IA Summit: A Design Framework for Findability

by March 24, 2007

Are Halland walked through a way to design & present information for findability, search engine optimization, and moving from user research to concept development during his Core+Paths: A Design Framework for Findability talk at IA Summit 2007

  • The Seven Deadly Sins of Information Architecture:
    • Abstraction: we see Web sites as abstract information spaces that should be navigated not as discrete pieces of information.
    • Introvercy: we think of navigation in the context of a single site but people arrive there from search engines, emails, other sites, etc.
    • Isolation: we create good navigation within a Web site instead of thinking of the total information space of the Web.
    • Information Overload: we are adding to problem instead of solving it as a profession. (Micorsoft has 800k never retrieved files on their server)
    • Navigation overload: we are adding complexity to user interfaces through excessive navigation
    • Futility: we are turning our backs on great opportunities. Need relevant calls to action (business value & social value).
    • Logophobia: we have a fear of words. Using Greek text instead of actual content.
  • Aboutness: in a world of information haystacks, how do we create bigger needles?
  • The Core is the most optimal unit of consumption (content or action people care about). The place where user & business goals meet.
  • For municipality, core is services (i.e. kindergarden): what is the service, how to apply.
  • Start with core: what is core functionality of site. Prioritize & design the core first.
  • Design inward paths to the core. (SEO, RSS, menus, newsletters)
  • How to find this core? Front page, internal search, Google/SEO, Incoming links, Newsletters, Brochures, RSS feeds
  • Offer relevant outward paths from the core.
  • Outgoing links: online application, offline application, contacts, print, forward to friend, map, etc.
  • Incoming: trigger words
  • Outgoing: calls to action
  • The core can be distributed: success of Youtube is in video sharing
  • Core variations: core page, core flow, multiple cores (can existing within a Web site), distributed core, core templates (to accommodate content)
  • This design framework is a simple adaptive tool, supports intuitive navigation/models, can jump start concept phase, zoom in on concept without locking in, can reset designs partially, client communication, tool for fighting front page focus (most debated but least important page on a site)