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Confident in
Our Value Proposition
Kaarin Hoff
IA, The Understanding Group
@kaarinh @undrstndng
Information Everywhere,
Architects Everywhere.
Everyone architects information,
but everyone is not an information architect.
There is a mentality difference.
What I mean when I say
“information architect”
Photo credit: https://coronalabs.com/dilbert/
Engineer is an identity,
a wa...
I am an IA.
I am confident and clear
about my purpose and worth.
I am an IA.
I am confident and clear
about my purpose and worth.
Why can’t you just build it?
Why don’t you just know the r...
I am an IA.
I am confident and clear
about my purpose and worth.
Why can’t you just build it?
Why don’t you just know the r...
I am an IA.
I am confident and clear
about my purpose and worth.
Figure out the WHAT
Before determining HOW
Pace Layers
Pace Layers
Example
Application
Tools
Best Practices
“People like me”
front and center!
This line of text is
really long and
hard to read
)(
Clear call to actio...
Approach
Approach
Photo credit: http://blog.buildllc.com/2010/05/cardboard-forts-a-critical-analysis-part-1/Photo credit: Scott Leslie, alan...
Backyard Fort
• Users
• Stakeholders
• Tools
• Time constraints
• Risks
• Budget
Exposing the Parts: Fort
Climb Hide Peek
Watch
child
Survey Hang Slide
Soft
Ground
Swing
Cheap
Climb Hide Peek
Watch
child
Look Hang Slide
Soft
Ground
Swing
Cheap
Deciding Together: Fort
Climb Hide Peek
Watch
child
Survey Hang Slide
Soft
Ground
Swing
Affordable
Deciding Together: Fort
Exposing the Parts: Digital Example
Exposing the Parts: Digital Example
Climb
Hide
Peek
Survey
Hang
Slide
Swing
Play
Determining the System: Fort
weights and dependencies
Watch child
Safety
Soft...
Watch child
Safety
Soft
ground
Affordable
Deciding Together: Fort
Climb
Hide
Peek
Survey
Hang
Slide
Swing
Play
Watch child
Safety
Soft
ground
Affordable
Deciding Together: Fort
Climb
Hide
Peek
Survey
Hang
Slide
Swing
Play
1 mention = 12
2 mention = 16
3 mention = 18
4 =
5 =
6 mentions = 24
7 mentions = 27
UMD Value & Purpose
In Community
Indu...
Climb
Survey
Hang
Slide
Swing
Hide Peek
Determining the System: Fort
Advocacy (Generates Awareness)
Initiative 3
Volunteers
Initiatives
Initiative 4
is a
Grant
is a
is a
is a
is of type
Initi...
Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences
By Geoffrey C. Bowker, Susan Leigh Star
“Each category valorizes
s...
Meaning is negotiated
Watch child
Safety
Soft
ground
Affordable
Climb
Hide
Peek
Survey
Hang
Slide
Swing
Play
Deciding Together: Fort
Deciding Together: Digital Example
Great final products
Climb
Hide
Peek
Survey
Hang Slide
Swing
Play
Surveil child
Safety
Soft
ground
Afforda
ble
Great final products
Cost TravelSafety
Personal
Attention
PhilosophySchedule
Childcare
Cost
Travel
Safety
Personal
Attention
Philosophy
Schedule
Childcare
Cost
Travel
Safety
Personal
Attention
Philosophy
Schedule
Childcare Meaning is negotiated
I am an IA.
I am confident and clear
about my purpose and worth.
I am an IA.
I am confident and clear
about my purpose and worth
Friends!
You value clarity.
Come learn about IA.
I am an IA...
Thank you for listening!
Kaarin Hoff
IA, The Understanding Group
@kaarinh @undrstndng
When is this Toolkit needed?
Snow fort: http://www.stonehurstmanor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/snow-fort.jpg
Business f...
Clifford Geertz
American Symbolic Anthropologist
“Man is an animal suspended in webs
of significance he himself has spun. ...
Information Architecture: Value Proposition of Our Approach
Information Architecture: Value Proposition of Our Approach
Information Architecture: Value Proposition of Our Approach
Information Architecture: Value Proposition of Our Approach
Information Architecture: Value Proposition of Our Approach
Information Architecture: Value Proposition of Our Approach
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Information Architecture: Value Proposition of Our Approach

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We have to get comfortable explaining the purpose and value of the IA approach. We are more than our deliverables. We have to sell our process. We have to defend our ability to do proper discovery – stakeholder interviews, content audits, user interviews, modeling... We are the gatekeepers that hold off the solutions, the how, until we know the what and who and why. And explaining that can be really difficult! This talk aims to help us all become more comfortable with, and confident in, explaining our value proposition.

