Posts Tagged ‘information architecture’

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 – Mapping and continually improving your intranet (Part 5)

August 5, 2011

In this fifth and final post on Designing Intranet Structures I’ll be looking at what should happen once you have agreed the structure of your new or re-designed intranet with your users and stakeholders – mapping and continuously improving your 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 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 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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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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