Structuring Information to Empower Users

Structuring Information to Empower Users

The way we organize our web content changes the way our users can find it, understand it, and act on it—but how do we ensure that those changes are for the better? How can we use the structure of the site itself to make our content more meaningful, more accessible, and more powerful in helping users reach their goals?

This workshop will discuss how making small (but strategic) changes to the way you organize your content can empower your users. We’ll look at real-world examples of how categories, hierarchies, and labels impact information literacy. You'll learn key principles for organizing information, methods for applying those principles to the web, and techniques for imposing order on chaos (aka how to build a better sitemap).

Delivered as a three-hour workshop at Confab Central 2019 in Minneapolis.

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Lisa Maria Martin

April 24, 2019
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Transcript

  1. @ redsesame #confabcentral 1 Structuring Information Empower Users Lisa Maria

    Martin Confab Central | April 24, 2019 to
  2. @ redsesame #confabcentral 2 Why are we here? Good morning!

  3. @ redsesame #confabcentral 3 Our choices make information: • Findable

    • Understandable • Usable
  4. @ redsesame #confabcentral 4 “Structure make[s] every subject easier to

    understand and remember. […It] can speed access to related information [and] make sense of our detailed, complex world.” Barbara Ann Kipfer “
  5. @ redsesame #confabcentral 5 The creative organization of information creates

    new information. Richard Saul Wurman “
  6. @ redsesame #confabcentral 6 to help people. We are here

  7. @ redsesame #confabcentral 7 categorization. Let’s talk

  8. @ redsesame #confabcentral 8

  9. @ redsesame #confabcentral 9

  10. @ redsesame #confabcentral 10

  11. @ redsesame #confabcentral 11

  12. @ redsesame #confabcentral 12 cake salad pasta

  13. @ redsesame #confabcentral 13 dessert appetizer entree

  14. @ redsesame #confabcentral 14 criteria matching. Let’s talk

  15. @ redsesame #confabcentral 15 the criteria? 1: What are

  16. @ redsesame #confabcentral 16 the criteria? 2: Does the content

    match
  17. @ redsesame #confabcentral 17

  18. @ redsesame #confabcentral 18

  19. @ redsesame #confabcentral 19 Activity • Organize your table’s notes

    into at least three categories: Salads, Desserts, and [your choice] • Take notes: • What’s the criteria for “salads”? What’s the criteria for “desserts”? • What factors influence your decision-making for the other categories?
  20. @ redsesame #confabcentral 20 on the web? Now, how do

    we do that
  21. @ redsesame #confabcentral 21 Site structure is shaped by: •Your

    current content •Your business goals •Your users’ needs •Your critical thinking skills
  22. @ redsesame #confabcentral 22 Posse Foundation The

  23. @ redsesame #confabcentral 23 We believe that a small, diverse

    group of talented students—a Posse—carefully selected and trained, can serve as a catalyst for individual and community development. “ The Posse Foundation
  24. @ redsesame #confabcentral 24

  25. @ redsesame #confabcentral 25 current content. Your

  26. @ redsesame #confabcentral 26 Your current content: • What content

    is currently available? • What are its strengths and weaknesses? • How is the content organized? • How deep is the content? How broad?
  27. @ redsesame #confabcentral 27 “Why do I have to audit?”

    • Companies prefer to leverage available resources. • You cannot improve the system if you do not understand the system.
  28. @ redsesame #confabcentral 28 Activity • Get to know your

    content cards • Organize them into categories (site sections) • Take notes: • What criteria are you using to make decisions? • What content fits easily? What content is hard to categorize? • What additional information would make this easier?
  29. @ redsesame #confabcentral 29 business goals. Your

  30. @ redsesame #confabcentral 30 Your business goals: • What does

    the business want to accomplish? • What does the business want users to do on the site? • What brand values or stories need to be conveyed? • Why are you doing this work?
  31. @ redsesame #confabcentral 31 Posse Foundation goals: • Update website

    technology • Tell their story • Increase donations • Support the mission
  32. @ redsesame #confabcentral 32 Activity • Reorganize your site sections

    • Take notes: • How do you incorporate the business goals into your decision-making? • How do the business goals change your previous iteration? • How are the brand attributes expressed in your new system? • Do you want to cut, add, or change any content?
  33. @ redsesame #confabcentral 33 break. Fifteen-minute CW: The second half

    of this presentation will mention cancer and disordered eating. Please take of yourself. Feel free to leave the room at any time. I’m happy to review anything you’ve missed after the workshop.
  34. @ redsesame #confabcentral 34 user needs. Your

  35. @ redsesame #confabcentral 35 Your users’ needs: • Who is

    on the site? • What do they want to do? • What can they do? • What value do they get out of interacting with this company?
  36. @ redsesame #confabcentral 36 • Primary: • Individual donors •

    Corporate funders • University partners • Volunteers and mentors • Secondary: • Staff and board of directors • Media • Tertiary: • Nominators (teachers and counselors) • Scholars • Families • Alumni Posse Foundation audiences:
  37. @ redsesame #confabcentral 37 Activity • Reorganize your site sections

    • Take notes: • What does each audience need to do? • How do you incorporate the user needs into your decision-making? • Where do user needs and business goals overlap? • Do you want to cut, add, or change any content?
  38. @ redsesame #confabcentral 38 empowerment. Let’s talk

  39. @ redsesame #confabcentral 39 To increase the degree of autonomy

    and self-determination in people and in communities in order to enable them to represent their [own] interests. Wikipedia “
  40. @ redsesame #confabcentral 40 dessert appetizer entree

  41. @ redsesame #confabcentral 41 ? ? ?

  42. @ redsesame #confabcentral 42

  43. @ redsesame #confabcentral 43 [William] is not a doctor…His books

    include no citations, sourcing, or reference to peer-reviewed studies. Quartz “ https://qz.com/emails/quartz-obsession/1571156/
  44. @ redsesame #confabcentral 44

  45. @ redsesame #confabcentral 45 https://www.wired.com/story/amazon-and-the-spread-of-health-misinformation/

  46. @ redsesame #confabcentral 46 help people. We are here to

  47. @ redsesame #confabcentral 47 Thinking critically: • What biases and

    privileges shape your perspective? • Who benefits the most from the system? • Who is the most vulnerable? • Is your language clear, actionable, and inclusive?
  48. @ redsesame #confabcentral 48 Activity • Reorganize (or relabel) your

    site sections • Take notes: • What perspectives are missing from your decision- making? • Which labels need to change, and why? • Which users are the most vulnerable? What do they need? • What additional content would be helpful to users?
  49. @ redsesame #confabcentral 49 review. Let’s

  50. @ redsesame #confabcentral 50 Site structure is shaped by: •Your

    current content •Your business goals •Your users’ needs •Your critical thinking skills
  51. @ redsesame #confabcentral 51

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  61. @ redsesame #confabcentral 61 powerful. Our decisions are

  62. @ redsesame #confabcentral 62 Whatever you're doing, it is not

    neutral. It is either challenging what's going on or normalizing it. Jessica Price “ https://twitter.com/Delafina777/status/903646892801667072
  63. @ redsesame #confabcentral 63 Available now from A Book Apart

    and in the Confab bookstore “If you want to make your website more usable and your content easier to find, then this book is for you.” —Sara Wachter-Boettcher lisa.maria.martin@gmail.com @redsesame | thefutureislikepie.com Thank you.