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Understanding Information Architecture


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Part one of a three part workshop co taught with Dan Klyn and Christina Wodtke on Feb 7, 2013 at General Assembly in NYC.


Information architecture (IA) once was practiced as a sort of web-era librarianship. It was about organizing the information contained within websites to make things easier to find and use. But today an increasingly significant proportion of our daily business is conducted digitally. Using a variety of devices, people communicate with one another, search for information and entertainment, make retail purchases, initiate and negotiate business transactions, and more.

This class will explore well-architected digital experiences. What does it mean to architect information? How does the structure of information relate to understanding? How can information architects manage complex information across channels and contexts? What unique value can professional information architects bring to the creation and delivery of products and services? What is the interplay of information architecture and the other disciplines within user experience? This class will provide a broad introduction to a useful set of tools and ideas that provide a framework under which user and business insight can be harvested and used in pursuit of real business goals.

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Understanding Information Architecture

  1. UnderstandingInformation Architecture Abby Covert Dan Klyn Christina Wodtke
  2. Abby Covert Dan Klyn Christina Wodtke @Abby_the_IA @DanKlyn @CWodtkePart 1: Part 2: Part 3:Identify opportunities for Structure goals to create Transform an informationgrowth, change and clarity and consensus experience into a socialimprovement during among stakeholders and experiencerequirement gathering makers
  3. Objectives• Present a new model for understanding information architecture• Practice using tools for creating consensus, representing meaning and shaping structure.• Get hands-on instruction with different kinds of approaches to creating diagrams and instructions for indicating interaction• List of IA "dos," and "donts" based a combined 40 years of experience as an information architect.
  4. Abby Loves to use InformationArchitecture to...Identify opportunities forgrowth, change andimprovement duringrequirement gathering 4
  5. InformationArchitecture • Facilitates understanding • Orders meaning • Establishes truth • Creates clarity • Makes pictures of consensus 5
  6. I am aninformationarchitectI intend to because I believemake the unclear clear everything is complexput the what architecture framesbefore the how problems, design solves themfacilitate understanding understanding isorganize meaning, always good but it iscreate clarity and equally important toestablish truth not understand support goals, makers clarity is a and users prerequisite of truthby: Abby Covert & Dan Klyn 6
  7. Complexity part of somethingthat is complicated or hard to understand 7
  8. Users • Comfort with context • Access/Interest/Trust • Reading & Grade level Layers of • Aesthetics & Taste Complexity • Budget • Distraction • Reach • Loyalty • Competition • Channel Limits Markting • Scope • Scalability Makers • Talent • Quality Assurance • Tools • maintainability • Integration • Tone • Production Budget • Brand • direction Design • Context • Flow • Structure Information • Clarity • Tasks Architecture • Models • Truth • Goals • Research • Competition Strategic Goals • REturn on Investment • Growth towards goalsStakeholders & Their Bosses • Reputation • The bottom Line 8
  9. ?#?$%! What happens whencomplexity is not dealt with properly? 9
  10. When complexity is ignored...User Stakeholder MAKERsatisfaction Satisfaction Satisfaction Sometimes all 3 at once... 10
  11. Herding Cats: FindingModels forexploringcomplexity in groups 11
  12. Only you can helpprevent Brainstorms 12
  13. I Have used Framestorms to help• Change the audience for Sharpie from a office supply consumer to teenagers looking for a self expression tool• Grow a 150,000 member Facebook fan base for JELL-O over the weekend.• Pilot a revolutionary diet for people with Type 2 diabetes• Analyze and strategically prioritize digital marketing efforts and improvements for Herman Miller in support of their movement into the B to C market• Guide a team of 45 business stakeholders at Nike through an overhaul of 20 + systems affecting 120,000 employees and their customers
  14. And some of myfavorite tools are REALLY easy to learn 14
  15. How people hear about your offering(s) How people explore your offering(s)What could detract How people Who else could from this person opt into your entice this personproceeding at this offering(s) at this point? point? I find success How people use your offering the in Using this first time Funnel to How people use explore a your offering product from a over time user lifecycle perspective 15
  16. Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4Context What What happens happens WhatContext happensContext WhatContext happens I find success in Using this Map model to explore a Process from a contextual lifecycle perspective
  17. What are these kids doing? 17
  18. Company Up!• Who should we work on as an example...? – In the past I have seen students have fun with: » In-n-Out Burger » The MoMa » Square » General Assembly » Your company name here 18
  19. Which Frame works?Product Marketing Process Improvement 19
  20. Directions– Using the framework brainstorm through assumptions, questions and facts of the problem space. • Identify 3 colors of post its to use for the 3 things you are brainstorming • Start with 5 minutes of silence and writing individually, then let’s go around and share and map each person’s post its 20
  21. @ Abby_The_IA