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Information Architecture
Designing the User Experience
Information that’s hard to find will remain information that’s hardly found.

Peter Morville, USID'07, Barcelona

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Peter Morville
Background • Library and Information Science • Information Architecture Pioneer • Co-Author, IA for the World Wide Web (1998, 2002, 2006) Current Roles • President, Semantic Studios • Co-Founder, Information Architecture Institute • Author, Ambient Findability (2005)
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Seminar Overview
• • • • • • Definitions & Value Information Architecture Systems Enterprise Information Architecture Methodology & Deliverables Advanced Search & Navigation Web 2.0 IA 3.0

Examples, Discussion, Breaks
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in•for•ma•tion ar•chi•tec•ture n. • • The structural design of shared information environments. The combination of organization, labeling, search, and navigation systems in web sites and intranets. The art and science of shaping information products and experiences to support usability and findability. An emerging discipline and community of practice focused on bringing principles of design and architecture to the digital landscape.
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goals, strategy, brand, process, technology, resources, politics, culture…

objects, types, metadata, structure, relationships, source, volume, growth

audiences, user needs, use cases, mental models, vocabulary, behavior
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Invisible Information Architecture

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Content Management
A system of processes and tools for collecting, managing, and publishing content to whatever medium you need.

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Knowledge Management
An integrated approach to the creation, capture, organization, access, and use of an enterprise’s information assets.

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“While information structure is often associated with usability, the comments here show how information structure has implications for credibility. Sites that were easy to navigate were seen as being more credible.”

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.

Design Look 46.1% Information Design/Structure 28.5% Information Focus 25.1% Company Motive 15.5% Information Usefulness 14.8% Information Accuracy 14.3% Name Recognition & Reputation 14.1% Advertising 13.8% Information Bias 11.6% Writing Tone 9.0% Identity of Site Operator 8.8% Site Functionality 8.6% Customer Service 6.4% Past Experience with Site 4.6% Information Clarity 3.7% Performance on Test by User 3.6% Readability 3.6% Affiliations 3.4%

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Why is IA Important?
Cost of finding (time, frustration) Cost of not finding (bad decisions, alternate channels) Cost of construction (staff, technology, planning, bugs) Cost of maintenance (content management, redesigns) Cost of training (employees, turnover) Value of brand
(identity, reputation, trust)

Value of education (related products, projects, people)

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Why is IA Difficult?
Language is Ambiguous Organization is Subjective Research is Limited Complex Goals Multiple Stakeholders Multidisciplinary Teams
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Analyst Statistics
Poorly architected retailing sites are underselling by as much as 50%. Forrester 80% of visitors will abandon a site if search functionality is poor. Jupiter Media Metrix Companies save $30 every time a user answers a support question online. IDC 80% of business is conducted on unstructured information…which doubles every 3 months. Gartner
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Search Statistics (Google)
Increased e-commerce revenues by boosting browsingto-buying conversion rates Increased conversions of online researchers to offline buyers, driving offline sales by connecting users to products and information quickly and easily Reduced customer service costs by connecting users to support information Increased order size and frequency of purchases Increased ability to find products previously not found through navigation alone Increased cross-sell and up-sell opportunities
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Jakob Statistics
“The average mid-sized company could gain $5 million per year in employee productivity by improving its intranet.” “In one example, a state agency could get an ROI of 22,000% by fixing a basic usability problem.”

