DonnaM » Blog Archive » Information needs

Information needs

I had a really interesting conversation today.

I’m helping some people prepare content for the Intraweb. I suggested that they talk to their target users and find out what their information needs were. Some of the users were going to be in town together today, so I arranged to talk to them about their information needs.

These people are about to change jobs, so I mostly wanted to know what information they needed before they started their new jobs. I expected that they would tell me that they needed a detailed list of steps that they needed to do, the forms they needed to fill in, and some information about their new jobs.

I was surprised when the conversation took a turn. What they really wanted was to find people who had done these jobs before. They wanted to have a chat, and get the inside information about all of the little things that they may need to know. The steps, forms etc, they just took for granted – somehow or other this would happen, so they weren’t worried about it. But boy were they having trouble getting to the really useful stuff – the information hanging around in people’s heads.

How interesting…

2 Responses to “Information needs”

  1. andrew Says:

    It often seems to be the case that organizations have trouble institutionalizing that kind of information. I mean, how many of us really want to sit around documenting all the little things we learn that make our jobs easier? This is why beauracracies were invented.

    Were you able to come up with strategies to link these people with the ones who have the knowledge “in their heads”?

  2. Donna Maurer Says:

    I’m still thinking about it, but have some ideas… (none of which I can really share without getting into detail that I’m not allowed to tell!)