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World IA Day, London: IA at GOV.UK

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How did the team at GOV.UK tackle the IA for a site where the users are ‘everyone’ and needs range from the personal to the professional? Where content is uneven, unpredictable and being constantly added to by hundreds of organisations? Where content is crucial because users have nowhere else to go? Is it possible to create a simple and flexible underlying architecture that is user-focused and can meet a variety of demands alongside a process that is sustainable and can scale?

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World IA Day, London: IA at GOV.UK

  1. 1. Gaynor Burns and Vicky Buser Information Architects at GOV.UK Government Digital Service @gaynorburns @vickybuser
  2. 2. Information architecture and GOV.UK
  3. 3. “Information architecture (IA) is a design discipline that is focused on making information findable and understandable” GDSPeter Morville, Louis Rosenfeld & Jorge Arango
  4. 4. … based on user needs GDS
  5. 5. GDS “The user should not have to navigate the departmental structure of Government before finding the service or content they need” GDSDirectgov 2010 and beyond: Revolution not evolution
  6. 6. GDS
  7. 7. GDS
  8. 8. The challenge
  9. 9. GDS
  10. 10. 190,000+ content items Published by 300+ organisations GDS
  11. 11. GDS
  12. 12. GDS
  13. 13. Content of different levels of complexity, granularity, tone, target audience GDS
  14. 14. Different taxonomies have evolved They’re not complete Not all content is tagged to them GDS
  15. 15. GDS
  16. 16. Existing tagging is complicated GDS
  17. 17. Who are our users? 10m visitors per week All of us - either directly or indirectly will have needs of government GDS
  18. 18. GDSwww.flickr.com/photos/nomadyc/200334975
  19. 19. GDSwww.gov.uk/guidance/keeping-a-pet-pig-or-micropig
  20. 20. GDSwww.flickr.com/photos/woolgenie/16093952683/
  21. 21. GDSwww.gov.uk/government/collections/early-years-childcare-registering-with-ofsted
  22. 22. GDShttps://www.flickr.com/photos/conred/24752276586
  23. 23. GDSwww.gov.uk/guidance/zika-virus
  24. 24. GDS We can’t just focus on the most popular needs
  25. 25. GDS Some users have nowhere else to go
  26. 26. Journeys start from the content What else is there? Where can I go from here? Is this everything? GDS
  27. 27. Our approach
  28. 28. GDS
  29. 29. GDS
  30. 30. Do the hard work to make it simple GDSwww.gov.uk/design-principles
  31. 31. GDS
  32. 32. “I didn’t know what to google as I didn’t know what was available” GDShttps://insidegovuk.blog.gov.uk
  33. 33. Only 6% users use site search* *That’s still 5m searches a month though! GDS
  34. 34. GDS
  35. 35. Principle 1 = one taxonomy GDS
  36. 36. Start with needs* *user needs not government needs GDSwww.gov.uk/design-principles
  37. 37. GDS
  38. 38. Principle 2 = simple tagging interface GDS
  39. 39. GDS
  40. 40. Principle 3 = simple display rules GDS
  41. 41. Consistent design patterns for browse at every level GDS
  42. 42. GDS
  43. 43. And consistent page-level orientation GDS
  44. 44. GDS
  45. 45. Solution = taxonomy + tagging + display GDS
  46. 46. Simple enough to scale Flexible enough to adapt GDS
  47. 47. Be consistent, not uniform GDS
  48. 48. We’re learning about our approach by starting to trial it with something small Our first theme is Education GDS
  49. 49. Iterate Then iterate again GDS
  50. 50. Tips
  51. 51. Importance of content strategy GDS
  52. 52. GDS
  53. 53. Automation and tools can really help… GDS
  54. 54. Automation and tools can really help… ...but you still need people to do the thinking GDS
  55. 55. Analytics are hugely helpful… GDS
  56. 56. Analytics are hugely helpful… ...as long as you know the question you’re asking AND have time to analyse the data GDS
  57. 57. GDS
  58. 58. Communicate and collaborate GDS
  59. 59. Working in an organisation that values user research is vital GDS
  60. 60. Where are we now?
  61. 61. GDSGDS We’re still working through education
  62. 62. That’s about 4% of the total content GDS
  63. 63. GDS
  64. 64. We still have lots of open questions about governance GDS
  65. 65. “The need for logical user-centric structures and taxonomies has never gone away” GDShttps://fiveminuteswithergonjon.wordpress.com
  66. 66. GDS “The user should not have to navigate the departmental structure of Government before finding the service or content they need” GDSDirectgov 2010 and beyond: Revolution not evolution
  67. 67. Thanks! Gaynor Burns and Vicky Buser @gaynorburns @vickybuser

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