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Information Architecture: Value Proposition of Our Approach

  1. 1. Confident in Our Value Proposition Kaarin Hoff IA, The Understanding Group @kaarinh @undrstndng
  2. 2. Information Everywhere, Architects Everywhere.
  3. 3. Everyone architects information, but everyone is not an information architect. There is a mentality difference.
  4. 4. What I mean when I say “information architect” Photo credit: https://coronalabs.com/dilbert/ Engineer is an identity, a way of approaching the world, an affinity your friends and neighbors won’t let you forget.
  5. 5. I am an IA. I am confident and clear about my purpose and worth.
  6. 6. I am an IA. I am confident and clear about my purpose and worth. Why can’t you just build it? Why don’t you just know the right answer? How many solutions could there possibly be?
  7. 7. I am an IA. I am confident and clear about my purpose and worth. Why can’t you just build it? Why don’t you just know the right answer? How many solutions could there possibly be? IA isn’t about having the right answers; it’s about having the right approach that gets you to the right answers.
  8. 8. I am an IA. I am confident and clear about my purpose and worth. Figure out the WHAT Before determining HOW
  9. 9. Pace Layers
  10. 10. Pace Layers
  11. 11. Example
  12. 12. Application
  13. 13. Tools
  14. 14. Best Practices “People like me” front and center! This line of text is really long and hard to read )( Clear call to action )
  15. 15. Approach
  16. 16. Approach
  17. 17. Photo credit: http://blog.buildllc.com/2010/05/cardboard-forts-a-critical-analysis-part-1/Photo credit: Scott Leslie, alan_levine_and_kids2 (creative commons)
  18. 18. Backyard Fort • Users • Stakeholders • Tools • Time constraints • Risks • Budget
  19. 19. Exposing the Parts: Fort Climb Hide Peek Watch child Survey Hang Slide Soft Ground Swing Cheap
  20. 20. Climb Hide Peek Watch child Look Hang Slide Soft Ground Swing Cheap Deciding Together: Fort
  21. 21. Climb Hide Peek Watch child Survey Hang Slide Soft Ground Swing Affordable Deciding Together: Fort
  22. 22. Exposing the Parts: Digital Example
  23. 23. Exposing the Parts: Digital Example
  24. 24. Climb Hide Peek Survey Hang Slide Swing Play Determining the System: Fort weights and dependencies Watch child Safety Soft ground Affordable
  25. 25. Watch child Safety Soft ground Affordable Deciding Together: Fort Climb Hide Peek Survey Hang Slide Swing Play
  26. 26. Watch child Safety Soft ground Affordable Deciding Together: Fort Climb Hide Peek Survey Hang Slide Swing Play
  27. 27. 1 mention = 12 2 mention = 16 3 mention = 18 4 = 5 = 6 mentions = 24 7 mentions = 27 UMD Value & Purpose In Community Industry & Business Institutional Efficiency Institutional Requirements Content Structure, Types & Rules Fresh Get Involved in UMD & SE Michigan Getting Enrolled, Taking Courses & Matriculating Prospective Student Grads Current Students Connect Current Students with SE Michigan Library Faculty Make it easy for students to find the information they need to - choose UMD, - sign up for events, - request information, - find out about affordability, scholarships & aid, - apply, - enroll, - and Get situated at UMD This project will be successful if it gets done! and the UMD site becomes the resource it needs to be to the students (We've been promised new functionality & we want it) Prominent display of the UM- Dearborn brand with a modern look, feel and performance with excellence in voice and tone Prospective Grad: Clarify the online experience Help students easily find out if UMD has the program they are interested in, demonstrate what the degree can do for them, cost/funding, logistics (prerequisites, schedule, required credits, what is required to apply) Site structure needs to provide clarity between Grad Services and individual units, who handles what, where students can go to get more information, etc Website currently feels faculty-centric and needs to switch to being student-centric Separate prospective & current student audiences There are calls to action and easy places for graduate students to let us know of their interest Engage students once they are admitted, initiating a sense of having arrived & become a part of UMD, (Faculty & Staff engagement is a side effect of what is done for students), Enhance the identity of UMD Make it easy to tell good stories and events Need ability to make web content more alluring, engaging, dynamic and visual Support easily publishing events & stories to any appropriate location on the web platform, regardless of which section created the story (Making the best use of limited resources & allowing students to see news & events from outside their schools) Eventually want students created content to be part of the story / site (with limited access) Website should help establish a university-wide culture of sustainable processes & procedures for administration of curriculum, degrees, etc by providing faculty & administrative staff w easy access to process & policy standards, existing committee information (mission, current agenda, past work, etc), steps to modify or deactivate an existing program, and other campus wide administrative activities Promote faculty profiles, contact information, research & grant approvals, recent activities, and generally stories of how the work they do has contributed to the university Promote student success (placement & completion) & availability of help when needed & how to get it. Reduce duplication inconsistency by pulling info from authoritative sources (scholarship info from Financial Aid, donation info from UMD Development, donation button from UM OUD, etc) Separate “Admissions” and “Aid” in site navigation Make forms be true online forms If for some reason that