In my work from database beginnings to cross-channel communications, there are 3 consistent things. There are people.
There is content.
And there’s a schedule. My job, always, is to get the people and content on the schedule. It’s a herding instinct and not everyone is a Border Collie. I am.
My background is in first publishing, then Information Architecture. In creating digital experiences, we are making things people are going to use. Not just look at. Not just touch. Interaction does not mean use. That’s why you need Content Strategy. It supports and fuels all parts of design and development to elevate everyone’s contribution. http://contentstrategy.com/
If we can only look at two things about our content, let’s ask ourselves: It is usable? Is it useful?To me, a content inventory is like a treasure map. It helps guide our path to those answers. The way Peter Morville’s map shows us the other things we can bring into User Experience Design. In fact, we’ll talk about personas and scenarios before we start our content audit. Peter Morvillehttp://semanticstudios.com/publications/semantics/000228.php
The value of your inventory is not the stuff itself. Stuff doesn’t really matter unless someone finds it, wants it, uses it. Inventories and audits help you track how users experience content, flow, and paths.They give you a place to mark and evaluate content to take action and help create a common language and map for teams.
Jeff Veen inventory sample. Inventories are basic, you manually copy and paste from screen to spreadsheet every url on a website, following the navigation structure of the website. That was 2002.
Also know as a hellish, horrible process. So… If you’re going to do inventories and audits, you’re going to need ear plugs. You’ll need a plan before you start, know what you’re gong to gather, track and WHY. Some things you will need to tune out or it will be 20 years before you finish. By then, the whole world will have moved on and your original platform may not be around anymore – or somebody will be moving in on your territory, if you know what I mean, Penelope?John William Waterhouse http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:JOHN_WILLIAM_WATERHOUSE_-_Ulises_y_las_Sirenas_(National_Gallery_of_Victoria,_Melbourne,_1891._%C3%93leo_sobre_lienzo,_100.6_x_202_cm).jpg
I think Jon Colman took this pictureThere is no better way to prepare forPivotsAdaptationResponsive designMigrationOptimizationRelationships COPE – create once, publish everywhereCollaborationSilo BustingReuseCross-channel, multi-screen, pervasive – whatever, your inventory is basecamp. You need a basecamp.
The best way to see it is that we are ‘Making a molehill out of a mountain.’Gathering is easy. Analysis what makes it worth it. The deliverable is not a spreadsheet, it’s the informed decisions we create because of analysis. In gathering data, you need to learn the truth. Then you need to translate it into something palatable for stakeholders, staff and audiences. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ScalopusAquaticus.jpg
Itain’t over until you assign actions based on analysis.The value of inventory is not inventory. It’s how you leverage it to meet customer needs and establish relevance through marketing and UX and development (and anyone else who wants to get on board.) Jason HobbsIntroduction to User Journeyshttp://boxesandarrows.com/an-introduction-to-user-journeys/
Reel Grrls Inventory and Audit Process Examples from the Content Strategy for Information Architecture course at iSchool, Univeristy of Washington.
ID – unique identifier TitleLocationType (you can define this, I look for doc types html, phpvsjs or image or video or pdf or doc….)You are creating a directory. Each artifact must only appear once. An item has one location in your warehouse, no matter how many places you may have it on the sales floor. This is your warehouse, it’s backend. It’s a catalog, not an interface.
Enhanced Inventory from Content Insight http://content-insight.comCrawlers can help you gather more useful data such as:SizeDateLevelDescriptionKeywordsH1TagTextsLinksInLinksOutImagesAudiosVideosDownloadsServer Status Code Basic AnalyticsHere’s the thing. This information can help you run a diagnostic on the health of your content. It can help you identify low hanging fruit to fix. Or how to structure your audit. However, you still need to arrange it and give it an ID. The act of ordering the inventory, the ID can help you make sure you understand the frontend interface and navigation as well as the backend data.
Numbered sections replicate navigation. Notice the changes in yellow. This inventory was used to identify quick win changes to the website navigation labeling.
In closing, inventories help in finding low hanging fruit, and a process by which to see navigation or hierarchy the way the user experiences it Quantitative inventories, especially enhanced with tools, give us a lot of quick wins and help us prioritize for qualitative audits.
Diagnostic Tool. Before you audit. Before you model, analyze, create – GET RID OF THINGS. You don’t need all those things, do you?Outdated, trivial or redundant (ROT) content. Duplicates. Broken Links. Pages made up of 100 links someone has to manually update (except that never happens.) There are so many things that are not usable or useful on your site, consolidate, archive or remove those first. http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/06/this-is-why-ill-never-be-adult.html
It starts to get colorful.
UX Template, OmnigraffleIf you don’t have a user interview process in place, start lining it up. Personas are valuable in creating qualitative audit categories later – as long as you base personas on real people, real users. No fantasy, most desired, ideal users. Real people.
