Information architecture (IA), considering the impact of social, user generated content and mobile


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Search Engine Strategies (SES) London 2012 - Thoughts around developing a modern information architecture (IA), considering the impact of social, user generated content and mobile.

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Information architecture (IA), considering the impact of social, user generated content and mobile

  1. 1. London | 20–24 Feb, 2012 | #seslondon Guava UK• Edward (Teddie) Cowell, SEO Director, Guava• Thoughts around developing a modern information architecture (IA), considering the impact of social, user generated content and mobile. @GuavaUK
  2. 2. London | 20–24 Feb, 2012 | @GuavaUK
  3. 3. London | 20–24 Feb, 2012 | #seslondon What do we mean by IA?• IA refers to the structure and organisation of your website. It describes the planning process that defines the goals , content, organisation, navigation, labelling (link text) and wireframe designs that will become the foundation of your website.• If I skim brutally between what some of you think as IA but others classify as technical architecture, thats because in some instances I think it is pointless thinking about one without considering the other.Image source: Princeton University - Guide to Creating Website Information Architecture @GuavaUK
  4. 4. London | 20–24 Feb, 2012 | #seslondon Why do the IA projects arise?Greenfield or Retrofit?Very few websites are what Id call Greenfield projects any more. Which is both good and bad.• Greenfield projects have the luxury that you can plan all the IA and technical architecture cleanly from the start.• Start with a completely clean slate or something so bad theres practically nothing worth preserving.• They are really fun to work on, some of my favourite projects... – – Talksport – Just The Flight – Classic Cottages @GuavaUK
  5. 5. London | 20–24 Feb, 2012 | #seslondon Rebuild, retrofit IA projects• Rebuild or retrofit projects add another layer of complexity, because you may come up with a new IA that’s fundamentally different from what is already in place.• Might need a content migration and redirection plan (as some of you will have seen in the presentation yesterday afternoon).• Additionally whatever technical architecture is in place may be less than ideal. Less than ideal URLs? CMS may or may not support all the functionality required to do everything you want? @GuavaUK
  6. 6. London | 20–24 Feb, 2012 | #seslondon Rebuild, retrofit IA projectsHowever these types of projects also have some benefits... in that you should already have your own data to work with, which can reveal what your customers want and how they want to engage with you, which can help guide your content, wireframes and navigation.• Look at your analytics data: – Landing pages and referral keyphrases – Which pages are in the user journey - next page choices? – What are users searching for next in on-site searches?• Every page in a website is a potential landing page and access point to elsewhere. Healthspan - “93% of our website traffic enters through the side door, only 7% goes via the homepage, but it’s pretty hard to convince our IT team that the homepage isn’t the most important page in the website ” @GuavaUK
  7. 7. London | 20–24 Feb, 2012 | #seslondon A failure to plan, is a plan to fail.• The IA process can take a long time, much longer than most people may think it will. This is because unless a single person has complete control of everything, thinking things through in a group and gaining consensus isn’t always easy.• You will and should look at a lot of things other people are doing online for ideas. Use the IA time to work out what’s good about them and make those ideas even better.• You will probably develop and throw away many sets if plans. That’s nothing to be ashamed of.• But getting it right means youll have a better idea how your new website will function and what youre going to get. @GuavaUK
  8. 8. London | 20–24 Feb, 2012 | #seslondonDoes everyone here know what their website looks like?Which device were you looking at it on...Laptop, iPad..... Smart phone?Where were you looking at it? @GuavaUK
  9. 9. London | 20–24 Feb, 2012 | #seslondonModern websites perform a variety of functions.• Sales / Customer Acquisition• Marketing Support• Customer Support• Legal• PR @GuavaUK
  10. 10. London | 20–24 Feb, 2012 | #seslondon On different devices. @GuavaUK
  11. 11. London | 20–24 Feb, 2012 | #seslondonUsing different services. @GuavaUK
  12. 12. London | 20–24 Feb, 2012 | #seslondonIA for a website? or IA for a web presence? @GuavaUK
  13. 13. London | 20–24 Feb, 2012 | @GuavaUK
  14. 14. London | 20–24 Feb, 2012 | #seslondonHow people access websites (which devices) will become increasingly significant @GuavaUK
