A bluffer's guide to IA and content strategy


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This presentation was delivered to the Edinburgh Open Source Breakfast Meet Up group on 1 August 2014.

It's a quick run through what information architecture and content strategy are, drawing on quotes and resources from experts in the field.

My main point, however, is that user focus is what really matters. I show how the disciplines relate to other areas such as UX, usability and interaction design.

I also make the point that most customers (in this case, people wanting a website or app) don't care about such things. They care about revenue, cutting costs, satisfying customers and mitigating risk.

So I end with a couple of points I think are fundamental to get across to customers and suggest ways in which you can engage and collaborate.

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A bluffer's guide to IA and content strategy

  1. 1. A bluffer’s guide to: Information Architecture & Content Strategy Neil Allison (@usabilityed) User Experience Manager The University of Edinburgh
  2. 2. Overview • A quick intro • Some definitions • The bigger picture • What customers care about • Questions • A quick activity (if we have time)
  3. 3. • Communication and engagement has been a common thread throughout my career… <Insert something catchy and insightful here>
  4. 4. Definition of information architecture “The art and science of organizing and labeling websites, intranets, online communities and software to support usability.” www.iainstitute.org
  5. 5. Definitions of content strategy “Planning for the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content.” Kristina Halvorson Content Strategy for the Web author “Getting the right content to the right user at the right time.” Kevin P. Nichols SapientNitro
  6. 6. http://louisrosenfeld.com/home/bloug_archive/000024.html
  7. 7. Definition of usability “The effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction with which specified users achieve specified goals in particular environments.” - ISO 9241 definition of usability
  8. 8. A question of hats • Most people perform more than one role – All these roles employ the same techniques • Bottom line: Either you’re user centred or you’re not
  9. 9. http://blog.braintraffic.com/2010/01/behold-the-mighty-hive/
  10. 10. @Abby_the_IA http://slidesha.re/1rTbkOb
  11. 11. @Abby_the_IA http://slidesha.re/1rTbkOb
  12. 12. @Abby_the_IA http://slidesha.re/1rTbkOb
  13. 13. @Abby_the_IA http://slidesha.re/1rTbkOb
  14. 14. Your customers… • …they don’t care about IA. – Or UX or content strategy for that matter • They care about: – Increasing revenue – Reducing cost – Satisfying customers – Mitigating risk
  15. 15. But collaboration is essential • If you want to understand your customers – And their audiences • If you want to help ensure your work gets signed off & launched “quickly” • If you want your solution to be successfully managed after handover
  16. 16. A couple of things your customer needs to know 1.Process, not project 2.Everything is not equal
  17. 17. http://www.jjg.net/elements/pdf/elements.pdf
  18. 18. The Zipf Curve Lou Rosenfeld: http://bit.ly/1rTiDp3
  19. 19. Quick & easy research techniques • “Sketch” stuff – Get people to interact with it • 5 second tests – Article: http://bit.ly/1rTlQox – Free online tool: http://fivesecondtest.com/ • First click tests – Article: http://bit.ly/1rTlJt8 – Free online tools: www.optimalworkshop.com • Remote usability testing – New free ‘Peek’ service: www.usertesting.com
  20. 20. Some good books IA, content strategy & search • A practical guide to IA – Donna Spencer • Elements of Content Strategy – Erin Kissane • Content Strategy for Mobile – Karen McGrane • Search analytics for your website - Lou Rosenfeld Usability & UX • Don’t make me think – Steve Krug • Rocket surgery made easy – Steve Krug • Prototyping - Todd Zaki Warfel • The User is Always Right – Steve Mulder Communication & engagement • Communicating design – Dan Brown • Gamestorming – Gray, Brown & Macanufo
  21. 21. Thank you Questions? Neil Allison (@usabilityed) User Experience Manager The University of Edinburgh