Web Wide Information Architecture
by Melissa Cheater, Univ. of Western Ontario
So what is IA?
The art and science of organizing and labeling websites, intranets, online communities, and software to support findability and usability.
A specialized skill set… that has some degree of origin in the library sciences.
So why is IA important?
You need a consistent experience for your user. They don’t want to be confused when they navigate through your site.
85% of students rely on links/menus to find information on your site; 15% use site search tool - E-Expectations 2009
88% of students said they would drop a school from their search or be disa with a school if they don’t have the right information on your site.
- Cost of Finding (time, frustration)
- Cost of Not Finding (bad decisions, alternate channels)
- Cost of construction
- Cost of maintenance
- Cost of training
- Value of education
- Value of brand
At Ivey, there are 7 different link categories, 51 total links, several repeats.
Use Google Analytics because they’ll do a Site Overlay and you can see where people are clicking.
13 links on the Ivey homepage get 80% of the clicks.
You want your most popular links at most 2 clicks away from the first page a user sees.
Then they looked at their peers
Columbia Business Schools - indexed the links and saw what they had and what Ivey was missing from that list.
University of Virginia - same process
What do we (Ivey) want?
- Inside Track
- Discover Ivey
- Alumni Portal
If you have to have all the links, you need to group them so that they are easier to find.
You’re keeping track of a ton of different pages across both your site and all the sites that you run across the internet. You have to link effectively to all your pages on the internet.
Keeping an excel listing of all your properties across the internet so you can be keeping track of all of them.
Once you have determined all the properties that you are responsible for, you then integrate them into your Information Architecture.
Don’t just focus on your particular site, integrate Web Wide.
On the Ivey facebook page they list all the links to all the properties.
Web Wide Experience
- Consistent look and feel across all platforms
- Navigation that includes all platforms
- Web Wide Content
- Web Wide Content
- Social CMS
We need a platform that will allow us to post across all the systems we need.
Q: Are you the one handling the content?
A: Yes, we are very decentralized. But she is the first person at the corporate level in the web.
Q: Usability, how do you group things best? Especially when programs are more recognizable by names rather than college name?
A: You need headings and colors, and have all those links be grouped under that heading. If you group by audience, many times students don’t really understand that the Alumni link is a link to info For alumni, not About alumni.
Q: How do you add those links to your facebook page?
A: Use the HTML/FBML app on Facebook Pages. You can add your own content here and create links back to your home page.