Designing Structure Part II: Information Archtecture


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Part two on Designing Structure for my General Assembly class on User Experience is about Information Architecture. We cover why classification is important, types of classification and trends in IA.

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  • Designing Structure Part II: Information Archtecture

    1. 1. Designing StructureInformation Architecture
    2. 2. Information Architecture Find Me3
    3. 3. We design for movement Data, Information, Knowledge From data To information To Knowledge
    4. 4. The Goal• To go from fact Estimated portion of all U.S. nuclear waste that Nevadas Yucca Mountain dumpsite will hold when it is full in 2046 : 3/5
    5. 5. The Goal• To meaning Estimated portion of all U.S. nuclear waste that Nevadas Yucca Mountain dumpsite will hold when it is full in 2046 : 3/5 Richter-scale magnitude of an earthquake last June twelve miles from the Yucca site : 4.4
    6. 6. Classification and Consequences• A physician who doesn’t see a new cure• A poor student who can’t find financial aid• A store where a product isn’t found
    7. 7. From fact to meaningThe right information at the right time in the right way – Find information – Understand information – Use information
    8. 8. Special skills• Information Architecture for Findability• Information Design for Understandability• Interaction Design for Usability
    9. 9. Information Architects specialize• In Information Architecture– duh!
    10. 10. Unfortunate SeperationWhy the separation? Little IA Big IA
    11. 11. Better modelAre they closer? Big IA Little IA
    12. 12. Best model??A new shape Big IA Little IA
    13. 13. Information Architects• What is IA?• IAI definition 1. The art and science of organizing and labeling web sites, intranets, online communities and software to support usability and findability. 2. The structural design of shared information environments. 3. An emerging community of practice focused on bringing principles of design and architecture to the digital landscape.
    14. 14. Findability
    15. 15. In the physical world• Things that have fixed locations – We find with maps and signs- - wayfinding• Things that don’t – We find with organization and wayfinding
    16. 16. In the digital world• Nothing is fixed• Wayfinding and organization is the two keys to findability• Role of IA is to shape the digital space to enable findability.
    17. 17. Make things findable• Organization – Build on Metadata – Browse systems – Search systems• Wayfinding – Labels – Visual cues
    18. 18. Make things appear• Serendipity systems – See also – Related – Popularity relationships – Also built on metadata
    19. 19. Definition The structural design of an information space to facilitate task completion and intuitive access to content. Information Architecture for the World-Wide Web Louis Rosenfeld & Peter Morville
    20. 20. Who cares?Once there were people with cowsAnd people without cowsThe people with no cows were hungry
    21. 21. They took to the roadAnd met at the marketAnd the people with no cowsbought cowsThe people with cows hadfewer cows, but money forother things
    22. 22. Now there are people with informationAnd people with no informationThe road is the computerAnd the market is the web
    23. 23. But the market is really bigAnd the people can’t find each otherSo we have ignorant peopleAnd people with no moneyThe cows are okay with thisBusiness is not.
    24. 24. The GoalThe players – Users, seeking information (cowless) – Businesses with information (with cows) – Intermediaries such as search engines and directories, profiting on the exchange (marketplaces)The goal is to get the users seeking the data to the businesses offering the data
    25. 25. Missing informationLost sales -Expensive support -Duplicated effort -Lost trust -Lost lives?
    26. 26. Classification has Consequences • A physician who doesn’t see a new cure • A poor student who can’t find financial aid • A store where a product isn’t found
    27. 27. IA has consequencesInformation Architecture manages informationto make it findable – Tagging with metadata – Organizing with CV’s – Creating navigation systems – Optimizing search
    28. 28. And IA can build brands.
