A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was looking for user-centred design techniques to use on large heterogeneous information spaces. No, I haven’t any progress to report yet – I’m still reading and researching.
I go up and down on this. Sometimes I think that there’s nothing new to find – after all, we have known about top-down IA for years – identifying business strategies and user needs and designing for those. This should have a strong user-centred element and should be a no-brainer.
I spoke at a conference recently where lots of people mentioned that they used a user-centred approach in their IA projects. In itself, this is fabulous – people realising that users are important. However, on disucssion, I found that their user-centred approach involved my most favourite technique (*not*) – card sorting. Nothing apart from that – no task analysis, information needs analysis, understanding of context or culture. Just card sorting – shuffling around pieces of content without even analysing what the content is going to achieve.
That’s when I realised that there is something missing. I still don’t know what it is, but I’m sure that the popularity of card sorting is something to do with the simplicity and accessibility of the technique. This is what we need, but focused on users & tasks, not content.
Back to thinking…