DonnaM » Blog Archive » Best IA article in a long time – “Goal Based Information Retrieval Experiences”

Best IA article in a long time – “Goal Based Information Retrieval Experiences”

This is the best information architecture/information retrieval article I have read in ages, from Joe Lamantia. It nearly flew under my radar so I want it not to fly under yours (i.e. it was long so I dropped it in my delicious toread pile, which I almost never read):

Goal Based Information Retrieval Experiences

This is a very thoughtful examination of the things that people are really trying to do when they are looking for information. We often treat ‘findability’ as the end goal without thinking of how it really fits in. Joe has a neat set of goals that we can keep in mind as well some very interesting modes of information retrieval. His modes are very different to mine, and an interesting way of looking at information tasks.

2 Responses to “Best IA article in a long time – “Goal Based Information Retrieval Experiences””

  1. Joe Lamantia Says:

    Hi Donna – Thanks for the good word :) It was your Boxes and Arrows article that got me thinking about the idea of modes that are common across different information environments in the first place.

    It seems like an idea that’s been ready for some good discussion, but that we haven’t taken on yet in the IA community. I’m sure someone is doing much better work somewhere right now, that we may not know about? Likely in the more academic disciplines.

    IAs in most cases focus tightly on meeting the needs of small populations (relative to the whole online population) and distinct groups of users within a single environment. This is a one-at-a-time serial environment design approach that works for us as consultants, or staffers for a single company. The result is each information retrieval solution is different or custom to meet the needs of a single situation. This is logical, because that’s how way we get paid as a profession…

    But it doesn’t help much with establishing stable ground and expectations for users who encounter many different environments in the course of daily life on the Internet.

    As a model, we might take some cues from other designed experiences – like retail environments – on better understanding the patterns of goals underlying user behaviors. A focus on root goals might help us work to create common patterns of experiences that make it easier for users to accomplish those goals, instead of learning new behaviors for each different environment…

    Where else does the idea of modes show up that you know of?

  2. Dale Says:

    Very useful