Presentation on theme: "Designing information architecture: theory and practice"— Presentation transcript:
1 Designing information architecture: theory and practice I. IA as theory• Information interaction as a basis for IA• Cognitive work analysisII. IA work• IA checklists• IA and library portalsIII. IA practice• What do IAs have to know?• What do IAs do?• IA deliverables
2 I. IA as theoryInformation interaction: Providing a framework for information architectureToms believes that there is a gap in our understanding of how we interact with information technologiesThe model of information interaction can address this gap and provide a theoretical basis for IA~What is an example of a way in which a web interface enhances the information task? Of an interface that hinders an information task?~Apply the concept of information interaction to your use of a web site - what happens?
3 Primarily use of GUI with some command line work I. IA as theoryToms argues that the initial focus should be how people interact in information-rich environmentsInteraction: situated action with an IS involving querying, browsing (filling a gap in HCI)Primarily use of GUI with some command line workWe “immerse ourselves” in infoIA enables access by providing a systematic and primarily visual approach to the organization of contentIA facilitates the quest for informationToms, E.G. (2002). Information interaction: Providing a framework for information architecture. JASIST, 53(10),
4 I. IA as theoryHow information interaction (II) occursWe can come to a system with an “information task”Problem-solving: we go through a patterned process and end with a relevance judgmentWe can also have chance encounters, encounters with information, scanning activitiesThese are less patterned but still end with some type of judgmentThen we browse, navigate, search, evaluate…II is the basis of the person’s use experience and is shaped by web technology
5 A model of information interaction Formulate goal: object or purpose I. IA as theoryA model of information interactionFormulate goal: object or purposeSelect category: approach system and select search termNote cues: landmarksExtract informationIntegrate informationEvaluateToms (2002; 658)
6 II depends on system, user, and content I. IA as theoryII depends on system, user, and contentUser-system: browsing or querying the system; respond to system outputSystem-content: applying rules to content for storage, manipulation, retrievalUser-content: reading, evaluating, analyzing outputCould be most importantToms (2002, 859)
7 I. IA as theoryA case study of collaborative information retrieval Fidel et al use a “cognitive work analysis” approach to conduct a case study of collaborative IR to uncover the factors that influence people's information behaviors After contrasting psychological, social, and multidimensional approaches to information behaviors they focus on the human-information interactions that occur in people's routine work activities ~How does collaboration in the workplace influence people's information behaviors? ~What is the advantage of using cognitive work analysis to study ways people use information in the workplace?
8 Prior work as focused on a single dimension I. IA as theoryRecent activity has focused on theoretical development in human-information interactionCritical: what is the set of variables that matter when considering this interaction?Prior work as focused on a single dimensionThey use a naturalistic approach to uncover the factors that make a difference in this type of IIThey found that the factors that influence CIR are in different dimensions that interact with each otherFidel, R., Pejtersen, A.M., Cleal, B. and Bruce, H. (2004). A multidimensional approach to the study of human-information interaction: A case study of collaborative information retrieval. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 55(11),
9 I. IA as theoryThe prevailing approach in information behavior research in LIS is psychological It focuses primarily on cognitive factors and less on others, such as affective and perceptual factors How cognition shapes information behavior Allows quantification and measurement, and prediction The objects of study are cognitive states and processes in relation to information behavior Important concept is “information need” Problem: ignores sociocultural, organizational, and technical dimensions
10 I. IA as theoryThe social approach focuses primarily on social, organizational, and political states and processes as impetus for information behaviorFocuses on the social context, interactions, and discourse through which II occursDoes not consider the concept of information need as central to the understanding of information behaviorThe study of information behavior cannot be based on isolated individuals, or outside a specific contextProblem: research with the social approach offers few descriptive generalizations about information behavior
11 I. IA as theoryMultidimensional approach assumes human information behavior takes place in complex contextsAlso that we are goal drivenThe better this complexity is understood and analyzed, the more relevant the outcomes of research will be to the design of information systems and servicesRequires flexible methods to understand information seeking in context (use as well)Studies using a multidimensional approach typically focus on a specific group of people, in a certain context, performing a particular task
12 I. IA as theoryThey use “cognitive work analysis”Based on general systems thinking, adaptive control systems, and ecological psychologyFocuses on work activities, their organizational relationships, and constraints of the work placeAlso actors’ cognitive and social activities and guiding values, priorities and personal preferences performing tasks on the jobIt is a holistic approach that makes it possible to account for several dimensions
13 Designing information architecture: theory and practice I. IA as theory• Information interaction as a basis for IA• Cognitive work analysisII. IA work• IA checklists• IA and library portalsIII. IA practice• What do IAs have to know?• What do IAs do?• IA deliverables
14 II. IA workBuilding an Information architecture checklistDowney and Banerjee describe the method by which they developed an IA checklist that can be used in the evaluation of system architectureTheir goal is to embed the checklist in the larger process of an architectural review~What is the version of IA that is used in their approach? How does it differ from the approach we have discussed?~If you were evaluating the IA of a system, would you use the checklist? Why or why not?