    29. 29. Branding in 10 seconds Brand managers create brand promises fullfilled by brand experiences Brian Collins’ Model of Brand
    30. 30. Brand and the User Experience Creating a good customer experience is the essence of good brandingHugh Dubberly’s Model of Brand
    31. 31. IA Realizes Brand
    32. 32. Product Quality = Brand Loyalty why Apples customers I get asked a lot are so loyal. Its not because they belong to the Church of Mac! Thats ridiculous. Its because when you buy our products, and three months later you get stuck on something, you quickly figure out [how to get past it]. "Wow, someone over there at And you think, Apple actually thought of this!" And then three months later you try to do something you hadnt tried before, and it works, and you think "Hey, they thought of that, too." And Theres almost then six months later it happens again. no product in the world that you have that experience with, but you have it with a Mac. And you have it with an iPod.
    33. 33. Benabar n’est pas jazz?
    34. 34. What is this?36
    35. 35. What is this?37
    36. 36. What is this?38
    37. 37. What is this?39
    38. 38. What are these?40
    39. 39. They are all birds (ornithologist)41
    40. 40. The Cassowary is not a bird!(the Karam) 42
    41. 41. From “Why the Cassowary is not a bird”, R. Bulmer, Man, Vol. 2, Issue 1, (Mar. 1967) 43
    42. 42. From “Why the Cassowary is not a bird”, R. Bulmer, Man, Vol. 2, Issue 1, (Mar. 1967) 44
    43. 43. Who Cares? • Ornithologists • The Karam • Information Architects45
    44. 44. Dewey Decimal System• 200-299 – Religion Categories• 40+ categories related to Christianity• 1 for Judaism• 1 for Islam (& related) 46
    45. 45. Who Cares? • Religious Scholars • Librarians • Information Architects • Jews and Muslims47
    46. 46. Context is King• Classification reflects social and cultural organization• Information Architect must understand this context48
    47. 47. Get to know your audience… 1. Who are they? Football Fan49
    48. 48. Get to know your audience… 1. Who are they? Football Fan?50
    49. 49. Get to know your audience… 1. Who are they? Show me 2. What do they care about? photos! Are the Patriots going to make the playoffs? What happened in the last game?51
    50. 50. Get to know your audience… 1. Who are they? 2. What do they care about? 3. How do they think of the information and content? Conference, division… Schedules, standings…52
    51. 51. Get to know your audience… 1. Observe others 2. Study Competitors and similar sites 3. Review your search logs 4. Do a card sort53
    52. 52. Now what? • Organize your information so it makes sense to your audience • Structure your information to help users find it • …using metadata54
    53. 53. Metadata: what is it? ―metadata is data about data"56
    54. 54. Metadata: what is it? ―Metadata tags are used to describe documents, pages, images, software, video and audio files, and other content objects for the purposes of improved navigation and retrieval‖ ‘Information Architecture for the World Wide Web’, 2nd ed., (2002) Rosenfeld, L. & Morville, P.57
    55. 55. Types of Metadata • Descriptive: the nature of the thing, what is it related to?… • Intrinsic: composition of the thing, size, shape… • Administrative: how can the thing be handled? Workflow…58
    56. 56. Types of Metadata59
    57. 57. Types of Metadata Web Page: New England Patriots • Descriptive: Patriots, NFL, AFC East… • Intrinsic: HTML page, 40k… • Administrative: update daily with news feeds, update when new game…60
    58. 58. Types of Metadata61
    59. 59. Types of Metadata Logo: New England Patriots • Descriptive: Patriots, NFL, AFC East… • Intrinsic: jpg file, 4k… • Administrative: rights owner-NFL, replace when logo changes…62
    60. 60. Yahoo Travel <!-- Meta Data --> … <META NAME="description" CONTENT="Plan your vacation using Yahoo! Travels Paris Vacations and tourism …” <!-- /Meta Data --> travelguide-191501740- paris_vacations-i63
