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Adaptable Information Workshop slides

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Slides for my full-day information architecture workshop. Will teach in Minneapolis, MN (November 12, 2012) and Toronto, ON (November 29, 2012) Details: http://rosenfeldmedia.com/workshops/

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Adaptable Information Workshop slides

  1. 1. Adaptable Information ArchitectureHow to say no to your next redesign Lou Rosenfeld •  lou@rosenfeldmedia.com Rosenfeld Media UX Workshops •  Fall 2012
  2. 2. Hello, my name is Lou www.louisrosenfeld.com | www.rosenfeldmedia.com
  3. 3. Agenda1. Hello / What is information architecture?2. Why redesign should die / The alternatives3. Prioritizing and tuning top-down navigation4. Break5. Exercise: content modeling6. Lunch7. Prioritizing and tuning contextual navigation8. Exercise: site search analytics9. Break10. Prioritizing and tuning search11. Changing your work and your organization / Discussion
  4. 4. What isinformation architecture?
  5. 5. Definition The art and science of structuring, organizing and labeling information to help people find and manage it.
  6. 6. Three circles
  7. 7. Three tracks1. Top-down navigation: Anticipates interests/questions at arrival2. Bottom-up (contextual) navigation: Enables answers to emerge3. Search: Handles specific information needs
  8. 8. What is redesignand why should it die?
  9. 9. Why am I so down onredesign?
  10. 10. Why am I so down onredesign?
  11. 11. Redesign ishollow, meaningless,and a vanity.It is the true definitionof insanity.
  12. 12. A story in the Ann ArborNews
  13. 13. UM was going to redesign itsGateway
  14. 14. UM was going to redesign itsGateway
  15. 15. UM was going to redesign itsGateway
  16. 16. UM was going to redesign itsGateway
  17. 17. $250,0 00
  18. 18. $250,0work study students! 00
  19. 19. $250,0work study students! 00 WebObjects!
  20. 20. They even had a ribbon-cutting
  21. 21. This became...
  22. 22. ...this
  23. 23. ...this
  24. 24. ...this
  25. 25. ...this
  26. 26. Then they did itall over again
  27. 27. Then they did itall over againand again
  28. 28. Then they did itall over againand againand again
  29. 29. Then they did itall over againand againand againand again
  30. 30. Where we are today
  31. 31. Where we are today
  32. 32. Where we are today
  33. 33. Where we are today
  34. 34. Where problems are undefinedlies insanity and vanity
  35. 35. Where problems are undefinedlies insanity and vanity We attempt the impossible: “boil the ocean” in no time at great cost
  36. 36. Where problems are undefinedlies insanity and vanity We attempt the impossible: “boil the ocean” in no time at great cost We believe the unbelievable: unwarranted claims from agencies and software vendors
  37. 37. Where problems are undefinedlies insanity and vanity We attempt the impossible: “boil the ocean” in no time at great cost We believe the unbelievable: unwarranted claims from agencies and software vendors We become irresponsible: unwarranted declarations of victory at the expense of our teams and users
  38. 38. See the problem differently
  39. 39. Your site is acomplex adaptive systemJohn Holland:“A Complex Adaptive Systemis a dynamic network ofmany agents acting in parallel,constantly acting and reactingto what the other agents aredoing.”
  40. 40. Examples of CAS
  41. 41. Examples of CAS
  42. 42. Examples of CAS
  43. 43. Your site is a moving targetbuilt on moving targets
