Blog 10 – IA / CMS

1. Describe the five stages of integrating information architecture into the web development process.

  • Research
    • The research phase begins with:
    • A review of existing background materials
    • Meetings with the strategy team aimed at gaining a high-level understanding of: The business context, The existing information architecture, The content, The intended audiences
    • Explores the information ecology
  • Strategy
    • The research provides a contextual understanding for the foundation of the information architecture strategy
      • Top-Down – the strategy defines the highest two or three levels of the site’s organisation and navigation structures
      • Bottom-Up – Suggests candidate document types and rough metadata schema •
    • Provides a high-level framework for the information architecture, establishing direction and scope
  • Design
    • Design shapes a high-level strategy into an information architecture creating detailed blueprints, wireframes, and metadata schema
    • The outputs from design are given to the graphic designers, programmers, content authors, and production team
    • Design is where information architects do the most work
    • Poor design execution can ruin the best strategy
  • Implementation
    • Implementation is where your designs are put to the test and the site is built, tested, and launched
    • For the information architect, this phase involves: Organising and tagging documents ,Testing and troubleshooting, Developing documentation and training programs to ensure that the information architecture can be maintained effectively over time
  • Administration
    • Administration is the continuous evaluation and improvement of the site’s information architecture
    • Administration involves the daily duties of: Tagging new documents and weeding out old ones , Monitoring site usage and user feedback, Identifying opportunities to improve the site through major or minor redesigns

Reference : Lecture Notes

2. In terms of assessing technology, what is a gap analysis?

  • A gap analysis is a method of assessing the differences in performance between a business’ information systems or software applications to determine whether business requirements are being met and, if not, what steps should be taken to ensure they are met successfully

Reference : Lecture Notes

3. When gathering content for content analysis, describe an approach that would capture representational sample of a site’s content.

-Use a “Noah’s Ark” approach to capture a couple of each type:

• Format – Aim for a broad mix of formats (text, software, video/audio, email, …)

• Document type – Capture a diverse set of document types (marketing brochures, press releases, annual reports, forms, presentations, online calculators, spread sheets, …)

• Source – Reflect the diverse sources of content (obtains samples from all departments)

• Subject – Use a publicly available classification scheme or thesaurus

• Existing architecture – Use the existing structure of the site to gather content

Reference : Lecture Notes
4. Describe the differences between structural metadata, descriptive metadata, and administrative metadata.

  • Structural metadata – Describe the information hierarchy of this object
  • Descriptive metadata – Think of the different way to describe the object
  • Administrative metadata – Describe how the object relates to business context

Reference : Lecture Notes

5. What are competitive and before-and-after benchmarking?

Competitive benchmarking: The process of constantly comparing the practive and performance with that of it’s most successful competitors. This can be dangerous because we are not sure all the time whether all the features are good enough or not.

Before and after benchmarking: Benchmarking is applied to a single site over time to measure improvements based on the product goals and success criteria.

Reference: Section 10.4. Content

6. What are the benefits of competitive benchmarking?

  • Generates a laundry list of information architecture features, bringing lots of new ideas to table
  • Encourages transition from broad generalizations (e.g., “Amazon is a good model”) to specific, actionable definitions (“Amazon’s personalization feature works well for frequent visitors”)
  • Challenges embedded assumptions (e.g., “We should be like Fidelity”) and avoids copying the wrong features for the wrong reasons
  • Establishes current position with respect to competitors and creates a point of reference against which to measure speed of improvementReference: Section 10.4. Content

7. What are the benefits of before-and-after benchmarking?

Advantages of before-and-after benchmarking:

  • Identifies and prioritizes information architecture features in the existing site
  • Encourages transition from broad generalizations (e.g., “Our site’s navigation stinks”) to specific, actionable definitions
  • Creates a point of reference against which you can measure improvementsReference: Section 10.4. Content

8. What is clickstream analysis, and why is it important?

clickstream analysis is the process of collecting, analyzing, and reporting aggregate data about which pages visitors visit in what order – which are the result of the succession of mouse clicks each visitor makes

Why is it important?

