Archive for the 'Projects' Category

Intranet resources – the eternal vicious circle

November 6, 2011

Intranets don’t work. Why? Because  not enough resources are given to them to ensure they have a chance of success. Why aren’t resources made available? Because intranets don’t work. A vicious circle is born.

In this post I’m attempting to provide an approach that may help intranet teams to make the case for better resources and to break out of this vicious circle for good.

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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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The 10 do’s and don’ts of website development

December 23, 2009

To date I haven’t really used this blog to link to other articles as I wanted to use it mainly for new ideas (plus the fact that James Robertson does a better job at pulling together articles and resources than I ever could).

 However I am going to make an exception for Eric Reiss’s  article ‘The 10 do’s and don’ts of website development’. Much of what Eric says is totally applicable to intranets too so it’s well worth a read.

I have to admit that I have always had a soft spot for Eric since attending the previous two Euro IA conferences where Eric’s company, Fatdux, contributed to the free beer the night before the conferences opened with Eric himself enthusiastically hosting the events. Somehow the conference itself seemed a little anti-climactic after that!

Improving your intranet – keep it sustainable using kaizen

January 25, 2009

elephantThings can go so badly wrong with an intranet that the intranet team is left floundering.  Many intranet teams can get dispirited because the myriad of problems seem insurmountable, the size of a mountain, or at least an elephant.

What usually happens then is that an equally large re-design project with the turning circle of an oil tanker is initiated. However vital parts of the re-design don’t work or even make the problem worse and at the end of the project the team throw their hands up in the air in exasperation and doom and gloom descends once more. Sound familiar?

James Robertson talking at the BBC last year stated research has shown that  intranet re-designs in general do not work and Lou Rosenfeld, as quoted in the Brainspill blog,  felt that many re-designs were only skin deep anyway –

‘Re-design” implies only a cosmetic change. Too many redesigns are just changing the window dressing on the same product – decidedly not changing the product itself.  If the problem that prompts a redesign is that the information isn’t being used (because it’s not well presented/organized/found/etc), then changing what color it is doesn’t genuinely help.’

So what is to be done? How can we get rid of the elephant? Simple – we eat it. And how do you eat an elephant? One slice at a time ……or in other words by adopting kaizen.

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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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