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Understanding Information Architecture: A Workshop


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This workshop aims to teach participants activities that use information architecture for gaining upfront consensus on a variety of projects.

Published in: Design, Technology, Business

Understanding Information Architecture: A Workshop

  1. 1. UnderstandingInformationArchitecture A workshop by ! @Abby_the_IA
  2. 2. Agenda for todayAnswer these questions:•  What is Information Architecture (IA)?!•  What does “good” mean?!•  How is IA best used and when?!•  What IA tools can I walk out of here with today?!Attempt these stunts:•  Funnel development !•  Persona segmentation !•  Collaborative design session brief creation!
  3. 3. Similar to whatArchitecture does forphysical structures
  4. 4. Information Architecture providesactionable Blueprints of what isbeing designed and built.
  5. 5. What is information architecture (IA)?•  Making complex things be clear(er)!•  Making things not just look good, but be good!•  Consensus facilitation! --!•  NOT “just Sitemaps and Wireframes”!•  NOT “the old name for UX”!•  NOT “just digital”!
  6. 6. I Have used IA 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!
  7. 7. ResearchStrategy Architecture Design Execution basic process of making things
  8. 8. ResearchStrategy Architecture Design ExecutionWhy What Who When How Next ? ? ? ? ? ? Questions that Need Answers
  9. 9. IA can be used when•  Conducting Research (Persona Research, User Interviewing, User Testing, Competitive Research, Contextual Inquiry)!!•  Formulating Strategic Insight (Stakeholder Interviewing, Analytics, Goal Setting, Key Performance Indicator Development, Heuristic Evaluation)!!•  Creating Structural Blueprints (Product Roadmaps, Site maps, Process/Flow Diagrams, Requirements, Experience Maps, Cross Channel Maps, Prototypes)!
  10. 10. ResearchStrategy Architecture Design ExecutionWhy What Who When How Next ? ? ? ? ? ? Goal Setting Workshop Persona Workshop 3 tools of the IA Collaborative trade we will Design Session learn today
  11. 11. Lesson 1: Using goal Setting toestablish checks and balances upfront
  12. 12. In this lesson•  You will gain a basic understanding of the tools used for measuring and evaluating the quality of a product or serviceʼs user experience !•  You will learn the importance of prioritizing what you measure. !•  You will learn the importance of setting goals!•  You will understand the difference between directional goals and specific goals!•  You will be able to help your team to understand the goals for your user experience!
  13. 13. What do we use to measure?•  User testing !•  Satisfaction Surveys!•  Usage Data/Analytics!•  Social Media Statistics!•  Sales data, even non digital equivalents!•  Qualitative metrics (sales force or customer service quotas)!
  14. 14. What are we actually measuring?•  The simple answer is… NOT everything.!•  The more complicated one is … measure what matters.!
  15. 15. Awareness: How do people know Getting at about you? Or not what matters know about you? ! Acquisition: Attach to the Funnel:! Where are you bringing people to ! your product from? •  What you have today! •  Opportunities you Distraction: Conversion: Competition:When they dont Where are When they have! proceed? places that proceed but notWhere do they people decide with you? Start thinking aboutgo? Add why? to proceed with Where do they your business go? Add why? what you would need to measure in order to determine if each part Action: What is the 1 of the funnel is thing you want optimized.! users to do Loyalty: Do they ever come back? (Optional)
  16. 16. Awareness:Example:     Social Media Word of MouthSmall   Acquisition: Blogger NetworkCommunity   Search Engines AdvertisementNews  Collec6ve     Social Media Distraction: Conversion: Competition:   Advertisements Home page Article page Main Stream Music Sites Twitter pageWith  the  goal  of   Facebook page Other Music Blogsproviding  quality  local  music  news     Action: Read the News  (Note:  I  made  this  up,  no  hipsters  were  harmed  in  the   Loyalty:crea6on  of  this  example)   Sign up for the community (Optional)