    61. 61. Yahoo! Travel: Homepage<meta name=description content="Yahoo! Travel is a comprehensive online travel destination,where you can reserve flights, rental cars, hotel rooms, cruises and vacation packages, all in oneplace. Research trips from a wealth of planning resources including destination and city guides, userand expert reviews, local weather and currency information, and much more. Yahoo! Travel hascompetitive prices on everything from airfare to lodging, its easy to find great deals and specialoffers"><meta name=keywords content=online airfare airfares hotel car reservations travelocity airlinestickets airplane air line air fares arifares airline low fairs fares cheap tickets flights book informationflight itinerary itineraries online reservations online tickets online travel agents vacations cruisecruises cruiselines business travel busines corporate hotels discounts car cars rental lasvegas ticketstravel reservations online travel travel bookings online bookings book airfare fare wars discountfares sales lowest vacation planning information travel agencies travel sites disney world floridaorlando miami atlanta ATL Dallas DFW DCA LAS LAX NYC ORD SFO atl dfw dca las lax nyc ord sfoWashington D.C. washington dc los angeles Los Angeles new york New York new york city New YorkCity San Francisco sanfrancisco family trips family vacation family vacations> 64
    62. 62. Yahoo! Travel: Successful Meta Data • Added Meta Data to page (descriptive meta tags, urls, titles in page) • Was 2001: result # 300+ in Google/Yahoo Search • 2002: result # 2 • Users can find the content!65
    63. 63. Not all Metadata is equal• What are users interested in?• What do you want users to be able to find?• What metadata makes management easy?• Tag content for findability• Tag content for management66
    64. 64. Exercise• Listen• Write five descriptive words (or short phrases) on your post-it• One word (or phrase) per post-it• Don’t share– yet! Hold on!67
    65. 65. Next Content Architecture Part II68
    66. 66. Controlled vocabularies Master of your domains70
    67. 67. Cardinal Richelieu Grandfather of controlled vocabularies71
    68. 68. The French Academy• Founded in 1635• Multiple dialects• Goal: purify the French language• Goal: unify the nation (ensure that the State and all citizens speak the same language)72
    69. 69. The French Academy today …but…73
    70. 70. So what? • So what are your goals? • How will you ensure that your users and your system speak the same language? • How will you ensure they continue to do so?74
    71. 71. When humans and computers interact I want I’ve got music. music75
    72. 72. Humans are good at figuring things out Rap. Hip Hop Rock. Dance.76
    73. 73. Most of the time Jiggy ? tunes77
    74. 74. But computers are literal Acid ? reggae No matches found78
    75. 75. And need help Acid ? Reggae? IA Let’s give them “Dance and DJ”79
    76. 76. Of course, the IA can’t always be there… Thus Controlled vocabularies (CV) Amy Warner defines a controlled vocabulary (CV) as “organized lists of words and phrases, or notation systems, that are used to initially tag content, and then to find it through navigation or search.”80
    77. 77. Controlled Vocabularies I define them as Documented relationships of words and concepts to assist people finding stuff. Same dif.82
    78. 78. Controlled Vocabulary Types • Levels of control (Vocabularies) Synonym Authority Classification Thesauri Rings Files Schemes Simple Complex Equivalence Hierarchical Associative (Relationships)83
    79. 79. Controlled vocabularies • Relationships B A=B A A B Equivalence Hierarchal Associative Christmas= Winter Holidays > Christmas | Xmas Christmas Santa Claus84
    80. 80. Synonym rings • Simplest type • Helps with search, indexing • Simplifies maintenance85
    81. 81. Synonym rings include • Acronyms: BBC, British Broadcasting Company; MPG, miles per gallon • Variant spellings: cancelled, canceled; honor, honour • Scientific terms versus popular use terms: acetylsalicylic acid, aspirin; lilioceris, lily beetle – From Synonym Rings and Authority Files by Karl Fast, Fred Leise and Mike Steckel86
    82. 82. Why Bother? I’m tired of typing “Controlled Vocabulary--- CV is shorter. • Sometimes on intranets, CV’s are skipped • You think you can force people to use proper terms • But people are lazy87
    83. 83. Why Bother? I want a cannon camera. • On the internet you want to be found • You’ve got cows • But people can’t spell “cows” • Plus users use short queries – Average queries are 2.5 words– 30% of searches are one word queries88