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The High Cost of Not Finding
“The Fortune 1000 stands to waste at least $2.5 billion per year due to an inability to locate and retrieve information.” “While the costs of not finding information are enormous, they are hidden within the enterprise, and…are rarely perceived as having an impact on the bottom line.”
The High Cost of Not Finding Information, IDC White Paper
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Time Spent Searching
Employees spend 35% of productive time searching for information online.
Working Council for Chief Information Officers Basic Principles of Information Architecture

Managers spend 17% of their time (6 weeks a year) searching for information.
Information Ecology Thomas Davenport and Lawrence Prusak
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Marcia Bates: Berrypicking, Evolving Search (1989)
http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/bates/berrypicking.html
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Major IA Systems
Organization – Labeling – Navigation – Search

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Organization Structures
Hierarchy: taxonomies, top levels, mental model Database: structured content and relationships Hypertext: cross-references, contextual

hierarchy hypertext

database

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Organization Schemes
Exact
Everything has a place. Easy to create and maintain. Great for known-item searches. e.g., white pages, geography, chronology

Ambiguous
Fuzzy and full of overlap. Hard to create and maintain. Great for subject searches, associative learning. e.g., yellow pages, topic, audience

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“Categorization is not a matter to be taken lightly. There is nothing more basic than categorization to our thought, perception, action, and speech.”
George Lakoff Professor, Cognitive Linguistics UC Berkeley

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Prototype Theory Prototype-based categories defined by fuzzy cognitive models; not objective rules. Family Resemblances Members may be related without all members sharing any common property. Centrality Some members are better examples than others. Membership Gradience Some categories have degrees of membership and no clear boundaries. 30

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Robin

Core

Ostrich

Peripheral

Bat

External

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Basic Level Primacy
A psychologically basic (folk-generic) level in the hierarchy. A basic category is the largest class of which we can form a fairly concrete image, like chair or ball. These are the first classifications that children make. Optimal for learning, recognition, memory, knowledge organization.
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Kingdom Animalia Phylum Chordata Subphylum Vertebrata Class Mammalia Order Cetacea Suborder Odontoceti Family Delphinidae Genus Tursiops Species Truncatus

Animal

Vertebrate Mammal Grey Dolphin Whales, Dolphins Toothed Whales Dolphins, Killer Whales
Basic Level

Black Dolphin Bottlenose Porpoise Cowfish Bottle-Nosed Dolphin Atlantic Bottlenose Pacific Bottlenose
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Bottlenose Dolphin

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Labeling
Types Purposes Sources

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Labeling Guidelines
ANSI/NISO Standard Guidelines for the Construction, Format, and Management of Monolingual Thesauri http://www.niso.org/standards/

3.0

“Literary warrant (occurrence of terms in documents) is the guiding principle for selection of the preferred (term).”

5.2.2 “Preferred terms should be selected to serve the needs of the majority of users.”
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Where’s Diabetes?

Where’s Graves’ Disease?

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Navigation
Support task flow Provide context and flexibility Avoid drowning content

Global Navigation
Local Navigation
Content Lives Here, W ith Contextual Navigation Inline Or Separate.

W here Am I?
W hat's Nearby?

W hat's Related To W hat's Here?

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Local

Contextual

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Global

Breadcrumb Contextual

Local

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Home Camp/Hike Water Treatment Water Purifiers

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Navigation Stress Test
What is this page about? What site is this? What are the major sections of this site? What major section is this page in? What is "up" 1 level from here? How do I get to the home page of this site? How do I get to the top of this section of the site? What does each group of links represent? How might you get to this page from the site home page? http://keith.instone.org/navstress/

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Supplemental Navigation
Sitemaps
Table of contents Top few levels of hierarchy Scope / organization Exploratory browsing

Indexes
A-Z index (back-of-book) Finely grained Relatively non-hierarchical Known-item finding
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The Right Number by Scott McCloud

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Search
“…studies show that search is still the primary usability problem in web site design.” Common Usability Problems 1. Poorly organized search results 2. Poor information architecture
Source: Flexible Search and Navigation using Faceted Metadata (UC Berkeley SIMS)
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“Most of the complaints we get are due to the way users search; they use the wrong keywords.”
Manufacturing Manager in Must Search Stink? by Forrester Research

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Site Search
Using an on-site search engine actually reduced the chances of success, and the difference was significant. (Spool, 1997) Our usability studies show that more than half of all users are search-dominant. (Nielsen, 1997) Studies show that search is still the primary usability problem in web site design. (Hearst, 2002)

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Search is a System

http://semanticstudios.com/publications/semantics/search.html
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Enterprise
1. 2. 3.