  17. 17. Awareness: How do WeAdd  burning   Social Media Word of Mouth people have no find us?! socialques6ons  and   Where are loyal users Acquisition: media!what  you  know   likeliest to Blogger Network Search Engines come from?! Advertisement Social Media Distraction: Conversion: Competition: Home page Main Stream Advertisements Article page Music Sites Twitter page Facebook page Other Music Blogs We donʼt track How long Action: suggested Read the should we content today! News expect people to stay?! We have never Do people talked to users! appreciate Our time on suggested site average is content? Do Loyalty: less than a Sign up for the they want to community minute! share?! (Optional)
  18. 18. Finding the right measuresIf you have a question about! Examples to be looking at…!If something is effective! Completion rates !Whether something is findable! Speed to find!Peopleʼs Expectations! Bounce Rates & Time on Site!Satisfaction! Interviews, Surveys, Ask Sales and CSRs !Is enough Information provided?! Are people clicking to further information consistently?!Are people using the path as designed?! Click path data!(Courtesy  of  Richard  Dalton)  
  19. 19. Attach measurement plans to questionsThe  Big  Ques6ons   Planning  to  measure  Awareness: How do people find User interviews and Surveys!out about us?!Acquisition: Where will our loyal Surveys, Analytics: Traffic Sources for Repeatusers be coming from?! Users !Conversion: What is the average Analytics: Time on site compared to industrytime on site for us? What is averages and for loyalty users vs single articlenormal?! users!Action: Will people interact with Analytics: Click rates on items suggested on articlethe content we suggest they pages!interact with after reading the entryarticle?!Loyalty: How will loyalty users Analytics: Compare variety of points across loyaltydiffer from new users?! users and single article users!Other: How should sharing work? Surveys, Interviews, Analytics: Track social sharingWhat do people share?! behavior to establish baselines for types of events!
  20. 20. Exercise 1Imagine that your team is being asked to redesignthe General Assembly experience. !!As a group, fill in the funnel with: !!q Facts – you (like many startups) wonʼt have many ;)!q Questions youʼd like answers to!q Existing pieces of the experience!q Opportunities to explore!q How you might measure things along the way!
  21. 21. Setting Goals: in 2 Delicious Flavors•  Directional Goals!•  Specific Goals!
  22. 22. Establishing Directional Goals This That
  23. 23. What makes a Good scale? ²  Challenge the old with the new! ²  Define success differently! ²  Manage priority and scope!
  24. 24. Show departures from consensus
  25. 25. Establishing Specific GoalsGoals should be S.M.A.R.T !!q  Specific!q  Measurable!q  Achievable!q  Relevant!q  Time bound!
  26. 26. Example: Specific GoalsOur Goals for the next 6 months! –  Establish an average time on site with our loyalty users of 2+ minutes (matching industry standards for news sites)! –  Produce an average of 100+ unique social media impressions per month for the news organization brand! –  Increase the likelihood of loyalty users to click of secondary materials from 10% to 20% through better content tagging and human curation!
  27. 27. Lesson 2: Personas distillresearch into weaponized bits
  28. 28. In this lesson•  You will understand the value of personas in the design process!•  You will be able to identify potential sources for personas !•  You will learn how to segment target users into persona targets!•  You will understand why stories are a powerful tool to incorporate into your personas!•  You will learn strategies and common pitfalls when selecting photos to accompany your personas. !
  29. 29. Why personas work:•  People like having someone to design for: meaning there is already a persona or two living in the head of every member of your team.!•  Personas inspire teams to work towards a shared vision instead of many disparate ones!
  30. 30. Choosing Representative Personas:•  Step  1:  Make  a  post  it  for  each  user  type  you  can  think  of  •  Step  2:  Group  them  on  a  wall  into  clusters  by  how  they  might   think  about  or  use  your  product  or  service  •  Step  3:  Pick  3-­‐5  clusters  of  people  that  seem  like  the  ones   most  important  to  whom  you  are  trying  to  reach  •  Step  4:  Choose  one  “person”  from  each  of  those  clusters  that   you  feel  could  stand  up  and  make  decisions  for  that  whole   group  if  a  vote  were  to  occur  •  Step  5:  Decide  what  you  know,  and  what  you  need  to  know  •  Step  6:  Devise  a  plan  to  find  out  what  you  don’t  yet  know.  