    84. 84. Bizrate takes good advantage It may be the Canon PowerShot S3089
    85. 85. But what do people call it? Canon S30 Cannon S30 S30PowershotS3090
    86. 86. A page for each synonym91
    87. 87. And they can be number one92
    88. 88. Authority File • Addition of preferred terms and variants • Preferred terms – Protects brand – Sensitivities – Educates Christmas | Xmas, X-mas, Nöel,93
    89. 89. There is a right spelling94
    90. 90. Classification schemes • Includes non-equivalent relationships • Includes hierarchal informal • Useful for navigation • Useful for helping people broaden their search95
    91. 91. Classification schemes • Types of relationships • Sibling: directories » Men » Women » Maternity » Body » Boys » Girls » Baby boy » Baby girl96
    92. 92. Classification schemes Parent / Child (
    93. 93. Classification SchemesOther RelationshipsAlphabetical (administrative metadata)Authors, A-Z > ( M ) > Moore, AlanChronological (administrative metadata)New for You > New Releases > BooksTopic (descriptive metadata)Comics > Graphic Novels > HorrorAmazon uses all of these, and more…. 98
    94. 94. Thesauri • Cadillac of Controlled Vocabularies • Includes associative relationships Preferred Variants Siblings Parent Associated term Christmas X-mas, Hanukah, Winter Santa Claus Nöel Kwanzaa holidays99
    95. 95. Associations100
    96. 96. Associations • Amazon uses buying patterns to determine associations101
    97. 97. Associations102
    98. 98. ExerciseCard sortTake your keywordsOpen your packetsSort the items into similar piles.Label the piles with post-itsDiscuss103
    99. 99. Building your own1. Understand requirements2. Harvest terms3. Create groupings4. Implement5. Test6. Maintain104
    100. 100. What kind of CV do you need?• What do you want your CV to accomplish?• To integrate with your navigation system?• To improve searching? To improve browsing? Both?• How much vocabulary control do you want to provide? Synonym ring? Facets? What level of vocabulary control is appropriate?• What can your technology support?105
    101. 101. Getting answers• Content - specificity and stability• Technology - tools and integration.• Users – who are they• Maintenance- who will do it?106
    102. 102. Content Inventory Identify all content and attributes • Link ID • Maintainer • ROT • Expiration • Document type • Access • Topics/Keywords • Author • Location • Existing/planned107
    103. 103. Term harvesting• Look Inward • Log harvesting – Your site – Search engines – Current keywords – Overture• Look outward • Ask people – Magazines – Interviews – Competitors – Card sorts – Discussion lists – Free Listing108
    104. 104. Sorting TermsA Card Sort for Architects• Multiple Groupings – Equivalent UF cheese=fromage – Broader terms BT cheese | dairy – Narrower terms NT cheese | cheddar – Related term RT cheese | crackers109
    105. 105. Sleeping Bags BT Camping NT Down Sleeping Bags NT Synthetic Sleeping Bags NT Family Sleeping Bags NT Cold Weather Sleeping Bags NT 2-Season Sleeping Bags NT 3-Season Sleeping Bags NT Back Packing Sleeping Bags NT Expedition Class Sleeping Bags NT Ultralight Sleeping Bags RT Backpacks RT Ultralight Backpacking RT Sleeping Bag Liners RT Sleeping Pads RT Stuff Sacks RT Pillows From Creating a Controlled Vocabulary by Karl Fast, Fred Leise and Mike Steckel
    106. 106. Sorting conflicts• Cheese goes in dairy or in sandwich materials?• A cheese basket?• String cheese?Choices fit strategy111
    107. 107. Associations• What is related• What is required?• What else is interesting?Relevancy is king112
    108. 108. Possible Relationships • Process/agent (camp fires/matches) • Action/product of action (baking/cakes) • Agent/counteragent (allergies/antihistamine) • Raw material/product (wool/sweater).113
    109. 109. Implement• Implementation dependant on situation and tools.• May be slow painful data entry– know this and prepare.114
    110. 110. Test• Test with users – did you get it right? – Browse Testing – Search Testing – Monitor quantitative – Refine, refine, refine115
    111. 111. Maintain• Who maintains it?• What the rules for new terms?• Document your decisions.116
    112. 112. Is that all? NO! Life beyond enumerative classification….117
