showed a strong commonality and the most recent ones don’t look much different.

It has been claimed that the homepage reflects the whole intranet, if that is so then all intranets are overly complicated and stuff content packages that have no relevance to each other into a big bag labelled ‘intranet’.

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Designing intranet structures – defining and re-defining your intranet structure (Part 4)

July 31, 2011

In Part 3 I discussed how the design of URLs can play a big part in forming the initial structure of your new or re-designed intranet. In this post I’ll explain how users and stakeholders can contribute to defining the structure, why iteration is the key to a good intranet structure, why content is important and why thinking of the future is important.

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Content Centred Design – A methodology (Part 2)

July 13, 2010

In Part 1 I discussed the importance of considering content during the whole of the design process and the need to give it the same weight that the user through UCD/UX currently receives in most web projects. So how might this be accomplished?

I recognize that all web projects are unique is some way and any approach has to be tailored, so in this post I’m going to provide a fairly high level methodology, a methodology however that gives users and content the same emphasis. It has now become the norm that the needs and wants of users are considered at every stage of a project. I want content to have the same recognition.

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Content Centred Design for websites – an overview (Part 1)

June 20, 2010

This post is about content and how it should be recognized as a major player in any web design or intranet project. I have written about the concept of content centred design before and how online versions of hard copy content objects can lead to a much diminished user experience. I used the online dictionary as an example of this.

I wrote then that –

‘Content must be viewed as a stakeholder’

‘content has a structure and a purpose which is independent of the user or web designer’

Nothing I have seen in the time since I wrote the above has changed my mind. Content must be considered as important a stakeholder in the design process as the user in order to ensure a balanced, rational approach to any web design project. By ignoring this fact designers and web teams are overlooking an essential element that would contribute to a better final product.  By either ignoring content, or leaving any consideration to near the end of a project, the final design has a high likelihood of being sub-optimal.

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Content Value Analysis for Intranets Part 2 – A methodology

October 8, 2008

content2I’ve written before on an approach called Content Value Analysis (CVA) and I’ve now produced the detail of how this might be done in practice. Chiara Fox of Adaptive Path in her presentation on Content Analysis came closest to this approach when she talked about Content Audits at Euro IA 2008.

However there is a crucial difference between our approaches – the use of statistical techniques and documented heuristics. No don’t reach for that mouse yet! What I’m suggesting is not difficult, will give great substance to your final analysis and will probably save you a lot of work.

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Content value analysis for intranets

September 14, 2008

It might go something like this –

– Sampling would have to represent a fair percentage of the content and samples would have to be taken from several areas of a site or sub-site. Areas must be selected without bias. In an intranet with 1,000 pages a fair sample might be at a minimum 5%, that is 50 pages, or you could use statistical tables for sample sizes.

– Each page would be examined and scored for its value against a set of heuristics e.g. if content is obsolete, outside of a review date, incorrect, incomplete or irrelevant the score would be 0. If there is some value on the page it could be marked as 0.5 and if the page content generally has value the score would be 1. Perhaps screen dumps of representative non-value adding pages might form part of a results document. 

– The scores would then be aggregated and presented as a percentage e.g. if after appraisal of our sample 50 pages the score is 28.5, then we could present the site as providing only 57% of the possible content value to its users

This might encourage content owners to improve their scores by ensuring that non-value adding pages are deleted, reviewed or that good content is added. I think that the trick in making this approach work will be in defining the heuristics and finding a way of removing any bias from the sample.

Using this approach (I call it ‘Content Value Analysis’ as it has to be called something) it should be possible to benchmark sites and parts of sites against each other by using the same heuristics and, if done periodically, to chart improvement trends in the value a site offers its users.

Hopefully this approach will provide intranet managers with a tool that allows them to assess content in a structured way, produce a number that will accurately reflect the state of the content within the site evaluated and then to repeat the process over time to ensure that the intranet is going in the right direction – towards the lean intranet. Results can then be presented graphically as bar charts or graphs – a form of information that most senior managers are comfortable with and understand.

For a more complete description of the methodology see Part 2