Portal + Taxonomy Metadata + Search Shared Tools

Silos 1

Owners Content Publishing

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3

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http://www.louisrosenfeld.com/home/bloug_archive/images/EIAroadmap2.pdf http://www.slideshare.net/lrosenfeld See Also: Polar Bear 3rd Edition (EIA Chapter, MSWeb Chapter)
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Methodology & Deliverables

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Phases Research Strategy Design Implementation
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goals, strategy, brand, process, technology, resources, politics, culture…

objects, types, metadata, structure, relationships, source, volume, growth

audiences, user needs, use cases, mental models, vocabulary, behavior
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Photo: Berkeley Path Gallery by Kevin Fox Ideas: Metadata for the Masses by Peter Merholz

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IA Design Inputs
Stated Goals and Scope (RFP, Functional Specifications) Known Constraints (Schedule, Budget, Technology) Project-Specific Research (Users, Content, Context) Competitive Analysis (Legalized Cheating) What We Know (Education, Expertise, Experience) Guidelines (Three Click Rule, Users Don’t Scroll) Research (HCI, LIS, IR, Academic, Corporate) Project-Specific Testing (Usability)

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IA Project Methodology
Strategy Process Design Implement

√ √ √
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Deliverables Consulting

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Research & Strategy
IA Tools and Methods Context Content Users
strategy meetings heuristic evaluation usage data analysis stakeholder interviews content audit usability testing technology assessment content analysis card sorting

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Work Products & Deliverables
Deliverables Embedded Navigation Organization & Labeling Supplemental Navigation Guidelines
blueprints metadata schema site map design and authoring wireframes controlled vocabularies site index content management taxonomies thesauri search specs software development
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Blueprints

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Courtesy of Q LTD | www.qltd.com

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Courtesy of Q LTD | www.qltd.com

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Paper Prototyping

Images from Paper Prototyping by Carolyn Snyder

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Wireframes

Logo
H om e | H elp | Login/Signout Search | S ite Index
C ard s Invitations G ift Shop

Banner Ad or Internal Prom otion
G ift C ertificates

Banner Ad or Internal Prom otion
Promotions M y C ardshop

W elcom e, Tim ! D ad's D ay is June 18th. Send a card for free. C ard Thum bnail title: text text M ore Father's D ay C ards C ard Thum bnail title: text text M ore Sum m er C ards

N ew C ards | M ost P opular | H ighest R ated

C ard Thum bnail title: text text M ore M usic C ards

R easons to Send
Birthday S ubchannel | S ubchannel | Subchannel S ubchannel | S ubchannel | m ore... Channel S ubchannel | S ubchannel | Subchannel S ubchannel | S ubchannel | m ore...

Collections M usic TV M ovies Stationery Teen Lounge African A m erican Spanishl Religious Calendar
date date date date date date date date date date date date... H oliday editorial editorial editorial editorial editorial H oliday editorial editorial editorial editorial

P rom o Im age (M usic)

full calendar

holiday holiday holiday holiday holiday holiday holiday holiday holiday

Search Assistant

D on't know where to start? I can help you S E AR C H

Search Assistant Image

learn m ore | about us | investor relations | advertise w ith us | privacy policy job opportunities | contact us | term s of service

partner ad/offer space

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Taxonomies

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Thesaurus (Controlled Vocabulary)
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http://www.boxesandarrows.com/

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Case Study Cambridge Scientific Abstracts

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Cambridge Scientific Abstracts
Overview
Flagship search product + web site 100 bibliographic databases+ full text journals Partnership with Q LTD (www.qltd.com) 12 week project (IA + Designer @ ½ FTE each) Process (Research, Strategy, IA, Interface, Templates)