15 IA must be part of the systems development process II. IA workDefinition: The art and science of organizing information to support findability, manageability and usefulness from the infrastructural level to the user interface levelAn enterprise wide activity that includes data architecture and metadata and knowledge managementCan be strategic and top down (big IA) or tactical and bottom up (small IA)Big IA focuses on user experience, little IA focuses on information organizationIA must be part of the systems development processDowney, L. and Banerjee, S. (2011). Building an Information Architecture Checklist: Encouraging and Enabling IA from Infrastructure to the User Interface Architecture. Journal of Information Architecture 2(2).
16 II. IA workChecklist: a mechanism for reminding and prompting attention to issues or topicsCan be general: outlining the steps in a processCan be specific: listing detailed items to be addressedUsed in software engineering architectural reviewFind design problems earlyManage and leverage software and hardware infrastructureIdentify technology gapsEnable most productive use of information assets
17 II. IA workPurpose: remind reviewers of pertinent areas and specific issues to be addressed during systems designExisting IA checklists checklists focus more on process, design, and design reviewDo not include issues of infrastructure, platform, services, technology, policy, and standardsException: an informal search checklistIncludes system architecture, performance, access control, relevance tuning, federated search and analytics
18 II. IA workBuilding the checklist: basic structurePreparing and organizing informationArchitecture: structure and composition of a repository, information collection or individual documentIntelligence: enriched content, metadata, categorizationAccessing informationSearch and retrieval: querying information and obtaining matching resultsFindability: quality of being locatable or navigable
19 II. IA workRevised checklistInformation organization: Taxonomy, modeling, structure, semanticsInformation generation: content, user experience, system interface, scalability, standardsInformation integration: analytics, search, compositionInformation consumption: search, metrics, monitoringInformation governance: stewardship, master data management, reuse, policyInformation quality of service: security, availability, reliability, usefulness
20 II. IA workFinal checklistConsumption: general, availability, metricsGeneration: general, extraction, characteristics, metricsOrganization: modeling, classification, semantics, structure, user experienceAccess: search, discovery, analytics, user experience, navigation, system interface, metricsGovernance: stewardship, classification, policyQuality of service: security, availability, reliability, scalability, usefulness
21 II. IA workEmbeddingBusiness unit identifies need for new information systemOIT Intake process: checklist is used with high level questionsContract award: detailed IA solution considerations usedImplementation: IA activities carried out
22 II. IA workLibrary portals and information architecture: Librarians emerging info-architectsEke argues that librarians should be the main IAs when designing library portals because they are uniquely qualified to do this workRoles include: content creators, copyright experts, digital reference service personnel, metadata creators, portal creators~Do you agree that librarians make good IAs?~Think of a library portal with which you are familiar - how could its IA be improved?