isn't possible or necessary, provide writable PDFs Make processes more clear to students Provide user-friendly instructions (videos & infographics), not just text instructions Would like site improvements to allow student self-service & reduce the need for people to contact the Financial Aid office (phone or in-person) Retain history of UMD activities & ties to the community via accessible and clear archive of newsletters, Legacy, Reporter, etc/ on website RSVP system easier for staff to use Find an easier way provide access to Legacy Magazine than PDF and Flipbook, include being searchable, browsable by story, not just by issue Make the Library action focused (by audience type) Library site should expose events & information on Campus Life (non-library services, including finding a computer, group-study room, etc) Library is becoming a Student academic support hub and needs to surface the writing center and tutoring Expose Library services of assisting faculty with designing student research assignments to directly impact learning outcome goals & student success Expose Library service of teaching information literacy & research skills they need to accomplish assignments Expose to the Library's ability to assist faculty research interests Clear explanation of all the ways to make a difference with UMD, and clear calls to action Make it clear to both community & strategic partners where to go on the website to find information they need or to get connected to people who can help Bring together the tools and information they need to find co-op/work study or internship candidates, engage in research or get something tested, use facilities, volunteer as mentors, etc Make a a 1-stop-shop for telling what UMD is doing and what impact they have had on the community, and for getting involved in SE Michigan (for all people in SE Mich, through the lens of UMD) Reflection of current happenings on website "Feeling of University isn’t doing this for you, but with you - Avoid separation" Degree process (eg undergraduates start in CASL, continuing on to MA after certificate) - (future, location clarity around Social Work at UMF vsUMD) For graduate information, include what degrees offered, what they can expect to be able to do when they get out (how will they use it), how long it will take to finish, and how will they pay for it, what is the job market like, what are the exit options if my life needs change? School homepages should be fresh and market their identity School homepages should be able to highlight their curriculum and promote programs as needed For each school website, show images of students working, classroom teaching & project shots Make it personal with “people like me” - video, or could hear them talking, or just a quotation For each school website, surface the vibrancy in the Student Organizations & tie to events/ current happenings Want people to think of UMD when they think of business, innovation in business, or education in business Be able to capture prospective student contact information on marketing landing pages Prospective faculty should be able to easily find curriculum, degree programs, who the other faculty are Surface information needed to stay accredited and show transparency & accountability Be compliant with standards Show that UMD is tuned into the problems of the region, and the impact UMD has when engaged with those problems (breakthroughs, etc) Show how well it works to engage UMD on Translational Research Let local industry see the way UMD understands and is addressing their problems Encourage students to get involved with research Demonstrate the connection and interdependence between UMD & SE Michigan, and let this be a difference from other university websites, putting it up front with the teaching, scholarship & integrated learning messages Content & Communication Goals Platform & Operational Goals Alumni Clear “Stay connected” buttons on site (update contact information) Reflection of UMD's philanthropic culture throughout the website through storytelling around student and faculty experiences Demonstrate how people make a difference by giving a gift - Affordability and accessibility of UMD education, Producing the talent base for SE Michigan, Lots of great things happening on & off campus - others are involved and you can be too Searchable database for Community Impact opportunities, events, etc Content Strategy Process & Governance Display content online as webpages when possible (vs content displayed in PDF form) Need trained & assigned content owners to govern and manage content on the site, in a culture of open communication Need training on how to write better web content Get regular web traffic analytic reports to better understand what is/is not working Help for faculty putting more information on the website - more proactive in getting their research up Promote student volunteerism, internships and achievements, such as involvement in breakthrough technology Area Schools Expose the possibility of high schools taking courses early to ease the transition – crossing the boundaries Provide a frame around local industry for K-12; introducing it to students Tell a little story about it for students who are trying to figure out the whole world After providing the procedural functionality needed, the website should enable students to encounter and explore interesting and engaging information about opportunities and possibilities of what their future may hold. This is especially important in arts & science, given that a large % of students are undecided. They should be able to stumble on things that are interesting and make them curious. They should be exposed to examples of what they can become after they graduate from UMD, perhaps through a showcase of success stories (where they go, what they do, and what contributions they make) so they can understand what success can look like. Wants a user-friendly system, allowing some people in units to make certain changes vs. having to ask the Digital Team for every change/addition. But also find a balance with constraints, so the content is kept consistent and high-quality. Determining the System: Digital Example