  44. 44. Your site is many sites, products,things out of your control more John Holland: “The control of a complex adaptive system tends to be highly dispersed and decentralized... “The overall behavior of the system is the result of a huge number of decisions made every moment by many individual agents.”
  45. 45. “The perfect is theenemy of the good.”Voltaire mighthave added:“Constant changemeans never havingto say you’re sorry.”
  46. 46. You can’t redesignBut you must refine1. Prioritize: Identify the important problems regularly2. Tune: Address those problems regularly3. Be opportunistic: Look for low-hanging fruit
  47. 47. Prioritize becausea little goes a long way
  48. 48. A handful of queries/tasks/ways to navigate/features/ A little goes a long waydocuments meet the needs of your most important audiences
  49. 49. A handful of queries/tasks/ways to navigate/features/ A little goes a long waydocuments meet the needs of your most important audiences
  50. 50. A handful of queries/tasks/ways to navigate/features/ A little goes a long waydocuments meet the needs of your most important audiences
  51. 51. A handful of queries/tasks/ways to navigate/features/ A little goes a long waydocuments meet the needs of your most important audiences
  52. 52. A handful of queries/tasks/ways to navigate/features/ A little goes a long waydocuments meet the needs of your most important audiences
  53. 53. (and the tail is quite long)
  54. 54. (and the tail is quite long)
  55. 55. (and the tail is quite long)
  56. 56. (and the tail is quite long)
  57. 57. (and the tail is quite long)
  58. 58. Zipf in text
  59. 59. A little really does goa long way A handful of... • queries • tasks • ways to navigate • features • documents ...meet the needs of your most important audiences
  60. 60. Unverified rumor:90% of Microsoft.com’s content has never been accessed
  61. 61. From prioritization......to a report card (repeat regularly)
  62. 62. Treat your site like an onion Each layer is cumulative informationlayer usability content strategy architecture indexed by search 0 engine leave it alone leave it alone squeaky wheel issues 1 tagged by users addressed refresh annually tagged by experts (non- test with a service 2 topical tags) (e.g., UserTesting.com) refresh monthly tagged by experts “traditional” lab-based titled according to 3 (topical tags) user testing guidelines deep links to support structured according 4 contextual navigation A/B testing to schema
  63. 63. Be an incrementalist:tune because things change
  64. 64. From projects to processes:a regular regimen of design Example: the rolling content inventory
  65. 65. Impact of change on design(queries)
  66. 66. IRS before 4/15
  67. 67. Before April 15IRS before 4/15
  68. 68. IRS after 4/15
  69. 69. After April 15IRS after 4/15
  70. 70. Be an opportunist:look for the low-hanging fruit1. Top-down navigation: Anticipates interests/questions at arrival2. Bottom-up (contextual) navigation: Enables answers to emerge3. Search: Handles specific information needs
  71. 71. Life by a thousand cuts 50% of users are search dominantx 5% of all queries are typos, fixed by spell checking. 2.5% improvement to the UX 50% of all users are search dominantx 30% (best bet results for top 100 queries) 15% improvement to the UXDitto for improving content, search results design,navigation design…
  72. 72. Summary Site redesign is wasteful, expensive, and ineffective 1. You don’t have a single, perfectible site 2. You do have a collection of living, changing pockets of content and functionality You can refine 3. Prioritize the problems that are most important to your users 4. Regularly address these problems 5. Identify opportunities to make small improvements that go a long way