  31. 31. Who to Prioritize? Urgent Not Urgent Important Important 1st 3rd Not Important Not Important 2nd SOL Urgent Not Urgent
  32. 32. Quick ways to get to know your users:•  Talk to potential users!•  Talk to actual users (if you have them)!•  Talk to competitive users (no one said you couldnʼt – unless they did, then donʼt)!•  Spend time shadowing users in their real lives!•  Watch people using equivalent or similar things to what you are making!•  Use competitive things in the market!•  Social media listening!•  Blogs, customer reviews, forums… the internet is HUGE!
  33. 33. Example: theArtistsway Persona research done on Urgent Not Urgent 3 segments:! 1 Professional Artists •  Survey distributed on ImportantImportant social media for 3 types of 3 Students artists to learn differences! Craft Artists 2 •  Buy-along trips to local art supply stores! •  Remote usability tests of current sites used forNot Important Important buying supplies online to discuss functionality and pain points! •  Interviews and studio visits were done to Urgent Not Urgent discuss storage of supplies, how far in advance supplies are bought etc! !
  34. 34. Exercise 2:  q  Individually brainstorm Urgent Not Urgent the different types of users the GA campus Important needs to serve (and not Important serve)!q  Within your team, plot them on the urgency/ important 4 up !q  Decide the top 3 clusters Not Important Important you would research as personas and the best ways to research them! Urgent Not Urgent
  35. 35. Building each persona:•  Step 1: Choosing a name and photo!•  Step 2: Rough demographics, home life, work life, digital life!•  Step 3: Attitudes and Product/Service/Industry Related Feelings ! Common pitfalls in photo and name selection:!  ! •  Racially insensitive or inappropriate! •  Hot people! •  Stock photos or headshots! •  “Thatʼs not so-n-so”! •  Team or customer photos or names! !
  36. 36. Narrating each personas experience•  Step 1: Put on the shoes of each persona and describe the world they experience today. !•  Step 2: Write a story of what they see. What do they wish was better? Where would your product fit in?! If your product is in their story today, be brave!!  ! Show the under belly and admit the flaws of what you are offering through their eyes. What is their likely reaction?! !
  37. 37. How to tell the story effectively•  Capture quotes you think people would say or emotions you anticipate they would have!•  Try to write the personas in their words!•  Grab screenshots and video grabs where you can to show the experience through their eyes!•  As you read your story, use the visuals to support it!•  Ask your team for confirmation that the story seems realistic and not over the top in either a positive or negative direction!
  38. 38. Example: theArtistsway About Janie: Professional Artist Digital Life: Janie is a designer at heart and by trade. She Janie is a Mac enthusiast for work, but a is an artist living and working in a small studio mostly iPad user when it comes to her she shares with husband and photographer -- casual browsing and emailing. She also in the West Park Slope neighborhood of is starting to get into social media and Brooklyn. loves to post things she finds on her Facebook wall for her friends to see and occasionally to her agencyʼs blog. When shopping for clothing, art supplies, whatever: quality and style matter to Janie Technology and Media Diet: more than price. She doesnʼt often shop at mass retailers and loves spending a Saturday • Loves to browse blogs and design browsing the local markets and boutique magazine sites on her iPad. Also a retailers. She considers her digital life much iPhone 3G user, but doesnt browse the web very consistently from it. the same. And chooses to use devices and • Loves her Macbook Air for ease of"Im finally digital, now tools she likes to look at and use. travel and slick design • Bose noise canceling headphones,Im ready for my art In the last 5 years Janes entire life has also essential for travel • Netflix Instant Subscriber, great forbusiness to be." migrated online, but she feels like her business her since they donʼt have cable as an artist has been left without a place that is anymore Age: 53 meant for her. All the tools available are for • eBook purchaser, keeps the clutter consultants, not artists. down in a NYC apartment Work Life: Professional Artist • Has a personal and business Home Life: Married to Michael, 54. Design Minded + Facebook accounts • Has a business twitter account which No children. Owner of a 2 cats she doesnʼt touch but tells her staff Business Savvy + Income Level: 120k household about content to post. + Digital Savvy
  39. 39. Lesson 3: Sketching Experiencesand managing scope
  40. 40. In this lesson•  You will understand the basics requirements for preparing and hosting a collaborative sketching session.!•  You will learn the basic outline of a process to facilitate collaborative sketching and a basic structure for synthesizing ideas that come out of a collaborative design session.!•  You will synthesize ideas generated by others for use in future product planning!