  28. 28. Climb Survey Hang Slide Swing Hide Peek Determining the System: Fort
  29. 29. Advocacy (Generates Awareness) Initiative 3 Volunteers Initiatives Initiative 4 is a Grant is a is a is a is of type Initiative 1 Initiative 2 for is aimed at is a is a prepare agenda for the have Government ZMags (publications, products, catalogs) Online System Unit 6 State & Federal Organization* make aware Law Violators make Congress Board of Delegates is an feed content and the best practices in is primarily aimed at help in driving the organizes EHS focused Award Dinner has is an DB for Volunteers DB are placed in Initiative 5 Division Delegates two are delegates to the get appointed to form two are part of Members* (Organizations) five together form a feed best best practice, policy recommendations Commercial Direct Support Unit 6 are acquired by Territory Chapters Locations Companies Training Centers Members (Organizations) Have Participation Record Trade Associations Organizatio n* ▪ Direct Email Campaigns ▪ Sales Teams (Field and Internal) ▪ Direct Marketing (SEM, Organic Searches) can be participants in LMS DB Classroom Training Onsite Training Online Training Librarians have Knowledge Management and Creation KMS DB take care of Course-books, Classes, Videos, Work-books, Training Materials Reference Librarian Services (alerts, emails) use Inventory Products deliveres supplied to Sales Team are also sold by International Council is a subsidiary of Companies Outside US owns VAR Distributor Partner Engaged Chapters are labeled into Internal Team (Subject Matter Experts) External Team Content Vision Creative Packaging and Products Modules and Training Material handles handle Contact (primary, training center) Person is a belongs to belongs to Intranet Employees of Organization Online Interface search, do research on has a limited functionality call, email Archived content (brochures, magazines, articles etc.) dating back to Organization inception contains Sponsorship is a is of type for Business Units Unit 2 Unit 1 Unit 4 Unit 5 Unit 3 Unit 6 Unit 8 Unit 7 Products Product 7Product 2 Product 4 Product 5 Product 3 Product 1 Product 8 Product 9 Product 6 get assisted by offer drives is aimed at for other offer is offered on delivered by delivered by delivered by Members Non Members Safety and Health ePublications Colleges CD Version Monthly Emails is also available in is of types are available as is of type are purchased primarily by are subscribed to by have Channels Distributors Direct (Inside, Field Sales) Chapters Public Instructors Service Aggregators are are being sold using assist in creation of has has connect to have links to assist in creation of are acquired by are acquired by solve queries of CRM DB are placed in are placed in are of type assist in creation of take give services to offers offers gain access to/ can modify based on permissions CMS (Wordpress, Sharepoint) DB Shopping Cart Online System is build using Shared Services Lead Generation Awards Packaged Training Research & StatisticsMarketing Communication Publications are of types are of types offers Purchasers is a purchase through are sold via are sold via purchase through archives Magazines Books Facts NewsletterWebinars Pay-wall Free Members only provide Compu-System (data and campaign management) Online System Organizatio n* are are being sold using Exhibitors pay to present on provide take Campaigns Campaign 1 Campaign 2 Awesome Award are published on are of type is a is a Great Plains - Accounting System DB Email Campaigns Tool export emails to Marketing used for sales data are accessed viahandle advertising data is stored in sales data Course Course 1 Course 5 Course 4 Course 3 Course 2 Court Corporate State give Determining the System: Digital Example
  30. 30. Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences By Geoffrey C. Bowker, Susan Leigh Star “Each category valorizes some point of view and silences another.”
  31. 31. Meaning is negotiated
  32. 32. Watch child Safety Soft ground Affordable Climb Hide Peek Survey Hang Slide Swing Play Deciding Together: Fort
  33. 33. Deciding Together: Digital Example
  34. 34. Great final products
  35. 35. Climb Hide Peek Survey Hang Slide Swing Play Surveil child Safety Soft ground Afforda ble Great final products
  36. 36. Cost TravelSafety Personal Attention PhilosophySchedule Childcare
  37. 37. Cost Travel Safety Personal Attention Philosophy Schedule Childcare
  38. 38. Cost Travel Safety Personal Attention Philosophy Schedule Childcare Meaning is negotiated
  39. 39. I am an IA. I am confident and clear about my purpose and worth.
  40. 40. I am an IA. I am confident and clear about my purpose and worth Friends! You value clarity. Come learn about IA. I am an IA. I am confident and clear about my purpose and worth.
  41. 41. Thank you for listening! Kaarin Hoff IA, The Understanding Group @kaarinh @undrstndng
  42. 42. When is this Toolkit needed? Snow fort: http://www.stonehurstmanor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/snow-fort.jpg Business fort: http://www.childrensdiscoverymuseum.net/exhibits/photo-gallery/luckey-climber/
  43. 43. Clifford Geertz American Symbolic Anthropologist “Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun. I take culture to be those webs and the analysis of it to be not an experimental science in search of law but an interpretive one in search of meaning.”

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