    113. 113. Faceted Classification was developed, prior to the existence of computers, by S. R. Ranganathan, a Hindu mathematician working as a librarian.118
    114. 114. S. R. Ranganathan 1892-1972 My dream: • to systematically describe, in detail, the contents of complex documents discussing compound subjects, and to • codify those descriptions into a sequenced numerical form that would • make it possible to retrieve exactly what was needed from wherever it was located in the library • in order to save the time of the reader.119
    115. 115. And ... describe the entire universe of ideas using classification and notation.120
    116. 116. S. R. Ranganathan 1892-1972 The Five Laws of Library Science 1. Books are for use. 2. Every reader his or her book. 3. Every book its reader. 4. Save the time of the reader. 5. The Library is a growing organism.121
    117. 117. Colon Classification System Describing life, the universe, & everything, it used facets to classify. It affected the world of • classification, • categorization, • information retrieval & • information architecture.122
    118. 118. Ranganathan’s 5 Facets • who: personality • what: matter • how: energy • where: space • when: time Sound familiar?123
    119. 119. Ranganathan’s 5 FacetsImagine a book about―the design of woodenfurniture in 18th centuryAmerica.‖Personality—furnitureMatter—woodEnergy—designSpace—AmericaTime—18th century 124
    120. 120. Essential Qualities of a Facet • Mutually exclusive; represents a characteristic of division not found in any other facet • Cannot be further sub-divided • Relationships between facets are non- hierarchical (though within facets…)125
    121. 121. Facets The broad categories into which the subject area is divided. A facet consists “... of a group of terms that represents one, and only one, characteristic of division of a subject two facets may contain terms that could represent the same concepts.” —Louise Spiteri126
    122. 122. Heady stuff?What does all this philosophical mumbo jumbo mean?127
    123. 123. Heady stuff? Yahoo! Shopping uses facets to help users select a camera128
    124. 124. Ordinary stuff? Epicurious uses facets to help users find recipes129
    125. 125. Yahoo! Personals• Faceted classification by Yahoo! Personas• Content by the users130
    126. 126. What’s the difference? Electronics Camera facets Camera Pixels Digital Zoom Film Price PDAs Televisions131
    127. 127. Our Music exampleEnumerative Faceted• Modern • Mood – Rock • Tempo • Alternative – Seattle • Artist – Atlanta • Use132
    128. 128. Mix and match?In Yahoo Shopping• Electronics > Cameras > Digital• Then choose by pixel, zoom and price• Then offer camera bag, flash card, batteries?133
    129. 129. Facets, anyone? What facets would you use to describe the qualities of a song?134
    130. 130. Making Facets 1. Consider the universe of documents to be indexed. 2. Consider user finding strategies. 3. Analyze each document to identify the facets. 4. Group isolates (simple-concept subjects) into the facets. 5. Apply the notational system. (I skipped some steps, to avoid wonking out….)135
    131. 131. Are Facets Hard?Consider: – Facets for a knife store? – Facets for a kitchen store? – Facets for a book store?136
    132. 132. Before jumping in…Consider:• How various is your content?• How complex is your subject?• How do people find your content?• How much time do you have?137
    133. 133. Is this all there is?
    134. 134. Information Architecture is: Architecture inInformation Spaces.
    135. 135. Dan Klyn (and TUG) is bringing RichardSaul Wurman’s and other architect’sviews back to make better digitalproducts
    136. 136. “Less is more.” ~ Mies
    137. 137. What does a digital product want?• A librarian?• An urban planner?• An architect?
    138. 138. ―Modern Systems! Yes indeed! To approach everything in a strictly methodical manner and not to waver a hair’s breath from preconceived patterns, until genius has been strangled to death and joie de vivre stifled by the system– that is the sign of our time.‖ Camillo Sitte
    139. 139. Homework• Content inventory: what’s in your site?• Organizational Scheme – Hierarchal? – Faceted? – Combination?• Portfolio: Site map (a la Dan Brown’s Communicating design Chapter 5)