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Archive for November, 2002

Bottoms Up

Thursday, November 21st, 2002

Here’s a good article by Peter Morville about lots of core IA issues:

A good read…

Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture

Tuesday, November 12th, 2002

If you’ve been hanging around in the same IA places as I do, you’ll already know this, but otherwise…

On November 4, the Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture was launched. From the press release:
“AIfIA is a non-profit volunteer organization that serves as a resource for organizations and individuals seeking to learn more about information architecture and its benefits, and assists information architects who wish to promote the field.”

More info at

Users – who needs them

Wednesday, November 6th, 2002

I’m often asked to do expert usability evaluations for products/websites (both work and privately) etc.

My methodology is to write up some realistic scenarios of use, and work through them, checking for likely usability issues as I go. So, before I even look at the application, I always ask “What are people going to be doing with this application/website”

Almost every time I ask this question, the answer that comes back is the business requirements. So, I ask again “no, what do the users need out of this application”

I am yet to hear someone tell me that they have done any work in finding out what users need. When I start talking to users about what they might want out of a particular application, this is the first time that anyone has thought of the people on the other end. And given that I’m usually evaluating just before product release, there’s not really much chance of getting changes made if the product doesn’t meet their needs.

So, my mission on earth at the moment is to get more products built the right way around – with user needs at the front of the process.

Project progress

Tuesday, November 5th, 2002

A few people have asked me how my Intranet redesign project is going (I have written a number of entries about it).

I haven’t written much lately as things are going well, but with no amazing insights. I have created a site map and done some usability testing on it (I do want to write about this process, but it would be a longish article, not a blog entry). I have been having fun with wireframes this week (using Visio) – creating page layouts and seeing how various groups of content work within them.

So, not much excitement, but some good solid progress.

And the content inventory that I wrote about endlessly has proven to be one of the most valuable resourcesI have. Although it took ages, it is very worthwhile.