  73. 73. Prioritizing and TuningTop-Down Navigation
  74. 74. The data-driven main page:Who wants what and when?
  75. 75. Who wants what?US English speakers
  76. 76. Who wants what?German speakers
  77. 77. When do they want it?
  78. 78. Commerce sites get it
  79. 79. The IRS gets it
  80. 80. But really, who caresabout the main page?
  81. 81. But really, who caresabout the main page?
  82. 82. The risk of main page fixationFrom Tony Dunn’s Tales from Redesignland(http://redesignland.blogspot.com/)
  83. 83. Focusing on main page =taking Zipf too far...plus lots of competition (Google, ads/landing pages)
  84. 84. The tail that wags the dog:site map drivesimproved site hierarchy
  85. 85. Site map by tool, unit, and format
  86. 86. Site map by tool, unit, and format
  87. 87. Site map by tool, unit, and format
  88. 88. User-centered site mapUser-centered site map...
  89. 89. Asking the possiblefrom your site index
  90. 90. Specialized site indices
  91. 91. Specialized site indices
  92. 92. Specialized site indices Cisco’s site indices are specialized by content type (products, services)
  93. 93. Best bet-based site indices MSU’s site index is built on popular information needs (based on best bet search results)
  94. 94. Going broad and deep withguides (AKA microsites)
  95. 95. Kansas main pages loves guides
  96. 96. Kansas main pages loves guides
  97. 97. But the guides need a littlework
  98. 98. Vanguard’s main page lovesguides
  99. 99. Vanguard’s main page lovesguides
  100. 100. The Tax Center is a guide
  101. 101. One more example: IRS
  102. 102. One more example: IRS
  103. 103. ...e-filing is presented assequential steps
  104. 104. Summary: Top-down navigation Prioritize main page content and layout 1. Confuse as necessary by diverting attention 2. Counter politics with data; e.g., use seasonality to drive design Tune and prioritize site-wide navigation 3. Use the site map as a skunkworks for site-wide hierarchy 4. Base site indices on specialized content or popular information needs (e.g., best bets) 5. Use guides (micro-sites) as narrow/deep complement to broad/shallow navigation schemes
  105. 105. Break
  106. 106. Agenda1. Hello / What is information architecture?2. Why redesign should die / The alternatives3. Prioritizing and tuning top-down navigation4. Break5. Exercise: content modeling6. Lunch7. Prioritizing and tuning contextual navigation8. Exercise: site search analytics9. Break10. Prioritizing and tuning search11. Changing your work and your organization / Discussion
  107. 107. concert calendar album pages artist descriptions TV listings Exercise: Content Modelingalbum reviews discography artist bios
  108. 108. Lunch
  109. 109. Agenda1. Hello / What is information architecture?2. Why redesign should die / The alternatives3. Prioritizing and tuning top-down navigation4. Break5. Exercise: content modeling6. Lunch7. Prioritizing and tuning contextual navigation8. Exercise: site search analytics9. Break10. Prioritizing and tuning search11. Changing your work and your organization / Discussion
  110. 110. Prioritizing and TuningContextual Navigation
  111. 111. Establishing Desire LinesUse Content modeling • Site search analytics
  112. 112. Where do searches begin?Not just the mainpage, according to aUser InterfaceEngineering study(http://is.gd/j1NHeS)
  113. 113. Using site search analyticsto identify desire lines
  114. 114. Choose acommon contenttype (e.g., events) 
Where should 
users go from here? 