23 II. IA workPortal: a web site or service that provides information content to serve a specific communityAn “anchor” or starting point making all the types of information (destinations) available to a designated audience by passing through the one pointSystems which gather a variety of useful information resources into a single, “one stop” web pageA browser experience that has an entry point (or gateway) that is a starting point for a user experienceEke, H.N. (2011). Library portals and information architecture: Librarians emerging info-architects. International Research: Journal of Library and Information Science. 1(2),
24 II. IA workA library website has three types of content:1. Information about the library: staff directories, departmental descriptions, maps, hours2. E-versions of traditional library services: online tutorials, book renewals, ILL, and status reports, purchase requests, online chat/reference, virtual tours3. Access to library content: catalogs, indexes, full-text magazines and journals, digitized special collections, free and commercial ebooks, government documents, Internet resources, licensed content from vendorsLibrary portals are organized gateways that structure access to information for patrons
25 II. IA workComponentsA single-search interface across multiple electronic sources and the return of results in a consistent library customizable format—but identified by sourceUser and patron authentication by checking the clients against a library databaseLocally created files on its web serverResource linking allows a library to seamlessly tie electronic resources togetherContent enhancement: tables of contents, book jacket images, author biographies, and reviews
26 II. IA workWho designs the IA and organizes and manages the library portal?Librarian training is directly applicable to IA so how information is structured on the library portal is their responsibilityDeveloping information classification schemes, the creation of hierarchies, thesauri and databases, and concentration on information navigation and accessLibrarians are content creators, copyright experts, work with metadataThey provide digital reference services
27 Designing information architecture: theory and practice I. IA as theory• Information interaction as a basis for IA• Cognitive work analysisII. IA work• IA checklists• IA and library portalsIII. IA practice• What do IAs have to know?• What do IAs do?• IA deliverables
28 How has the job of the web administrator changed over time III. IA practiceHow has the job of the web administrator changed over timeSeveral years ago, a “webmaster” wouldPlan and develop the siteDesign web pagesHand code HTMLWrite scripts and programsCreate contentConfigure, maintain, and secure the web serverToday, these tasks are a smaller part of the job
29 Coders mark up the pages Content developers write the pages III. IA practiceThese daysCoders mark up the pagesContent developers write the pagesGraphic designers create the imagesProgrammers and database designers manage the back endTechnicians configure, maintain, and secure the computer equipmentjceo.org/_uploads/web%20team.JPG
30 III. IA practiceAnd the web site administratorDescribes how the site should be organizedDescribes what a web site ought to look likeExplains how it integrates into an overall management or marketing strategyManages web designers and developersThe job has evolved into more of a management positionWhat has it become?
31 III. IA practiceThese days most large scale information design projects are done by teamsIn the team, the IA plays a key roleIAs are deeply involved in web design but can work with any type of information design projectSoftware, game design, educational CDsIt is a professional role in web design and the design of digital media collectionsIAs are responsible for developing and selling the overall structure and organization of the site
32 III. IA practiceIt is a professional role in web design and the design of digital media collectionsIAs are responsible for the overall structure and organization of the siteInvolves organizing a site’s content into categories and creating an interface to support those categoriesAlso designing navigation and searching systems to help people find and manage informationA systematic, user-centered question-based process for creating digital products to communicate meaning and improve users’ performance
33 A practitioner’s definition of IA III. IA practiceA practitioner’s definition of IA“At its most basic, [IA] is the construction of a structure or the organization of information.In a library, for example, [IA] is a combination of the catalog system and the physical design of the building that holds the books.On the Web, [IA] is a combination of organizing a site’s content into categories and creating an interface to support those categories. It stems from traditional architecture, which is made up of architectural programming and architectural planning.”Kimen, S. (2003). 10 questions about information architecture. Builder.com builder.com.com/ html
35 III. IA practiceThe evolution of the web site development has been in the direction of greater specializationThe companyManagerialContent developerGraphic designerInformation architectHTML coderConceptualTechnicalProgrammerDatabase designer
36 III. IA practiceWhat should an IA know?LIS: information organization and accessComputer science: programming and databasesUsability engineering: how people use the siteGraphic design: developing imagery to support the site’s missionWriting: to explain to peers and decision makersPsychology: understanding the intended audienceMarketing: developing the site so it can be sold to its intended audience
37 III. IA practiceWhat else does an IA have to know?Interaction design: creation and maintenance of tasks and processes that users will encounter in an information spaceProject management: strategies, skills, and procedures to organize, lead and bring tasks to closureContent management: processes, policies, and procedures governing the creation and transfer of contentKnowledge management: processes, policies, and procedures that govern the organization’s use of its “intellectual capital”
38 III. IA practiceWhat does an IA have to do?Planning: what are the main goals and strategy for the site?Given the constraints what can be done?What are the relevant content domains?How are these domains related to each other?What is the structure of these relationships?Designing: what arrangement best supports the structure and organizational requirements?Managing: what people, tools, resources are available?
