Presentation on theme: "Information Architecture: A brief introduction"— Presentation transcript:
1Information Architecture: A brief introduction Samantha Bailey12/03/03
2For the recordI’m a librarian who works in digital information spaces.Currently: Vice President, Information Architecture for Wachovia.com (Wachovia Bank)Pioneer in IA: First employee of Argus Associates, spent 5 years there developing their operation & methodologyMILS from University of Michigan, 1996
4Topics Defining Information Architecture Understanding Information EnvironmentsComponents of an information architectureMethodology & Deliverables
5Question:How do you define Information Architecture?
6What is IA? A trick question or a tricky question? Information Architecture (IA)Interaction Design (ID)Information Design (ID too)User-centered Design (UCD)User-interface Design (UI)Usability/Usability Engineering (UE)
7What is IA? This is an emerging discipline in an evolving medium. Experts & Gurus disagree on the “right” answer.IMHO: The ongoing discussion is legitimate and healthy—as long as we’re getting work done.
8What is IA? Christina Wodtke’s SIG-IA survey: content architecture (Polar Bear style)interaction design (Cooper’s About Face)information design (Wurman's Information Architects)
9What is IA?The art and science of structuring and organizing information systems to help people achieve their goals.Information architects organize content and design navigation systems to help people find and manage information.
10questions IA answers A Visual Definition Users Business Context audience typesinformation needsquestionsBusinessContextstrategyresourcesculture / politicsworkflowInfo. Architectureorg, label, nav, &searching systemsIAContentscope and volumestructuremetadataanswers
11Why is IA Difficult? So Your Users Don’t Have To! ComputerShopper.com Example.
12Why is IA Important? (Metrics) Cost of finding (time, clicks, frustration, precision).Cost of not finding (success, recall, frustration, alternatives).Cost of development (time, budget, staff, frustration).Value of learning (related products, services, projects, people).Example: Show Planned vs Unplanned IA (if time allows)NOT Finding: pharmaceutical company planning to license new drug delivery platform for 1M; after 1 month of planning/searching, discovered already had in-house option. HFHS: haven’t changed IA structure in 5 years.
13Question:Do we still need to group (classify) what we know now that we aren’t dealing with artifacts?
16Info. Environment: Context BusinessContextContentUsersCharacteristics of Large CompaniesIncreasingly global / distributed enterprisesMultiple cultures and languagesComplicating Factors (Intranets & Web Sites)Authors and users spread across departmentsOwnership unclearBalance of centralization versus decentralization unclear
17Information Architecture Environment Users BusinessContextContentUsersComplex and Diverseinformation seeking behavior, needs, expertiseMany Ways to Studyobservation, interviews, modeling, testing, tracking, observation
21Supplementary Navigation & Search Components of an IAOrganization systemsLabeling systemsNavigation systems-Global-Local-ContextualSupplementary Navigation & SearchExamples: Organization (Exact/Ambiguous), Labeling, Navigation, SearchingDifferent ways to organize the same contentAlphaBy chronology (press releases)By geographyBy topic (see subjects area)By task (hand in homework, view grades, register for classes, look up another student)By audience (teachers, students, parents)Hierarchy: aim for broad and shallow; clicksDatabase: highly structured, homogeneousHypertextLabels:Headings, Links, Icons, Options in a navigation bar, Controlled vocabularies and thesauri.consistent system; user language, other sites, suggested by content; predictability of links (“Resources”, “Other Information”; scope notes; TITLE tagsNavigation systemsGlobal site navigation.Local navigation.Supplementary navigation systems (e.g., table of contents, site map, site index, guides).Contextual “see also” navigation.Searching systemsSearch interface.Query languages.Ranking algorithms.Search results.Global nav – top barLocal sub-site nav – bottom barSupplementary – site index
22Organization SystemsOrganization structures (e.g., the “shape” of the information): hierarchy, database, hypertext).Organization schemes: exact vs. ambiguous.
23Organization Schemes Exact Schemes Ambiguous Schemes e.g.,white pages, author/title databaseEverything has a place (one right answer)Easy to create and maintainGreat for known-item searchesAmbiguous Schemese.g., yellow pages, org by topic/task/audienceMessy and full of overlapHard to create and maintainGreat for subject searches and associative learning
24Org. Schemes - Exact Alphabetical: OSHA Site Index (www.osha.gov) Exact vs AmbiguousDifferent ways to organize the same contentAlphaBy chronology (press releases)By geography
29Navigation Systems Types Goals Global (site-wide) Local (sub-site) Contextual (page-level)Supplementary (e.g., table of contents, index, guide, search)GoalsProvide context. (Where am I?)Provide flexibility (Where can I go?)Make sense (Separate global and local systems)Avoid competing with content
31Navigation Systems Global, Local, Contextual: Wachovia.com Global site navigation.Local navigation.Contextual “see also” navigation.
32Labeling Systems Navigation bar options Headings, Subheads, sub-subheadsContextual linksControlled vocabularies and thesauri[Icons]How can we make it easier to find and manage information: use the basic components of a good IADescribe with an exampleE.G. Show Bitpipe (http://www.bitpipe.com)
33Supplementary Navigation Systems Topical (site index): New York Times (nyt.com)Supplementary navigation systems (e.g., table of contents, site map, site index, guides).