  115. 115. 
 
 
 
 
 
Analyze frequent queries generated from each content sample
  116. 116. 
 


  117. 117. 
 
 
Develop logic that automatically links an event to:1. articles that share the event’s topic2. events that share the topic but have differentgeographic locales
  118. 118. What content typesshould we be connecting?
  119. 119. Important content types emerge from content modeling concert calendar album pages artist descriptions TV listingsalbum reviews discography artist bios
  120. 120. Using SSA to prioritize contenttypes
  121. 121. Getting content types out ofsite search analytics Take an hour to... • Analyze top 50 queries (20% of all search activity) • Ask and iterate: “what kind of content would users be looking for when they searched these terms?” • Add cumulative percentages Result: prioritized list of potential content types #1) application: 11.77% #2) reference: 10.5% #3) instructions: 8.6% #4) main/navigation pages: 5.91% #5) contact info: 5.79%
  122. 122. What should we use toconnect content types?
  123. 123. Which metadata attributes will yourcontent model depend upon?
  124. 124. More on prioritizing metadata attributes
  125. 125. Prioritizing semantic relationships
  126. 126. How do weprioritize content?
  127. 127. Some content value variables I
  128. 128. Some content value variables I UsabilityPopularityCredibility
  129. 129. Some content value variables Currency Freshness Authority Follows guidelines (e.g., titling, I metadata) UsabilityPopularityCredibility
  130. 130. Some content value variables Currency Freshness Authority Follows guidelines (e.g., titling, I metadata) UsabilityPopularityCredibility Strategic value Addresses compliance issues (e.g., Sarbanes/Oxley) Content owners are good partners
  131. 131. Subjectively “grade” your content’s value1.Chooseappropriate valuecriteria for eachcontent area2.Weight criteria(total = 100%)3.Subjectively gradefor each criterion4.weight x grade= score5.Add scores foroverall score
  132. 132. Subjectively “grade” your content’s value1.Choose Subjectiveappropriate value assessmentcriteria for eachcontent area2.Weight criteria(total = 100%)3.Subjectively gradefor each criterion4.weight x grade= score5.Add scores foroverall score
  133. 133. Put the grades together for a moreobjective “report card” Helps prioritize content migrations, refreshes, ...
  134. 134. Put the grades together for a moreobjective “report card” Objectifies subjective assessments Helps prioritize content migrations, refreshes, ...
  135. 135. Summary:contextual navigation Use content modeling and site search analytics to 1. Identify and prioritize content types 2. Identify desire lines 3. Improve contextual navigation between content types 4. Identify and prioritize metadata attributes Prioritize content areas/subsites by establishing balanced value criteria
  136. 136. Agenda1. Hello / What is information architecture?2. Why redesign should die / The alternatives3. Prioritizing and tuning top-down navigation4. Break5. Exercise: content modeling6. Lunch7. Prioritizing and tuning contextual navigation8. Exercise: site search analytics9. Break10. Prioritizing and tuning search11. Changing your work and your organization / Discussion
  137. 137. Exercise: site search analytics
  138. 138. Break
  139. 139. Agenda1. Hello / What is information architecture?2. Why redesign should die / The alternatives3. Prioritizing and tuning top-down navigation4. Break5. Exercise: content modeling6. Lunch7. Prioritizing and tuning contextual navigation8. Exercise: site search analytics9. Break10. Prioritizing and tuning search11. Changing your work and your organization / Discussion
  140. 140. Prioritizing and Tuning Search
  141. 141. Make “the Box” accommodatemost searchers’ queries
  142. 142. How long are our queries? Top 500 queries (37% of all traffic)
  143. 143. Mean = 10.6 charactersMedian = 10 characters
  144. 144. Mean = 10.6 charactersMedian = 10 charactersLong tail queries likely longer
  145. 145. Mean = 10.6 charactersMedian = 10 charactersLong tail queries likely longerTop queries often in low 20s 

  146. 146. Mean = 10.6 charactersMedian = 10 charactersLong tail queries likely longerTop queries often in low 20sDesired: @30 characters;Can you get that many? 

  147. 147. Mean = 10.6 charactersMedian = 10 charactersLong tail queries likely longerTop queries often in low 20sDesired: @30 characters;Can you get that many? 
Safe: @15-20 characters
  148. 148. We’ve seen this before:auto-completing queries
  149. 149. Auto-completing from aknown, common items (e.g.,
  150. 150. Auto-completing from aknown, common items (e.g., Uses known terms: e.g., movie titles and actor/director names
  151. 151. Auto-completing from queries
  152. 152. Uses common queriesAuto-completing from queries
  153. 153. Auto-completing from bestbets
  154. 154. Auto-completing from bestbets Uses best bets
  155. 155. Making change easy:supporting query refinement
  156. 156. The absolutemeaninglessness ofadvanced search
  157. 157. The absolute meaninglessness of advanced search 
At University of Alaska-Fairbanks,advanced = expanded search
  158. 158. The absolute meaninglessness of advanced search 
At University of Alaska-Fairbanks,advanced = expanded search At the IRS, advanced = narrowed search 

