Information Architecture for Internal Users


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Presentation given at Internet Librarian International 2007 in session B102: Information Architectures, Metadata and Redesigns, Monday 8 October 2007.

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Information Architecture for Internal Users

  1. 1. Information Architecture for Internal Users Anne Welsh Chambers Librarian, 18 Red Lion Court Information Officer, DrugScope, June 2003 – September 2007 Internet Librarian International, 8 October 2007
  2. 2. Acknowledgements As a late addition to the programme, I’d like to thank: Marydee Ojala for asking me to present; Martin Barnes (DrugScope CEO) for allowing me to speak about my work for DrugScope; Sue Batley, whose book Information Architecture for Information Professionals (Chandos, 2007) provided many of the theoretical quotations in this presentation.
  3. 3. Information Architecture <ul><li>The Information Architecture Institute defines information architecture as: </li></ul><ul><li>The structural design of shared information environments. </li></ul><ul><li>The art and science of organizing and labeling web sites, intranets, online communities and software to support usability and findability. </li></ul><ul><li>An emerging community of practice focused on bringing principles of design and architecture to the digital landscape. </li></ul>
  4. 4. What Users Want “ Information architecture exists to serve the needs of its users. This means that system development has to be underpinned by a deep understanding of those users.” ~ Sue Batley. Information architecture for information professionals. Chandos, 2007.
  5. 5. ~ R. Thomas et al . NHS Wales user needs study, including Knowledgebase tools report . University of Wales, Aberystwyth, 2005. User Needs Analysis
  6. 6. Know Your User Group “ For computers to be widely accepted and used effectively they need to be well designed. This is not to say that all systems have to be designed to accommodate everyone, but that computers should be designed for the needs and capabilities of the people for whom they are intended.” ~ Preece et al . Human-computer interaction. Addison-Wesley, 1994.
  7. 7. A Simple User Model <ul><li>Shneiderman’s user categories: </li></ul><ul><li>novice or first-time users </li></ul><ul><li>knowledgeable intermittent users </li></ul><ul><li>expert frequent users </li></ul><ul><li>~ Designing the user interface: strategies for effective human-computer interaction. 4 th ed. Addison-Wesley, 2004. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Internal Users’ Motivations “ In practice, there are two key reasons for a staff member to come to the intranet: to find a specific piece of information, or to complete a specific task … The most immediate consequence of the reasons staff visit the intranet is that their usage is very ‘in and out’.” ~ James Robertson. Why staff visit the intranet. (CM Briefing 2007-15),
  9. 9. Design for Internal Users “ General design principles apply to both intranets and extranets, but intranets serve a different purpose and can support denser content.” ~ Sue Batley. Op. Cit. “ For intranet designs, efficiency, memorability and error reduction become the most important usability attributes.” ~ J. Nielsen. Designing web usability: the practice of simplicity . New Riders, 2000.
  10. 10. The text layout on this wiki page resembles a word-processing package
  11. 11. The website reflects the external user group’s differing needs in terms of orientation, colour, layout, and navigation.
  12. 12. User Expectations “ In interacting with the environment, with others, and with the artefacts of technology, people form internal, mental models of themselves and of the things with which they are interacting. These models provide predictive and explanatory power for understanding the interaction.” ~ D.A. Norman and S.W. Draper. User-centred system design: new perspectives on human-computer interaction. Erlbaum, 1986.
  13. 13. Assumed Knowledge In this example from the University of Limerick’s Cataloguer’s Desktop, each of the four steps assumes existing procedural knowledge:
  14. 14. This process-driven navigation only works in an internal environment, with a shared idea about the structure of tasks.
  15. 15. The website shows more white space and a variety of routes through the site.
  16. 16. Information Architecture 2.0 ~ Michael Priestley. Information architecture for Web 2.0 technologies: designing content that matters. Corporate User Technologies, January 2007.
  17. 17. User-Generated Content
  18. 18. Queries in Action From McMaster University’s Collection Services Wiki:
  19. 19. A Community of Users
  20. 20. Knowledge Aggregation Katie Robertson, DrugScope Intern – Training Notes
  21. 21. Ong’s Model of Secondary Orality
  22. 22. Information 2.0: From Architecture to Garden Design?
  23. 23. Contact Details