Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Information Architecture : Understanding People

What do people need?

  • What's the one piece of information you couldn't live without?
  • What would cause you a lot of trouble if we took it away?
Understanding people's needs helps you:
  • Access existing information to make sure it meets key needs
  • Identify information gaps
  • Make key information easy to find
  • Prioritize content activities - release or rewrite the most important pages before the least important

What do people do with information?

  • Grab a fact?
  • Deep dive and learn everything about a topic?
  • Send it to some one?
  • Save it for later?
  • Print it?
  • Copy part of it into a report?
People may read your information before taking another step in a process. You need to know their next step to help them take it easily. There may be more than one next step.

Where do they use it?

Will they be in an office with a large monitor, good lighting and plenty of time to read? Will they be using a mobile device with a small screen in bright light? This can change the amount and type of information to provide. You could provide the same content in different ways for people to use in different locations.

What do they already know about the topic?

Find out how much they know and create ways to get them up to speed quickly. If they know a lot, give them what they need without basic information getting in their way.

How they think about the information, their current opinion of feeling about it can be important. For example, they may be more interested in getting a refund than paying a bill and will be willing to spend more time learning how to do it.

What do they already know about the technology?

For instance, they may not know how to scroll to read more content and may need training.

How do they describe things?

User research is helpful to learn about the terminology people use and the way they think about concepts.

This is used to group information, naming of navigation items and phrasing ideas in content.


A Practical Guide to Information Architecture by Donna Spencer

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