  159. 159. Contextualizing “advanced” features
  160. 160. Look to session data forprogression and context
  161. 161. Look to session data forprogression and context search session patterns 1. solar energy 2. how solar energy works
  162. 162. Look to session data forprogression and context search session patterns 1. solar energy 2. how solar energy works search session patterns 1. solar energy 2. energy
  163. 163. Look to session data forprogression and context search session patterns search session patterns 1. solar energy 1. solar energy 2. solar energy charts 2. how solar energy works search session patterns 1. solar energy 2. energy
  164. 164. Look to session data forprogression and context search session patterns search session patterns 1. solar energy 1. solar energy 2. solar energy charts 2. how solar energy works search session patterns search session patterns 1. solar energy 1. solar energy 2. explain solar energy 2. energy
  165. 165. Look to session data forprogression and context search session patterns search session patterns 1. solar energy 1. solar energy 2. solar energy charts 2. how solar energy works search session patterns search session patterns 1. solar energy 1. solar energy 2. explain solar energy 2. energy search session patterns 1. solar energy 2. solar energy news
  166. 166. Improving performance forspecialized queries
  167. 167. Recognizing proper nouns,dates, and unique ID#s
  168. 168. Surfacing specialized contenttypes in search results
  169. 169. Tuning Search Results:Handling specialized answers
  170. 170. Tuning Search Results:Handling specialized answers
  171. 171. Tuning Search Results:Handling specialized answers
  172. 172. Tuning Search Results: Handling specialized answers“Product quick links” come directly from product content modelThese results are a strong counterbalance to raw results
  173. 173. When raw isn’t good enough:best bet search results
  174. 174. best bet #1
  175. 175. best bet #1best bet #2
  176. 176. best bet #1best bet #2even more best bets
  177. 177. best bet #1best bet #2even more best betsraw results
  178. 178. best bet #1best bet #2even more best betsraw results
  179. 179. best bet #1 best bet #2 even more best betscompetition raw results
  180. 180. best bet #1 best bet #2 even more best betscompetition danger? raw results
  181. 181. best bet #1 best bet #2 even more best betscompetition danger? data raw results
  182. 182. The 0 search results page:search’s equivalent of the 404
  183. 183. Tuning Search Results: 0 results pagesNot helpful
  184. 184. Tuning Search Results: 0 results pagesNot helpfulMuch better: “Did youmean?” and Popular Searches
  185. 185. Summary: Search systems Tune query entry 1. Make “The Box” wide enough 2. Support query auto-completion to focus queries 3. Surface the right features to support query refinement 4. Recognize and take advantage of specialized queries Tune search results design 5. Surface specialized content types as results for specialized queries 6. Complement raw results with best bets 7. Enable recovery from finding 0 search results
  186. 186. Changing your workand your organization
  187. 187. Doing your work differently1. Processes, not projects2. Rebalancing your research and design
  188. 188. From time-boxed projectsto ongoing processes Example: the rolling content inventory
  189. 189. What else can roll? Each week, for example... • Analyze analytics for trends • Task analysis of common needs Each month... • User survey • Exploratory analysis of analytics data Each quarter... • Field study • Card sorting
  190. 190. Build a practice that’sbalanced and data-driven
  191. 191. User Research Landscapefrom Christian Rohrer: http://is.gd/95HSQ2
  192. 192. User Research Landscape Ongoing coverage of each of these 4 quadrantsfrom Christian Rohrer: http://is.gd/95HSQ2
  193. 193. A balanced research regimen Each week... • Analyze analytics for trends (Behavioral + Quantitative) • Task analysis of common needs (Behavioral + Qualitative) Each month... • User survey (Attitudinal + Quantitative) • Exploratory analysis of analytics data (Behavioral + Qualitative) Each quarter... • Field study (Behavioral/Attitudinal + Qualitative) • Card sorting (Attitudinal + Qualitative/Quantitative)