Goals
Improve IA, usability, visual identity Increase customer satisfaction (librarians + students) Increase sales (librarians)

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Case Study The National Cancer Institute

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Cancer.gov Redesign Goals
• Improve overall ease of use. • Improve image and identity. • Target content to key audiences. • Remove non-clickable bullets. • Reduce number of clicks.
Melanoma Home Page

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NCI Home

Cancer Information

Types of Cancer
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NCI User Research
Server Logs (most popular pages + sections) Search Logs (most common searches, user vocabulary) External Reports (Forrester, Nielsen, ACSI) HCI Research & Heuristic Evaluation User Research Sessions (testing + interviews)
Existing Web Site, Multiple Audiences Wireframes, Health Care Professionals

Findability Research
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Findability Facts • For every search on cancer.gov, there are over 100 cancer-related searches on public search engines. • Of these searches, 70% are on specific types of cancer. 97

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Advanced

Search & Navigation

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Search is a System

http://semanticstudios.com/publications/semantics/search.html
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Power Laws in Search
Best Bets few popular terms with many queries # of searches Long Tail many terms with only a few queries

search term rank

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Best Bets
“We can match 50% of users’ searches by manually matching fewer than 1000 unique search phrases – a manageable amount of editorial effort. But if we want to achieve 90% coverage, we must include over 30,000 phrases in our thesaurus.” Richard Wiggins Michigan State University The Accidental Thesaurus
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The Single Taxonomy Model
An informal count suggests more than 67,000 categories in Yahoo with roughly 4 to 8 levels of hierarchy between the main page and actual content.

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Taxonomy

Polyhierarchy
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Faceted Classification

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var s_prop2 = "Merlot" var s_prop3 = "South Africa" var s_prop4 = "8.99"

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Wine.com by the Numbers
Facet Type Region Winery Price Ratings Total Terms Total Combinations # of Vocabulary Terms 46 16 750 6 6 824 19,872,000
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Enterprise Facets
Topics Organizations Locations Products Formats Roles Languages Enterprise-wide subject hierarchy. Businesses, functions, departments. Geographic indicator of intended audience. Complete range of products and services. Content types meaningful to employees. Major employee roles (e.g., managers). Language of documents.
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Web 2.0

IA 3.0

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Getting Real foregoes functional specs and other transitory documentation in favor of building real screens. A functional spec is make-believe, an illusion of agreement, while an actual web page is reality. We'll never hire someone who's an information architect. It's just too overly specific. With a small team like ours, it doesn't make sense to hire people with such a narrowly defined skill-set.

37signals
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morville@semanticstudios.com This is something the 'well-designed metadata' crowd has never understood -- just because it's better to have welldesigned metadata along one axis does not mean that it is better along all axes, and the axis of cost, in particular, will trump any other advantage as it grows larger.

And the cost of tagging large systems rigorously is crippling, so fantasies of using controlled metadata in environments like Flickr are really fantasies of users suddenly deciding to become disciples of information architecture. Clay Shirky
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Yes, indeed. IA as it has lived will soon die. Not because it wasn’t valuable, not because IA’s didn’t do great work, but because the Web is moving on. The problem is that IA models information, not relationships. Many of the artifacts that IAs create: site maps, navigation systems, taxonomies, are information models built on the assumption that a single way to organize things can suit all users…one IA to rule them all, so to speak. Joshua Porter

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There’s a whole lot of IA in Web 2.0. “Findability leads to fundability.”

If you fear change, leave it here. Change is good for IA.