  41. 41. What s the difference between sketching and drawing?•  Drawing: The art or skill or making such pictures or diagrams!•  Sketching: Give a brief account or general outline of!
  42. 42. Only you can prevent brainstorms•  The most important thing to remember when running a session is that the quality of what you put into preparing will reflect itself in what comes out of the session!•  If you go in and throw blank paper around and say “lets draw the new product” – you will get blank paper of a generic product out of it. !
  43. 43. Preparing a good briefJust like on a secret spy mission, a good briefingshould have:!!•  Intelligence: from the competition (herein referred to as the enemy) audience, market and/or industry!•  Dossier(s): Your personas from the last lesson!•  State of Affairs: Where you are today (if anywhere) !•  The Assignment: A set of experiences you want them to redesign during the session !!
  44. 44. Framing the Assignment(s)•  Pick a Persona!•  Pick an important task (something the user will accomplish)!•  Describe the personaʼs completion of the task (as the world is today)!•  Draft the assignment for the session!
  45. 45. Example:Current Situation: Joan is a professional artist who orders thesame supplies on a regular basis. Today she manually ordersmonthly and on an as needed basis through Shemanages her business through spreadsheets and a variety ofpaper based methods. Much of the rest of her life is now onlineand she is interested in a new way, but hasnʼt heard of such athing for artists like her.!!Your Mission: Work with your team to envision a productexperience for Joan to manage and execute her monthly artsupply purchases online. For this first task, letʼs start with Joanhearing about this new product on a site like Facebook,investigating it and signing up to use it for the first time.!
  46. 46. Exercise 3Write a short scenario for each of your GApersonas. !!If time allows, we will vote on one scenario tosketch through.!
  47. 47. What Happens after the Brief?•  Brief (5 Min)!•  Sketch Individually (10 min)!•  Group Sketch (15 min)!•  Present to Room (5 min per group)!!
  48. 48. Fortune Favors the BoldBring in Friends: Ok so you are sitting theresaying, I am one person, no team. Thatʼs ok!Invite some friends. It wonʼt be exactly idealBUT I bet you get something out of it.!!Bring in Users: This exercise is excellent withan internal team. But bringing users into a roomand doing this together can be an amazing wayto unlock insight and bring new ideas to life. ButI will warn you it takes careful planning andexcellent moderation.!!
  49. 49. What is Scope and Why Should you care? Scope  =     What  we  all  agreed  to  do  
  50. 50. Preparing to Scope•  Truth #1 Some of the ideas that came out of the session will be bad !•  Truth #2 Someone will have to make a call!•  Truth #3 Not all important features will have been captured.!
  51. 51. Understanding PrioritizationBrandʼs Prioritization:! User Prioritization:!ü  Meets Competitive/Industry or ü  Appropriate for my life! Regulatory Bar! ü  Relevant to me!ü  Meets Contractual Obligation!ü  Availability of Resources or ü  Within reach in price and Partners! availability!ü  Budget to Produce!What measurement is fair?!!•  High: Must have and would consider holding launch until I get it!•  Medium: Is pretty essential but launch is priority over it!•  Low: Nice to have but not essential!
  52. 52. A format for prioritizing:Feature or Brand (H,M,L)! User (H,M,L)! Phase Cost/Hours toIdea! Decision! Produce!Insert! Insert! Insert! Insert! Insert! !•  Allows for dual prioritization!•  Allows for phase designation outside of prioritization!•  Indicates cost/time per feature or idea (optional)! If things get messy: Get out the monopoly money. Each stakeholder gets an even cut of the phase 1 budget and has to buy the features and functions they want. It will get interesting.!
  53. 53. Example: MusicLocalFeature or Idea! Brand (H,M,L)! User (H,M,L)! Phase Decision!Mobile Site: Low! High! Beta Phase 2Upload of Pictures! (watch traffic to decide if functionality is implemented in phase 2 release)!Website: Multi High! High! Phase 1!picture uploadingduring postingprocess!
  54. 54. But wait! there s more... Than I can cover in 3 hours. But now you know the right place to start.
  55. 55. Thanks @ Abby_The_IA will be up today)