Traffic analysis tracks how many pages are served to the user, how long it takes pages to load, how often the user hits the browser’s back or stop button, and how much data is transmitted before a user moves on. E-commerce-based analysis uses clickstream data to determine the effectiveness of the site as a channel-to-market by quantifying the user’s behavior while on the Web site. It is used to keep track of what pages the user lingers on, what the user puts in or takes out of their shopping cart, and what items the user purchases.

Reference: What is clickstream analysis?
9. What sort of information can you learn about users from search log analysis?

  • Track and analyse the queries entered into the search engine
  • Can identify what users are looking for, and the words and phrases they are using
  • Ideal when creating a controlled vocabulary
  • Also useful for prioritising terms for a “Best Bets” strategy

Reference : Lecture Notes

10. What should be the goals for surveying users from an information architecture perspective?

The goals for surveying users is to get information from many users. The information from users could be what they think about contents and tasks and which contents and tasks are valuable and which contents and tasks are not so valuable for them. With gathered information, improvement and higher level of satisfaction can be made.
11. Optional* What is contextual inquiry, and how can it be beneficial to gathering data
about users?
12. Optional* How can focus groups be used to gather information about a site’s information
architecture? What are the pros and cons of using focus groups?
13. Optional* What are the differences between an open-ended and a closed card sort?
14. Optional* Describe the basic process involved with usability engineering. What are
some of the types of tasks you could set?
15. Optional* What is TACT? How is it used to develop an information architecture
16. Optional* What is meant by “metaphor exploration” when developing an information
architecture strategy? Describe the differences between organisational metaphors,
functional metaphors, and visual metaphors.
17. Optional* What are the core sections of a strategy report?
18. Optional* What are blueprints and wireframe diagrams used for?
19. Optional* What is the purpose of the content management section of the strategy report?
20. Optional* Why is it important to follow up a project plan with a series of presentations?
21. Optional* Construct blueprint diagrams illustrating the structure by which a user will
interact with your web site’s components. (Refer to Morville Chapter 12 for how to create

The blueprints must:

i. Include arrows to indicate flow between various sections/pages of the web

ii. Contain textual descriptions within the diagram to further explain sections/pages of the web site;

iii. Contain a legend to describe the notation used in your blueprints;

iv. Provide additional modularised blueprints that go into further detail for complex sections of your web site;

v. Provide accompanying textual descriptions of the diagrams showing how the user will interact with your web site;

vi. Describe what forms of navigation are being used (e.g., contextual, index terms, site maps, bread crumbs, etc.);

vii. Describe what search strategies are being employed;

and viii. Describe the site’s organisation and what type of browsing the web site supports (e.g., hierarchical, polyhierarchical, etc.).

22. Optional* Create a series of medium fidelity wireframes for the main pages of the web site. (Refer to Morville Chapter 12 for how to create wireframes.)

The wireframes should include:

a) At least three clearly labelled pages depicting the web site’s home page, a content page, and a navigation (or search) page;

b) Labelled placeholders for images; and

c) Highlight and explain the navigation systems.

23. Optional* Design a metadata matrix that presents the vocabulary terms and relationships. You need only present accepted and variant terms in an accompanying controlled vocabulary database (there is no need to develop extensive synonym rings or explode the vocabulary to include broader and narrower terms). The course web site provides examples and exemplars from previous students for how to develop a metadata matrix.

Your answer must provide:

a) A metadata matrix showing all labels, content headings, and major search terms;

b) A vocabulary database listing the accepted and variant terms; and

c) A description of how you created your controlled vocabulary (i.e., the sources for discovering and organising the terms). Justify your design choices with references to authoritative sources (minimum 500 words).

24. Undertake the following tasks for your Drupal web site assignment:

a. Add content to your Drupal web site using pages and articles (be sure to use alternate text for your images); and

b. Implement menus.

25. Undertake the following tasks for your Drupal web site assignment:

a. Explore different themes and modules to expand your web site’s functionality and visual appeal;

and b. Create a Facebook page or Twitter account to promote you web site. Place a link to your promotional page on your blog. Have other students/users test your Drupal web site to ensure everything works properly


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