39 III. IA practiceBasic activities of IAStructuring informationData (facts and figures) to which we give meaningKnowledge: Internalized and interpreted informationStructuring information spacesLevels of granularity of different elementsOrganizing contentArranging these elements into meaningful categories and establishing relations among themLabeling content and naming categories
40 III. IA practiceA broad view of IA workIt involves developing and communicating a holistic view of a web siteIt includes the overall social and technical structure of the site and the relationships among its elementsIt requires the classification of site goals and objectivesIA places the web site into a larger social contextHow will it affect the work flow, communications patterns, and distribution of power in the organization?How will it appear to its users?
41 Illustrate key concepts or steps through graphics Design site maps III. IA practiceWhat IAs do:Illustrate key concepts or steps through graphicsDesign site mapsCreate metaphors to brand content and promote navigationDevelop style and formatting templates for elements of informationConduct user analyses and test user experienceCreate scenarios and storyboardsBuild taxonomies and indicesDillon and Turnbull, 3
42 III. IA practiceIn a typical project you can expect to:Gather information from end-users and stakeholdersDesign and conduct online surveys, interviews and the ethnographic technique of contextual inquiry and analysisTest the system in a manner with expertsRun usability tests in the labEncourage people to use the prototypeSolicit feedback, analyze search logs and continually learn from personal interaction with employees requesting information and research
43 III. IA practiceAn IA helps clients define their Internet strategiesResearch, design, architect, develop and implement solutions that execute those strategiesTypically involves defining and documenting a site’s structure, navigation and interactivityBased on translating client business rules and user needs into web structures and processesThe work becomes a blueprint contributing to the overall strategic direction, vision and scope of a projectThe IA works with “user experience modelers” to analyze and model user tasks and usage scenarios
44 III. IA practiceThe elements of user experience: User-centered design for the webGarrett argues that IAs must attend to the elements of the user experience when designing a digital spaceThe focus is on the five planes: strategy, scope, structure, skeleton and surfaceGoal: take all aspects of the user experience into account~ What are three main design scenarios and what are the problems with each?~How can an IA understand user needs better than the users?
45 The key to a successful web site is a successful user experience III. IA practiceThe key to a successful web site is a successful user experienceThis produces value in some way for the site’s ownersIncreased sales, conversion rate, decreased abandonmentThe goal is to improve efficiencyHelping them work faster or make fewer mistakesThere is a conceptual framework that can be used to deconstruct the elements of the user experienceGarrett, J.J. (2003). The elements of user experience: User-centered design for the web. Boston, MA: New Riders.
46 The planes of user experience III. IA practiceThe planes of user experienceThe surface planeWeb pages, text, images, multimedia + functionalitiesThe skeleton planeButtons, tabs, blocked out space (for text/images etc)The structure planeThe hierarchical organization of the information chunksThe scope planeThe range of content on the siteThe strategy planeWhat the site is supposed to do
47 Garrett’s model of the user experience Web as interface III. IA practiceGarrett’s model of the user experienceWeb as interfaceWeb as hypertext
48 III. IA practicePrototypesAn outline or storyboard of a functional prototypeCould also be a working prototypes with HTML, Flash, Director, or PowerPointWritten reportsA narrative description of the site linking it to organizational mission, messages, and marketing constraintsChange managementHow will the site grow and change over time?What will be involved in maintenance?
49 Competitor analysis and comparison with previous versions III. IA practiceTo evaluate the site visitor’s experience, use search, access and error logsTo check on search terms, where people go, and places where problems occurTo evaluate the siteCompetitor analysis and comparison with previous versionsHave typical visitors do card sorts to assess chunkingAssess completeness of content and functionality: can you do what you are supposed to be able to do?Toub, S (2000). Evaluating information architecture: A practical guide for assessing web site organization. Argus Associates.
50 III. IA practiceTo evaluate the siteAssess how the component parts are organized and interlinkedDetermine the parent-child relationships and look for similar siblings grouped togetherDetermine degree of overlap among sectionsA good hierarchy has both high within-category similarity and low between-category similarityA bad one has much overlap between categoriesThis can be done by inspection
51 III. IA practiceTo evaluate the siteEvaluate the labeling schemeHow predictable are they?How well do they reflect major categories and labels used in the business or educational sector?How effective are they?Other criteria for evaluationDoes the site use language that visitors can understand?How does the site handle errors?
52 III. IA practiceOther criteria for evaluationHow often does the navigation require that the visitor return to the home page to go elsewhere in the site?How effective is the use of icons?How well are the forms constructed?Is the design consistent throughout the site?How well do the help file, site map or other finding tools work?Is there a site map or other help function?