Information Architecture Heuristics


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Includes the definition, value, usage and history of heuristics as well as 10 principles with starter questions for use in an evaluation. (As presented most recently at Interaction 12 in Dublin)

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Information Architecture Heuristics

  1. 1. Does it have legs?Information Architecture Heuristics for Interaction Designers! ! presented by: ! Abby Covert @Abby_The_IA
  2. 2. What do you want in a critique?!<Type> Designers: want to spark Non Designers: want a !new insights when reviewing their healthy and non opinion-drivenwork alone or with others.! conversation with designers.!! !They are trying to avoid: ! They are trying to avoid: !Blank stares, not knowing where ! Opinions being seen as rulings,to start, taking coffee breaks to having a lack of direction onavoid critiquing ! what feedback to give and when!
  3. 3. But when critiquing work: 
 What we really want to know is
 “Does it have legs?” !•  Is it stable enough to support the weight of use?!•  Will it be effective in execution?!•  Will it stand on itʼs own?!!A good place to start when answering these questions is Evaluating it against heuristic principles.!
  4. 4. “rules of thumb”! “best practices”! What is a heuristic?!“intuitive judgments”! “common sense”!
  5. 5. Case Studies! Patterns & Anti-Patterns! What is NOT a heuristic?! Stencils! Templates!
  6. 6. We use heuristics to…!•  Evaluate the strength and quality of what is currently offered to users!•  Facilitate critique during planning, design and development!•  Predict the effectiveness of a potential solution!
  7. 7. Existing Sources for Heuristics
  8. 8. •  Five sources •  Easy to learn•  Over Fifty principles •  Easy to Teach•  Lots of overlap •  Easy to Implement across contexts, teams and Channels
  9. 9. Result: My Proposed 9 Principles from 50! ? 1 wildcard  
  10. 10. REMINDERS– The rules of heuristic use!1.  Put on your user shoes: Forget where you work and what your job is. !2.  Put on your user goggles: None of these principles matter without understanding the context of use and who your users are. !3.  Say “I am not my user”: Never use heuristic review as a replacement for user research.!!
  11. 11. #1 FindableAble to belocated.
  12. 12. #1 Is it Findable?q  Can users easily locate that which they are seeking? !q  How is findability affected across channels and devices?!q  Are there multiple ways available to access things?!q  How do external and internal search engines “see” what is provided?!q  Is information formatted with results in mind? !q  What is provided to make the delivered results more useful?  
  13. 13. #2 AccessibleEasilyapproachedand/or entered
  14. 14. #2 Is it Accessible?q  Can it be used via all expected Be aware that upwards of 20% or more of the channels and devices?! worldʼs population hasq  How resilient and consistent is it a disability. ! ! when used via “other” channels? ! The internet is a publicq  Does it meet the levels of place. Itʼs like building a ramp to your building, or accessibility compliance to be refusing to. ! considerate of those users with ! </soapbox>! disabilities*!!!
  15. 15. #3 ClearEasilyperceptible
  16. 16. #3 Is it Clear?q  Is it easy to understand?!q  Is the target demographicsʼ grade and reading level being considered?!q  Is the path to task completion obvious and free of distraction?!q  Would a user find it easy to describe?!!!
  17. 17. TOP 3 Clarity Offenses•  Corporate underpants: When you are obviously making a navigational decision based on your organizational structure, not user decision paths.!•  Inside Baseball: When you are calling something a term that is unclear to anyone that doesnʼt work for your company. !!•  Weasel Words: When you are being purposefully unclear in language to avoid making a promise or decision about process or commitment to a user.!
  18. 18. #4 communicativeTalkative,informing,timely
  19. 19. #4 Is it communicative?q  Is the status, location and permissions of the user obvious?!q  How is messaging used throughout? Is messaging effective for the tasks and contexts being supported?!q  Does the navigation and messaging help establish a sense of place that is consistent and orienting across channels, contexts and tasks?!!
  20. 20. #5 UsefulCapable ofproducing thedesired orintended result
  21. 21. #5 Is it Useful?q  Is it usable? Are users able to complete the tasks that they set out to without massive frustration or abandon?!q  Does it serve new users as well as loyal users in ways that satisfy their needs uniquely?!q  Are there a few navigation options that lead where users may want to go next? Are they clearly labeled?!
  22. 22. #6 CredibleWorthy ofconfidence,reliable
  23. 23. #6 Is it Credible?q  Is the design appropriate to the context of use and audience?!q  Is your content updated in a timely manner? !q  Do you use restraint with promotional content?!q  Is it easy to contact a real person?!q  Is it easy to verify your credentials?!q  Do you have help/support content where it is needed? Especially important when asking for sensitive personal data.!
  24. 24. #7 ControllableAble to adjust toa requirement
  25. 25. #7 Is it Controllable?q  Are tasks and information a user would reasonably want to accomplish available?!q  How well are errors anticipated and eliminated?!q  When errors do occur, how easily can a user recover?!q  Are features offered to allow the user to tailor information or functionality to their context?!q  Are exits and other important controls clearly marked?!
  26. 26. #8 ValuableOf great use,service andimportance
  27. 27. #8 Is it Valuable?q  Is it desirable to the target user? !q  Does it maintain conformity with expectations throughout the interaction across channels? !q  Can a user easily describe the value?!q  How is success being measured? Does it contribute to the bottom line?!q  Does it improve customer satisfaction?!
  28. 28. #9 LearnableTo fix in themind, in thememory
  29. 29. #9 Is it Learnable?q  Can it be grasped quickly?!q  What is offered to ease the more complicated processes?!q  Is it memorable?!q  Is it easy to recount?!q  Does it behave consistently enough to be predictable?!
  30. 30. #10 DelightfulGreatlypleasing
  31. 31. #10 Is it Delightful?q  What are your differentiators from other similar experiences or competitors?!q  What cross channel ties can be explored that delight? !q  How are user expectations not just met but exceeded?!q  What are you providing that is unexpected?!q  What can you take that is now ordinary and make extraordinary?!
  32. 32. 10 Heuristic IA Principles
  33. 33. How to Implement Heuristicswhere you work...q  Teach this content to your organization – not just the designers (you can even use this deck)!q  Heuristically review where you are today!q  Set baseline scores and identify principles you want to see improvement on (and by when)!q  Start using this as the consistent language when critiquing work!q  Bring these questions as thought starters to your critiques!
  34. 34. thank you•  For listening!•  For caring!•  For making the internet a better place!! Twitter: @Abby_The_IA! Email:!Brought  to  you  by:   The  company  that  enables  me   do  awesome  stuff  like  this  for   awesome  people  like  you.  
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