Blog 10

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

Research – Provides a contextual understanding that forms the foundation for development of an IA strategy. Begins with a review of background materials and meeting with the strategy team.

Strategy – This provides a high level framework for the IA, establishing a direction and scope to guide the project through implementation.

Design – Involves the creation of detailed blueprints, wireframes and metadata schema to be used by programmers, graphic designers, content authors and the production team.

Implementation – When the designs and strategies and finally put to the test. Involves organizing/tagging documents, testing, troubleshooting and developing documentation and training programs.

Administration – The continuous evaluation and improvement of the sites IA.

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

A gap analysis is the identification of the disconnects (gaps) between business goals, user needs and the practical limitations of the existing technology infrastructure.

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

When capturing a representational sample of a sites content you should aim for broad mix of file formats, document types, sources and subjects. It is also possible that the existing architecture can be used to your advantage when looking for representational samples.

4. Describe the differences between structural metadata, descriptive metadata, and administrative metadata.

Structural metadata describes the information hierarchy of an object such as titles and discrete sections of content. Descriptive metadata, as the name suggests, describes the object itself; topic, audience, format, etc. Administrative metadata describes how the object relates to business context; Who created it? Who owns it? When was it created? When should it be removed?

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

Competitive benchmarking involves using competitors’ standards as benchmarks for your own systems. Before-and-after benchmarking involves using your own systems previous standards as benchmarks for your goals.

6. What are the benefits of competitive benchmarking?

Competitive benchmarking gives you a better idea of how your system matches up to the competitors to ensure that you never fall too far behind. It challenges embedded assumptions and avoids doing the wrong thing for the wrong reason. It also bring new architecture features to the table that are being implemented by competitors.

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

Before-and-after benchmarking encourages transitions from broad generalizations to specific, actionable definitions. It also identifies and prioritizes information architecture in the existing site.

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

Clickstream analyses determine what path users take when navigating through the site and how long they spend on each page. This data, perhaps coupled with user feedback explaining their process, can provide very in-depth knowledge of how the average user acts when visiting the site and allows developers to base future developments off of that.

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

Search log analyses provide details as to what users are looking for and what words and terms they are using to try and find it.

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

You should try to determine the users’ current level of satisfaction with the site, discover what could improve the site for them and find out what they most commonly are searching for.

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