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This session is meant to be about Intranets, but I’m going to change it because I see very little difference between external and internal facing sites when planning the UX and IA So I’m calling this Web-based solutions Basically I’m going to walk through the steps I use for UX and IA planning and talk about things I’ve seen done well and not so well.
It’s really important that we view things from the human perspective when ever we are working with technology. Think of yourself as a User Experience Advisor - Your job is to make the experience with your web-based solution the best possible. Why does it matter how you approach IA? You can have all the best information, but if people can’t find it then what use is it really? Nearly every organisation has an information problem and it’s growing. The information problem is that we have to much of it and don’t know what to do with it. I intend to show you how to gather and organise the right information into a way that people will find easy to use. -- Taken from Leah Buley’s presentation at IA Summit 2008 - Awesome work. I totally took her idea for presentations cause I loved it so much. It’s just how I do my daily work -- My own journey into UX and IA Straightline website experience I was in a band for a while that had a website I built. We had a page where you could answer a simple question and win one of our CDs. It was easy to find and heaps of people got it right, then I moved it to make it harder to find because I was giving away to many pages. That worked well. Basic principle of UX and IA - make it hard to find, and sure enough people wont find it. We also had a PDF form you could download to order one of our CDs. We were selling lots so knew there was demand for them. But we never got a single order from the website. Basically because the user had to do so many things that it just didn’t work for them. It wasn’t that they couldn’t do it, it was just to much of a pain in the butt. It’s all about the UX Quit Group Intranet Better than it was, but when even the architech can’t find stuff, you know there is a problem
What we are going to cover is how to plan an excellent UX and IA. The steps to get there are: Define the sites goals User experience and expectation Site content Site structure Visual design All taken from webmonkey.com - great article on there about planning an IA and this is the basis for my thoughts
The biggest problem I see with web-based solutions is their lack of clarity for existing. So define your sites goals Why are you even bothering with a web-based solution? How did you get to this point of thinking about an Intranet? Lets take a step back and ask two very important questions What is the business need you are trying to meet? What are ALL the possible solutions to this need? I’m a big fan of brainstorms; I use them for everything. I’m going to use them a lot here
Brainstorm of possible Business needs that aren’t being meet at the moment. Let me be really clear here - This is a STRATEGIC Intranet summit. So I’m saying this step should never be skipped if you really want a STRATEGIC web-based solution. Being strategic implies a goal and a plan to get there. We can’t build a plan without knowing what we are trying to achieve. I ALWAYS figure out what the need is I’m trying to meet on EVERY development or redevelpment, or else I have no idea if I achievd it. You might already have a key need you are trying to meet so you could possibly move on to the next step, but you might just pick up a couple of other needs at the same time so I say do it anyway.
Brainstorm of how could we solve the identified business needs of: sharing organisationl knowledge Resource management - booking rooms, laptops etc There are a lot of crazy and different ways to solve these needs. Now the point of this exercise is that you may find an Intranet is not the right solution! There might be a better way to reach the people with the information you have. But after all I am here to talk to about UX and IA in relation to web-based solutions, so lets do that…
Questions to ask when thinking about and trying to define your sites goals What is the mission or purpose of the organisation? Chances are you already know this, but can’t hurt to refresh Quit Group is about helping people quit HSC is about raising awareness You might be about sales What are the short- and long-term goals of the site? Short - less double booking of resources Long - a pool of collective knowedge to darw on Who are the intended audiences? we will cover this more in a moment Why will people come to your site? It not good enough to say “Because it’s their home page” I’ll show you how I got around that when I built the Intranet!
The number one rule here is - You are wrong! You are wrong especially if you ever here yourself say “I think people will want to…”. If you ever say this you MUST STOP! This exercise isn’t about you. Please go and ask the real users of the site. Too many people do this alone or as one business unit. We need to engage with others to find out what they need or value - What does the Call Centre need? - What does the Marketing unit need? - What does HR team need? Three things we will look at right now are: Audience definition - Who will use it - what skills do they have 2) Scenarios - how will they use it? - mornings only, or once per week? 3) Competitive analysis - What are people expecting? - How do they do it else where on other sites? - Is there a better way to do it out there? - Can you make a mash-up out of it?
Audience analysis This is not about Age, Gender, or Ethnicity. Those things don’t stop people using the Internet. Go read the stats NZ site and find out about Internet usage. What you really want to know is: Are they good with computers? Are they out in the bush most of the time? Are they sharing a computer? Do they have internet on their phones? Wellington City Council Bus drivers Support staff Rubbish collectors Pool lifeguards Councellars Marketing people HR teams
Tabbed browsing Let me just throw this in as something to think about with how your users behave - how I tab browse, but not everyone will do the same. On any given day I always have multiple tabs open. Today I seem to have 13. When I’m looking at a website, there is often many pages I want to look at, so I open each one in a new tab and read them when I’m ready. Maybe this is just me…
Personalised home pages/ Intranets Currently I use Netvibes as my homepage for all areas of my life. This is my work home page and it’s got everything I need for work. Links To-do-list RSS feeds Dilbert Web notes of things I want to remember like Questions to ask people Sites to check out one day Sites that are inspiring me at the moment
Custom home pages at the Quit Group insteed of the Intranet I built! When I worked at the Quit Group I built a wonderful Intranet that had everything you could want. I followed all the rules of site menu structures and used wonderful standards complient code, but failed to really think about what the users needed day-to-day. As a result I didn’t use the Intranet much. I built my own homepage and put my daily links on it - how slack is that!
This is the Intranet I built that I didn’t use much. I used the people-page to find contact numbers
So this leads straight into scenarios. It’s valuble to know how, when, and why people will use your Intranet as this will help you figure out groupings of content and the importance each should have. For example, the people-page I mentioned a moment ago is just one page alongside all the others, but if it’s the most trafficed page then maybe its need some specail attention huh? Give me a few examples of how and when people would use your site. What does it look like at: the start of the day Middle of the day When in a rush When you’re bored End of the day Rushing to a meeting Trying to find something
Doing a competitive analysis of an Intranet is a bit hard but the key question I would ask is this: where can they do this function else where, faster, better, easier? Can they find meeting minutes faster in your shared drive than on the intranet? Really? Then you better look at that. Or are the minutes simply not online because it’s to hard to put them up….hmmm What are the things people expect to be able to do on an Intranet? Contribute - do you trust your people? Interact with other business units Discussions Find relevant info, and links