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Designing websites that work

Designing websites that work

This short presentation examines some of the non-technical needs to make a website project work - the right information, the right skills and adequate time.

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Donna Spencer

August 22, 2006
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Transcript

  1. Designing websites that work Donna Maurer – Maadmob Interaction Design

  2. Open Publish 2006 Designing websites that work About me •

    Freelance information architect/interaction designer  I design structures & interfaces for complex informational & interactive systems  6+ years professional experience, as an innie, an outie & a freelancer  Designed loads of business applications, websites, intranets • Practice, teach and write about IA and IxD • Chair for next year's IA Summit • Writing a book about card sorting - due Jan 2007
  3. Open Publish 2006 Designing websites that work The problem •

    Information is hard to find • Content is poor quality • Site needs a visual refresh • Site doesn’t scale well  New content doesn’t fit in  Search engine is choking  Navigation method is no longer suitable • Site is a poor reflection on the company • The last redesign didn’t fix anything
  4. Open Publish 2006 Designing websites that work You need to

    redesign • Sometimes only a redesign will help  The problem is too big to tweak  It has been left too long  It is the only way you’ll get the resources • This talk is about design/redesign, not long- term maintenance or incremental design
  5. Open Publish 2006 Designing websites that work Essential elements •

    Information • Skills • Time • Design work is creative, not just analytic
  6. Open Publish 2006 Designing websites that work Without information •

    Decisions are hard to make • Decisions don’t fit • Design based on personal opinion • Arguments • May build the wrong thing • If you don’t have enough  Use existing sources such as web stats, search logs, customer emails  Informal research
  7. Open Publish 2006 Designing websites that work Gathering information •

    Good inputs give good outputs • User research activities  Interviews, surveys  Existing data  Card sorting • Content  Inventory, wishlists  Analysis • Business goals  Discussion  Background research  Competitor analysis
  8. Open Publish 2006 Designing websites that work Without skills •

    Just can’t do a good job • No credibility if you do well • No way to judge your outputs • Activity-led design • ‘Research’-led design • Analysis paralysis • If you don’t have enough  Hire in (will take time)  Train/get mentoring  Consulting services  Narrow down the project
  9. Open Publish 2006 Designing websites that work Skills • Teams,

    not individuals • Creative thinkers  Analyse & think about implications  Not follow formulae • Previous experience • Excellent communicators  Writing, selling • Understand relevant technology • Plan & keep everything on track
  10. Open Publish 2006 Designing websites that work Skills/roles • User

    research • Information architecture • Content (analysis, management) • Usability testing • Accessibility • Visual design
  11. Open Publish 2006 Designing websites that work Without time •

    Can’t collect sufficient information • Can’t think issues through properly • Don’t get to attempt and abandon ideas • Premature decisions • Quality suffers • If you don’t have enough  Reduce scope  Don’t compromise quality  Get expert skills in
  12. Open Publish 2006 Designing websites that work Time • ‘Thinking

    time’ is an amazing resource  Allow gaps instead of rushing • Allow time for analysis • Try different options and choose a good one • Allows good consultation • Good documentation (e.g. rationales) • Much more likely to get a good solution
  13. Open Publish 2006 Designing websites that work If you hire

    a consultant • Check the person has skills, not just techniques • Don’t ask about results • Learn how they think • Get involved in all activities, discussions & decisions  Skills awareness & transfer
  14. Open Publish 2006 Designing websites that work Questions & thanks

    • http://maadmob.net/ • 0409-778-693 • donna@maadmob.net • I’m available from Jan 07