35Supplementary Nav: Searching Sucks “Using an on-site search engine actually reduced the chances of success.” (1998 Usability Study by User Interface Engineering)
36…But Users Demand It http://www.useit.com/alertbox/9707b.html “Search is one of the most important user interface elements in any large web site...Our usability studies show that more than half of all users are search-dominant.” (Jakob Nielsen, Alertbox, 1997)Paradox of the active user
37Top-down vs. bottom-up IA “Top-down” IABirds eye view looking down on the forest.Tie together disparate pockets of content for improved searching and browsing.Highly focused on users and information needs.“Bottom-up” IAFrom the ground up, looking at individual trees and leaves on trees.Improve searching and browsing within a single, high-volume pocket of content.Highly focused on content (content model, document types and meta-information).Not mutually exclusive—every project includes both.
38Where Does IA Fit in the Design Process? The Elements ofUser ExperienceJesse James Garrett
39User Centered Information Architecture Design Methodology Iterative processDiscoveryDefinition/Conceptual DesignIA DesignHandoff-ImplementationIntegrated with content development, interaction design, graphic design,usability
40Communicating Ideas (deliverables) Diagrams (conceptual)Blueprints (structural)Wireframes (relational)Text (reports, taxonomies)Interpersonal (meetings, conversation, blogs)Example: Show Planned vs Unplanned IA (if time allows)NOT Finding: pharmaceutical company planning to license new drug delivery platform for 1M; after 1 month of planning/searching, discovered already had in-house option. HFHS: haven’t changed IA structure in 5 years.
41Affinity Diagram How Users Associate Hardware/Software Content Topics Project Type:Strategy and Recommendations, User Needs AnalysisClient Type:Software and Network ApplicationsDescription:Affinity diagrams visually interpret the results of card sorting during user testing. They show how the respondents tended to view the relationships between different chunks of content. These results suggest ways to better organize this content.Lines between boxes show the strength of the associations between topics. The larger gray boxes show major clusters of topics and areas of overlap.
42Concept Diagram Project Type: Seminar, Client Mentoring, White Paper Client Type:E-commerce or Intranet SiteDescription:This concept diagram outlines a general strategy for personalization on a site.It shows how users, content, and controlled vocabularies relate to the profiling layer used to aggregate information dynamically for presentation in the user interface.Such diagrams are useful for introducing organizations to complex information architecture ideas. They are especially useful during mentoring and training engagements.
43Blueprint (Top Down) Project Type: Strategy and Recommendations Client Type:International Business Consulting FirmDescription:This is a top-down view of the overall conceptual structure of an Internet portal site that provides access to international information for affiliate firms.The XML-based global content repository for the organization can be accessed in multiple ways—by firm, by service, by industry, by topic.
44Process Flow for Customer Interaction Project type:Strategy and Recommendations, Business AnalysisClient:Networking Products and SolutionsDescription:Process for online product life cycle.Describes how client can improve sales at different points in sales cycle.
45Main Page Wireframe Project Type: Strategy and Recommendations, Conceptual DesignClient Type:Electronic greeting card public internet siteDescription:Wireframes are used to communicate with the web design team to show navigation and the relationship between content elements. They help flesh out the page by page information architecture of the site before graphic design and programming occur.The goal of this project was to improve the site’s overall information architecture to make it easier for users to find content.This wireframe illustrated how to leverage the site’s navigation and classification systems on the main page.
46Metadata (Bottom Up)Definition: attributes that describe a content objectExample Metadata Record: Compact Disc(Amazon.com)AttributesAttribute ValuesTitleSymphonies nos 35-41ComposerWolfgang Amadeus MozartConductorKarl BöhmEnsembleBerlin Philharmonic OrchestraGenreClassicalDate RecordedJanuary 23, 1996Some attributes require controlled vocabularies.Implementation: Could be embedded meta tags, database records, XML.
47Controlled Vocabulary Table Products/ServicesUIAccepted TermProduct CodeVariant TermPS0135Access DialingPCA35810-288; ; dial aroundPS0006Air MilesPCS932AirMilesPS0151XYZ DirectDCW004USADirect; XYZ USA Direct; XYZDirect cardProject Type:Conceptual Design, ImplementationClient Type:Customer Call Center of Global Telecommunications FirmDescription:Shows part of a controlled vocabulary that was used to organize documents and enhance searching for a call center’s knowledge management intranet.Table includes accepted terms to be used in tags as well as product codes and variant terms used by the company.
48Project management & Information Architecture PM & IA can be a powerful combinationSources of tensionBig IA/Little IA vs. Big PM/Little PM
49IA Resources for More Information OnlineAIfIA (http://aifia.org)SIG-IA (http://www.asis.org/SIG/SIGIA/)Books_IA for the World Wide Web_ 2nd Ed., Morville & Rosenfeld, O’Reilly, 2002_IA: Blueprints for the Web_ Wodtke, New Riders, 2001_Elements of User Experience_ Garrett, New Riders, 2002