  15. 15. London | 20–24 Feb, 2012 | #seslondon DevicesWhen doing you’re IA planning you arent thinking about one website any more. At a minimum you’re building two variants, but quite possibly three or even four...."According to a recent release from Park Associates, worldwide sales of smart TVs and connected Blu-ray players, consoles, and digital video players will grow from 95 million (2010) to more than 360 million (2015)." @GuavaUK
  16. 16. London | 20–24 Feb, 2012 | #seslondon @GuavaUK
  17. 17. London | 20–24 Feb, 2012 | #seslondon Mobile & Other devicesIts important to make some early decisions around mobile and other devices because it dictates how you will approach your IA.There are different opinions about how you should approach these websites, but broadly your options fall in to:1. Separate domains (.mobi)2. Sub-directories (/mobile)3. Sub-domains (mobile.)4. Single URL Progressively Enhanced Responsive Websites (SUPER Websites) @GuavaUK
  18. 18. London | 20–24 Feb, 2012 | #seslondon Different form factors, same @GuavaUK
  19. 19. London | 20–24 Feb, 2012 | #seslondon Seperate websites vs one responsive websiteHowever even within Google there isnt much consensus on what is the right way to do it, as some Googlers prefer Single URL progressively enhanced responsive websites...see Mike Wests Google Developer Day presentation, “what is the best way to build a mobile site?” the current published webmaster guidelines are all about having a separate mobile site guide.pdfMore on that debate here: @GuavaUK
  20. 20. London | 20–24 Feb, 2012 | #seslondon How does the way you intend to build your mobile website affect your IA decisions?• It changes your thinking from two entirely separate websites and IA projects, to one project that needs to fulfil multiple criteria, so you need to balance the content presented with the linking and navigation priorities. source:• This doesnt supersede traditional organisational content hierarchies, but it helps work out what should go in each separate version of the website, or whether you should have one common denominator crawlable version, and how the navigation might be setup on both variants. @GuavaUK
  21. 21. London | 20–24 Feb, 2012 | #seslondon SUPER Sites• What a Single URL progressively enhanced responsive website (SUPER Website) encourages you to do is heavily streamline the content and links.• This has a couple of benefits for SEO consistency over the or approaches: – It encourages developers to build the templates much more efficiently and to offload all the main images into CSS, JS into libraries and make better use of sprites etc. This makes the website much faster. – Reduces SEO headaches managing multiple sites, user agent redirects, link aggregation and duplicate content. @GuavaUK
  22. 22. London | 20–24 Feb, 2012 | #seslondon Keyphrase research to decide target content.Google Keyword tool mobile with full browser vs desktop keyphrase research. (Smartphones & Ipads)Looking for both similarities and differences - Similarities become your common denominators. - Differences need factoring into the IA carefully. @GuavaUK
  23. 23. London | 20–24 Feb, 2012 | #seslondon Social• Social disrupts standard IA thinking around links and navigation. Because using some of these services encourages accessing of content off-site. @GuavaUK
  24. 24. London | 20–24 Feb, 2012 | #seslondon• You may not really think this is an IA consideration, but I think it is, because at this point you are deciding where you want the content categorised and where we want it linked to?• Social has extended the boundaries of your website onto other platforms. Or if you think about it in another way, other platforms such as Google+ have become extensions of your website. @GuavaUK
  25. 25. London | 20–24 Feb, 2012 | #seslondon Authorship tags• The trouble is the search platforms dont give us the tools wed really like in order to control our own IA effectively, whilst also helping them achieve their goals. Google+• Google knows about author pages on your website, but instead chooses to link from the results page to Google+ @GuavaUK
  26. 26. London | 20–24 Feb, 2012 | #seslondonPublisher (direct connect) brand pages @GuavaUK
  27. 27. London | 20–24 Feb, 2012 | #seslondon UGC - Reviews dataDesigning an effective framework for user generated content in the IA is also critical. For a number of reasons:1. The reviews themselves can be a valuable dynamic contribution to the websites content bringing in direct traffic and contributing to the unique in page content. @GuavaUK
  28. 28. London | 20–24 Feb, 2012 | #seslondon2. The quantitative data gathered from those reviews can be presented in a way that seriously bolsters click through rates from results pages. Increase CTR by 2%-15% @GuavaUK
  29. 29. London | 20–24 Feb, 2012 | #seslondon• Social broadens the width of your IA considerations beyond the boundaries of ‘your website’.• Device shifting (desktop,tablet,mobile) means you need to make more choices and do more content, navigation and wireframe planning early on.• IA takes time, but underpins everything else. Don’t rush it. @GuavaUK