There’s a whole lot of IA outside Web 2.0
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/bryce/58299511/

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“There are two ways that products can take advantage of systems. The more obvious way, which Kodak pioneered in the late 1800s, and which Apple has executed of late, is to control all aspects of the system.” “Few of us have the ability to control a system in such a way... Take digital photo sharing. The success of Flickr is how it fits within an existing digital photo ecosystem, and adds value by helping coordinate these disparate elements...” Peter Merholz Stop Designing Products Start Designing Experiences http://www.peterme.com/?p=518
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IAI Business Plan
1. People designing and building shared information spaces benefit from a place where they can share and grow with others. 2. People and organizations have information space issues that can be helped by effective information architecture. These include:
• • • Virtual (e.g., software, websites) Physical (e.g., museums, libraries, hospitals) Procedural (e.g., flows of information in work processes)

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User Interfaces for Physical Spaces http://www.maya.com/

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When tags work and when they don't: Amazon and LibraryThing

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“Tagging works well when people tag "their" stuff, but it fails when they're asked to do it to "someone else's" stuff. You can't get your customers to organize your products, unless you give them a very good incentive. We all make our beds, 140 but nobody volunteers to fluff pillows at the local Sheraton.”

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Case Study Parents’ Picks

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Parents’ Picks Concept Paper

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In conducting our research and talking with families of young children, we have identified an opportunity to create an online, peer-to-peer rating and review resource for parents to use in identifying and selecting ‘kid-friendly’ establishments and activities in five categories: lodging, dining, parks & playgrounds, activities and classes, and major attractions. Users would rate and give written reviews in the above-mentioned areas and the site would aggregate the ratings to provide an overall score (and maybe have a Parents’ Picks Top Choice designation for leading sites/activities). Users would also be able to join in discussion forums on related topics and have access to links to suggested relevant sites (provided by both editors and suggested by other users – a Resource Center concept). Parents would use the site when planning a local outing or vacation with their children.
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Project Phases
Phase I: Positioning and Brand Identity (3-4 weeks) Phase II: Business Strategy and Development Plan (2-3 weeks) Phase III: Information Architecture (2-3 weeks) Phase IV: User Experience Design and Development (4-6 weeks) Phase V: Software Development and Optimization (4-6 weeks) Phase VI: Beta Testing and Launch Strategy (5-8 weeks) Launch: 4-6 months
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Parents’ Picks is the #1 online destination for parents of young children who seek real, parent-tested, excursion planning advice and ideas and a place where they can offer and share their excursion experiences and opinions for the benefit of all parents with young children. No other parent-targeted online resource offers such a robust, userfriendly set of excursion planning and search tools, intuitive navigation, and up-to-date, parent-tested data. Parent Picks’ gives parents of young children peace of mind and confidence when they are planning family excursions, and a sense of contribution through active knowledge sharing and advice giving.

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Case Story Flickr 2.0

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Towards the Long Now • IA • IA + Web 2.0 • IA + Interaction • IA + Transmedia • IA + Location • IA + UFOs

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• 1000+ Members • 60+ Member Countries • Active Events Program

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” – Alan Kay

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A second important strength of European IAs relates to the vivid and mixed multilingual and multicultural landscape they live in. European IAs understand more than others that language and culture significantly determine the perception of the world and how perceptions are based upon vast belief and value systems. For example, IAs from Europe know that whatever classification system is used - from simple to complex, from controlled vocabularies through taxonomies/thesauri to ontologies underneath there are many biases. What George Lakoff has proven in his classic 'Women, Fire and Dangerous Things', many European IAs understand by nature. Especially for globally branded companies, their deep understanding of the meaning and value of language and culture can contribute to a successful internationalization and globalization of an online presence. And not in the last place, a sensitivity to the multilingual and multicultural aspects makes European IAs important players and leaders of multidisciplinary teams. IA Strategy for Europe Peter Bogaards, http://www.bogieland.com/euroia_2005.htm

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“I leave to several futures (not to all) my garden of forking paths.” Jorge Luis Borges 165

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IA Therefore I Am
Peter Morville morville@semanticstudios.com Semantic Studios http://semanticstudios.com/ Ambient Findability http://findability.org/ IA Institute http://iainstitute.org/ This Presentation http://semanticstudios.com/usid2.pdf

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