  194. 194. Lou’s TABLE OFOVERGENERALIZED Web Analytics User Experience DICHOTOMIES Users intentions and What they Users behaviors (whats motives (why those things analyze happening) happen) Qualitative methods for What methods Quantitative methods to explaining why things they employ determine whats happening happen Helps users achieve goals What theyre Helps the organization meet (expressed as tasks ortrying to achieve goals (expressed as KPI) topics of interest) Uncover patterns and How they use Measure performance (goal- surprises (emergent data driven analysis) analysis) Statistical data ("real" data Descriptive data (in smallWhat kind of data in large volumes, full of volumes, generated in lab they use errors) environment, full of errors)
  195. 195. Getting your organizationto support your work1. Making friends and allies2. Changing your leaders’ minds
  196. 196. Making friends and allies
  197. 197. Showing content ownershow their content performs
  198. 198. Showing content ownershow their content performs
  199. 199. Helping marketingdevelop better messagingJargon vs. Plain Language at Washtenaw Community College • Online courses were marketed using terms “College on Demand” (“COD”) and “FlexEd”; signup rates were poor • Compare jargon with “online” (used in 213 other queries) • Content was retitled rather than re-marketed
  200. 200. Helping IT say “no” with authorityReduce pressure to solve problems with technologies by making what we have workMinimize radical changes to platforms • Enterprise search • Content management systems • Analytics applications • ...
  201. 201. Changing leaders’ minds
  202. 202. Talking pointsfor refining, against redesigning 1. Solve the problem(s) 2. Save money 3. Reduce/end radical organizational changes
  203. 203. Solving the problem(s)• Forcing the issue: ban the term “redesign” from discussions• Data-driven definition / prioritization / tuning / opportunism• Creating anchors to keep project from spinning out of control: elevator pitch / mission / vision / goals / KPI
  204. 204. Steward Brand’s Pace Layeringmodel Typical design focus Stuff that gets ignored: mission, vision, charter, goals, KPI, objectives
  205. 205. Example of an anchor:your elevator pitch Read Gamestorming (Gray, Brown, Macanufo); O’Reilly, 2010). http://amzn.to/nnpERG
  206. 206. Saving money• Life by a thousand cuts: small changes have huge impacts (see: Zipf)• Reuse and retain technology investments• Retain institutional knowledge• Get more from your (empowered) team and make it pay for itself• Spend less on external support and fire your agency
  207. 207. Reduce/end radicalorganizational changes• End the pendulum swing from centralized to decentralized approaches• Reorganize information, not people• Build self-sustaining, steady in-house capabilities to prioritize and tune
  208. 208. Being prepared to fail
  209. 209. Sometimes your leadersare in a hurry
  210. 210. Sometimes your leadersare not very smart
  211. 211. Sometimes your organizationis immature
  212. 212. Nurit Peres’ Company UX Maturity Model(http://is.gd/x1dOuP)
  213. 213. Renato Feijó’s UX Maturity Model(http://is.gd/dul2t2)
  214. 214. Always be ready to gounder the radar
  215. 215. Summary: changing your workand your organization Do your work differently 1. Move from time-based projects to ongoing processes 2. Build a balanced, data-driven practice Get your organization to support your work 3. Make friends and allies 4. Change leaders’ minds by • Solving problems • Saving money • Reducing radical change Be prepared to fail
  216. 216. Discussion
  217. 217. Agenda1. Hello / What is information architecture?2. Why redesign should die / The alternatives3. Prioritizing and tuning top-down navigation4. Break5. Exercise: content modeling6. Lunch7. Prioritizing and tuning contextual navigation8. Exercise: site search analytics9. Break10. Prioritizing and tuning search11. Changing your work and your organization / Discussion
  218. 218. Say hello Lou Rosenfeld lou@louisrosenfeld.com Rosenfeld Media  www.louisrosenfeld.com | @louisrosenfeld www.rosenfeldmedia.com | @rosenfeldmedia

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