Project 3: Information Architechture

The goal of Information architect is to learn about the users’ major information needs and likely information-seeking behaviours. An understanding of what users actually want from your site will help determine and prioritise which architectural components to build.

INFORMATION NEEDS AND INFORMATION-SEEKING BEHAVIOURS

When a user comes to a web site to find something, they are essentially looking for ideas and concepts that inform and help them make decisions. The answer, if there is one, is an ambiguous moving target.

Searching, browsing, and asking are all methods for finding, and are the basic building blocks of information-seeking behaviour.

Contextual inquiry: a user research method with roots in ethnography, it allows you to observe how users interact with information in their “natural” settings and, in that context, ask them why they’re doing what they’re doing.

I employed this method of inquiry during the SUS user tests. 

1. Where am I? Title at top and local heading underneath

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 18.25.12.png

2. How do I get around this APP?
Profile page icons has all the internal functions and the individual Smartplan galleries below. Plus the SEARCH function for locating a Gallery that’s not being currently followed by the user, or in the case of a new user it is how they’ll discover one and they can then choose to follow it. 

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 18.25.29.png

The information architecture tells us where we are, it helps us move through the apps hierarchically contextually. It tells us where we can go for basic services, such as logging into our account.

Having the profile icon on all the different pages allow this

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 18.25.37.png

By supporting searching and browsing, the structure inherent in content enables the answers to users’ questions to “rise” to the surface.

This is bottom-up information architecture; content structure, sequencing, and tagging help you answer such questions as:

• Where am I?
• What’s here?
• Where can I go from here?

ORGANISATION STUCTURES

Organization structure plays an intangible yet very important role in the design of a system. The structure of information defines the primary ways in which users can navigate.

The foundation of almost all good information architectures is a well-designed hierarchy or taxonomy (a heirachical arrangement of categories within the UI).

We divide books into chapters into sections into paragraphs into sentences into words into letters. Hierarchy is ubiquitous in our lives and informs our understanding of the world. Because of this pervasiveness of hierarchy, users can easily and quickly understand web sites that use hierarchical organisation models.

They are able to develop a mental model of the site’s structure and their location within that structure. This provides context that helps users feel comfortable.

Primary navigation and the local navigation underneath.

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 18.25.44.png

SOCIAL CLASSIFICATION

User participatory systems have captured the attention and imagination of many in the web design community. They have demonstrated the potential to enlist users in content creation and classification, and they’ve sparked tremendous enthusiasm for tagging as a form of description and organization.

Free tagging, also known as collaborative categorisation, mob indexing, and ethnoclassification, is a simple yet powerful tool. Users tag objects with one or more keywords. The tags are public and serve as pivots for social navigation. Users can move fluidly between objects, authors, tags, and indexers. And when large numbers of people get involved, interesting opportunities arise to transform user behaviour and tagging patterns into new organisation and navigation systems.

Tagging in the Mini Scenario 

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 18.26.17.png

However, there’s no evidence to suggest that folksonomy (public tagging) outperforms traditional approaches to organisation and these arguments ignore the critical importance of context.

In many contexts, we will continue to structure and organise information on behalf of our users. In others, we will design environments and tools that enlist our users in folksonomic acts of co-creation. And on some projects, we’ll have the opportunity to bridge the gap, using both tags and taxonomies to connect users with the content they seek.

NAVIGATIONAL SYSTEMS

The design of navigation systems is concered with information architecture, interaction design, information design, visual design, and usability engineering, all of which might be classified under the umbrella of user experience design.

We have the global, local, and contextual navigation systems that are integrated within the pages themselves. These embedded navigation systems are typically wrapped around and infused within the content of the site.

TITLE OF PAGE and THE PROFILE ICON – marked in blue to signify its interactive

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 18.26.27.png

They provide both context and flexibility, helping users understand where they are and where they can go. Navigation systems should be designed with care to complement and reinforce the hierarchy by providing added context and flexibility.

Global Navigation: By definition, a global navigation system is intended to be present on every page throughout a site.

Example on a few pages

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 18.26.37.png

These site-wide navigation systems allow direct access to key areas and functions, no matter where the user travels in the site’s hierarchy. They have a huge impact on usability. Consequently, they should be subjected to intensive, iterative user-centered design and testing. Most global navigation bars provide a link to the home page, the case of the app it was to the Profile page.

Local Navigation: The global navigation system is complemented by one or more local navigation systems that enable users to explore the immediate area. Some actually integrate global and local navigation into a consistent, unified system.

Example of local NAV below the line

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 18.26.43.png

VISUALISING NAVIGATION

Textual labels are the easiest to create and most clearly indicate the contents of each option. Icons, on the other hand, are relatively difficult to create and are often ambiguous.

Icons can successfully be used to complement the textual labels. Since repeat users may become so familiar with the icons that they no longer need to read the textual labels, icons can be useful in facilitating rapid menu selection.

Example of icons and accompanying text

Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 17.49.26.png

USABILITY TEST FOR INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE

Source: http://uxmastery.com/testing-information-architecture/

Test draft IA – groupings and labelling.

Usability testing IA lets you know that the groups and labels are working well. Another reason for testing the IA is that navigation and content have to work with it, so it’s best to find any mistakes before you start working on these.

Learning Outcome

Finding out if my groups are sensible and the labels are easily understood. Using an audience-based classification scheme, so that people expect to see the information in this way and understand.

Methodology

Face-to-face tests asking participants how they would do a particular task by looking for particular information using the IA. This testing method is concerned with identifying hierarchy patterns.

Note: I’m not asking them to find the answers, as the content won’t be available yet, but asking them where they would look for the information. I’ll show them the IA step-by-step and ask them to indicate where they’d look.

Participants

5 participants who are people I envisage will be using your information.

Preparation

Draft IA cards with scenarios.

The scenarios here are a set of tasks that people will need to look for. They represent what people will do and look for during the test.

NOTE: They use the terminology people use and provide context to make the task believable. Avoid using the same terms used in the IA as it may become just a treasure hunt for the exact word in your scenario.

Using realistic scenarios also helps ensure people think about the task they need to do, rather than hunting for the exact words supplied to them.

Tools

Written top level categories on an index card. Number each category 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

For each top level category, the second level categories are writen down. This time using the number that represents the category above, followed by a number for the current level (e.g. 1.1, 1.2, 1.3).

Each scenario is writen on one card. These are labeled as A-Z in the corner of the card. The numbering and lettering system helps with record keeping and analysis.

Running the Test

First show the participant the scenario, then show them the top level card. Ask them to choose a group. For that group, show them the next level card, and so on until there is no further choices to go.

If they choose a group and feel as if they’ve made the wrong choice, go back one level and ask them to choose again. Ask why they chose the particular group and what they thought would be in it. Be very careful not to make them think they’ve made a ‘mistake’.

Recording Results

Write down the path for each scenario.

For example:

    A: 1, 1.2, 1.2.1 (no), 1.2, 1.2.6 (success)

    B: 7, 7.6, 7.6.5, etc.

Record results in a spreadsheet, putting scenarios across the top, and the IA down the sides. Go back through results and tally where people looked for each scenario.

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