You can have stakeholder, staff and user interviews, do surveys, look at competitors site, get Forrester reports, go through customer service logs, read their social media channels. I prefer to EMBED. I hang out at the office, I go to their events, I talk to everyone and I listen to everyone for one week. I ask people to tell me stories about their lives, their use of technology, their interactions with content, their schedules, their commutes, their buying or donating habits, things they like, things they hate, pain points, frustrations…. But mostly stories.
For Reel Grrls, we identified 4 main audience types we wanted to serve with the website. We found, for the most part, participants, parents and volunteers were being served – they could figure out how to participate regardless of whether or not they knew there was a website.But donors. No.
What you put in a Persona profile should be determined ahead of time, with some room for flexibility. A picture helps. No celebrities, animals or anything else we embue with prior meaning. Give them a name. Give them a role, can be a job or relationship to organization. And give them a quote. Everything else is up to you and your teams. This persona is picky. High tech. Doesn’t do much donating. His goals are to Build Seattle Film CommunityNetwork with the right people Gain support for his effortsNOT – I want to find ways to donate my moneyTech Savvy: Extremely High, always on, mobile, social media, all forms of film and visual related softwarePain Points: Poor qualityToo many clicksNot taking film seriously or taking it too seriouslyIf you look like ‘just anybody can do this job’, he’s gone. So, he’s hard to please but we have mutual interests and goals. Does our website make that clear to him?
Here’s a quick sketch I took of a donor journey from first contact to donation. It’s a composite and I’m not a drawing person.
Donor meets a volunteer at a film gala – maybe even ours. Volunteer tells him about Reel Grrls film premieres online at the website. He’s intrigued. She follows up with a facebook invite (or any other way she figures out he prefers). He goes to the site and watches a movie. He likes it. He’s really impressed. He had no idea Reel Grrls was creating films of this quality. He thinks, I could donate. See the link on the credits. Goes to website. Donates.But more importantly, he tells people about it. AND he has a microphone.
Can you audit for that journey? Hell yes. But here’s my absolute must audit areas.Organization’s business goals. No more than 3.Does page speak to a persona?If so, does it speak to a person need?Is there a task for the user to do? How many? Not too many I hope. If the answer to any or all of the above is NO – do you need this page to exist? Seriously, then fix it. Revise it so that it does something usable and useful for people.
Here’s how I audit the journey. Now I know what to audit, I look at the page itself. In this case, with CAT from Content Insight, I can look at page and metadata at the same time and start identifying things like does this page relate to a Business goal, persona, persona need, tasks, stories…
One important point when you use crawlers/automated tools – they don’t catch everything. A human eye needs to check both the page and the crawler data. Here it says there are no videos on this page when there is one. So, what is wrong? Is it the code? Should I embed the video? I mark this question to review later in the audit or during analysis phase.
But let’s what through the journey. How many opportunities does the donor have to turn off his journey and abandon the site? Will he scroll down?Will he leave site for youtube?Is youtube be connected to donation page? Do we in fact ask people and make it easy for people to donate?
1.Let’s say the donor manually goes back to the website (maybe another day.) Can he find the donate option? In a place he actually looks?I see apprentice programs are big – I wonder if donation wouldn’t work there, instead? But can I call it outright donation or is that a heavy hammer? 2. Oh, there’s donation. It’s a button on top or it’s under support in the main nav. 3. Ok, he gets to the donate page. “Your gift makes a difference” isn’t a very persuasive story but … very few people go to a website they don’t know, go straight to donate and donate. There’s a user journey and this is one piece. Final evaluation. There are some ways we can revise and optimize this journey but IT WORKS. Before our inventory and audit this was not the case. Now, we have room to grow but no longer have obstacles literally blocking the donor path.
That’s all. Templates are available on my blog. Email me anytime. I’m on Twitter. Check out our Content Analysis Tool.
Misty Weaver Content Inventories and Audits: SMX Advanced 2013
Don’t block the paths!Do an inventory.Do an audit.Don’t forget themetaphorical earplugs.
Resources on the BlogTemplates - http://www.meaningandmeasure.com/smx-content/orhttp://bit.ly/11VgWoA@firstname.lastname@example.org
Roll the CreditsThanks JS Bracher for images,Reel Grrls, Robin Held, Betsey Brock, JonColman, Paula Land, Jeff Veen, the students ofInfo498c Winter 2013, University ofWashington’s iSchool, InfoCampers, KristinaHalvorson and Melissa Rach, Peter Morville,Jason Hobbs, Jason Doctor, Michael Angeles,Moles.And Paul Watts who gave his permission for his image to be used on March 31, 2007. 6 years before the picture wastaken. Sharp, that one.