Posts Tagged ‘ia’

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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Knowledge (Part 2) – an enterprise-wide methodology

September 5, 2009

KM_Post_Quinn_AnyaIn Part 1 of this post I gave an overview to the process of levering knowledge and creating information (KLIC) in the workplace through carrying out a simple knowledge gap analysis or ‘information audit’.  This approach works well when levering knowledge from an individual or small group of people for a particular purpose. But what about an approach that can work across a whole organization as an ongoing knowledge initiative? I was prompted to think about this by a response from someone to the original post who admitted that a lot of this ‘knowledge’ stuff was confusing and was asking for a simple, practical and above all logical methodology or set of tools that could be used by virtually anyone in any organization.

Therefore in this post I will attempt to outline a metholodolgy for carrying out an organization wide knowledge initiative based on an approach that I have found to work very well in the past – the Quality Circle. The approach is fairly non-prescriptive and should be scalable for organizations of different sizes and with varying resources.

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The elevator interview – ultra quick intranet user research

July 8, 2009

Elevator_metamaroisWant to get some fast feedback on your intranet but both time and resources are very limited? Try the user research version of the elevator pitch – the elevator interview.

I stumbled across this technique when carrying out some user research in one of our sites and the intranet webmaster who was my tour guide for the day kept bumping into people she knew in the elevator (or lift in the UK). She asked them what they thought of the intranet and I was really surprised at how much information could be transferred in a very short time. I also got the feeling that, as time was short, users had little time to be polite and so I got a better picture of their true feelings.

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The Lean Intranet: Intranet 2.0 and Intranet 3.0

June 28, 2009

In the third of three articles on the Lean Intranet, I discuss the implementation of Intranet 2.0 and look beyond to what Intranet 3.0 might look like. You can access the article on the FUMSI website.

If you have any comments I’d be grateful if you could post them here.

Intranet Content – dealing with the technical stuff

June 26, 2009

IS_PresA while ago I was surprised to be invited to talk about the ‘Lean Intranet’ at the Intranet Summit in Frankfurt. I was even more surprised when I first looked at the programme and found out that in fact I was to be was the keynote speaker opening the summit. A real honour indeed!

 The summit lasted two days, finishing yesterday, and I enjoyed every minute. Before I launched my presentation I explained that one reason why I was always thrilled when I attend intranet conferences, of which there isn’t enough in my opinion, was that I knew I was with people who have felt the same pain as myself. When I said this it raised a lot of wry smiles. I think that conferences such as the Intranet Summit are vital in raising the morale of intranet workers who can often feel very isolated and under-appreciated in their own organizations.

I need to thank Stephan Schillerwein of the IntranetMatters blog who was kind enough to act as interpreter and especially Bjoern Negelmann and Thomas Koch of Kongress Media who looked after me as if I were a visiting king. Although my foreign language skills are virtually non-existent, and most of the presentations were in German, I found that I could understand quite a bit as they were also using ‘intranet speak’ and some of the screenshots were very informative. The networking afterwards was really rewarding and I must thank everyone I spoke to for switching to English when I was around. That was real hospitality.

 I could go on for longer about what a good time I had but, not wanting to be the boring guy who goes on for ages about how great his holidays were, I’ll get to the point of this post.

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Intranets: defining IA and UX in the Enterprise-wide Information System (Part 2)

May 15, 2009


In Part 1 of this post I’ve tried to define a generic Enterprise-wide Information System (EIS) and reflect what is happening currently in many organization’s EIS. I’ve tried to show that the approach to considering information and knowledge transfers is at best fragmented and at worst not done at all. In this second post I’m going to describe the benefits of the EIS approach, how it might relate to IT and knowledge in the enterprise and also to look at the differences in working and managing the EIS as compared to current arrangements.

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The Lean Intranet – Part Two: Intranet 1.0

May 6, 2009

The second part of a three part series of articles on the Lean Intranet, where I discuss how a robust Intranet 1.0 might be achieved, is now available on the FUMSI website.

If you have any comments I’d be grateful if you could post them here.

Intranets: defining IA and UX in the Enterprise-wide Information System (Part 1)

April 21, 2009

question_mark_atomicityIn information architecture (IA) and user experience (UX) discussion lists there are bursts of manic activity that periodically break out. Hundreds of posts a day flood the lists; many of them at odds with each other and some quite angrily so. What is it that causes these periodic convulsions? DTDT.

It stands for ‘defining the damn thing’. Every so often some brave soul sticks his or her head over the parapet and launches a grenade in the form of either an attempted definition of IA/UX or questions a previous definition and a rapid chain reaction then occurs. Personally I think that it is incredibly difficult to define IA and UX as applied to web based activities as the requirements for IAs and UX professionals can vary greatly from case to case. This may in some part be due to – 

  • Each website design may have some unique features
  • Drivers may be different for each site
  • Clients expectations for deliverables may vary widely
  • Ways of working may differ widely from company to company. What an IA or UX does in one agency may be very different to what’s expected in another
  • Influencing factors in the environment may also vary greatly
  • As IA and UX design are fairly new disciplines an overall consensus with regard to best practice in many areas has yet to be reached

I think that’s why the favourite answer that many IAs give to general questions is  ‘It depends….’

But what about defining what we do with intranets? Could such a definition more easily include information architecture and user experience activities ? I think it’s a possibility. So wish me luck as I’m now going to stick my head over the parapet.

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The Lean Intranet: Part 1 Intranet Zero

February 2, 2009

I’ve written more on the concept of the Lean Intranet . In the first of three articles for FUMSI I discuss what I call Intranet Zero.

I’d be grateful if you would post any comments on the article here.

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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