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Jan 13, 2011: My new information architecture workshop

As I've mentioned here before, I've been planning on assembling a new information architecture workshop to teach in 2011. Well, it's 2011, so here we go: I've posted a draft description of my new workshop below. It's called Adaptable Information Architecture: how to say no to your next redesign. My goal is to show you how to prioritize what you should work on and tune your information architecture in an ongoing way.

Does it sound like something you'd want to take? If so, let me know and I'll email you as soon as the schedule's firmed up. BTW, I'll be teaching it in San Francisco in March, Atlanta in April, and Chicago in June (dates almost set).

And, of course, I'd appreciate any general feedback you have. Thanks!

Adaptable Information Architecture:
how to say no to your next redesign

Your web site or intranet has major problems, and everyone knows it. Worse, it's been that way for a very, very long time.

Occasionally someone tries to do something about it. Senior leaders typically start with the insanely ambitious goal to "fix it once and for all". The result? They throw a few pieces of expensive technology at the problem, or they launch a huge redesign initiative that distracts everyone for a year or two and often results in minimal, cosmetic improvements.

You, however, will continue to be stuck dealing with the mess, condemned to repeat this painful cycle every few years. Unless you attend my workshop. I've been at this for over 15 years; I've seen (and will show you) more realistic and effective techniques for improving your site's performance that will cost far less than redesigns.

You can't make your site perfect, but you can make it much better: let me show you how to tune your information architecture.

The day will include

  • A very quick overview of information architecture—so we're all on the same page
  • Practical ways to prioritize your information architecture's challenges and keep it tuned
  • A rich combination of lecture, discussion, and hands-on exercises
  • Handouts, including all the slides and a checklist of things you can do to tune your site's performance
  • Copies of my new book, Site Search Analytics, and my classic book, Information Architecture for the World Wide Web

What you'll learn

  • How to prioritize the IA challenges your organization should be addressing, rather than wasting money on ambitious attempts to "boil the ocean"
  • Practical steps you can take to tune and improve your site's:
    • Top-down navigation (e.g., main page, site index)
    • Contextual navigation (e.g., moving horizontally through the guts of your content)
    • Search performance (e.g., search results design, best bets
  • Ways to reframe and reposition "one-off" projects, such as content inventory, as ongoing processes
  • How to analyze search data and develop content models—two areas of opportunity for improvement that many organizations overlook
  • Talking points and approaches that can help change your leaders' minds about redesigns

Who should attend?

Information architects, content strategists, user researchers, designers, UX team managers, and anyone who is responsible for managing and improving a large web site or intranet.

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Comment: David Fiorito (Jan 14, 2011)

Sounds solid. The only thing I would add is how to fill qualitaive research gaps to compliment the search data analysis.

Comment: James Robertson (Jan 14, 2011)

I agree 110% with the "death to the major redesign" thesis! We certainly see the same cycle of pain and redesigns in intranets throughout the globe.

So bravo for creating this workshop!

A word of caution however: organisations are extremely conditioned to "do a redesign", and can be very hard to dislodge. (At any given point, 50% of intranet teams seem to be planning a redesign.)

Expect some resistance to change, both as part of the sales process, and during the workshop. That being said, if you can get everyone across the line, I'm voting to give you a Nobel Peace Prize! :-)

Cheers, James

PS. happy to talk through my workshop experiences if that would be of help to you.

Comment: Lou (Jan 14, 2011)

David, good suggestion (and already planned; just need to make it clearer here).

James, I'm so going for that Nobel! Though I'd be happy to settle for a Macarthur.

Comment: aya izraely-levi (Jan 14, 2011)

Thanks, Lou, for putting this together.
I think you identified a pattern in the lifecycle of a site, which is not always a necessary step when addressing all problems of a site.

I would love to think through what frameworks we could use to support a decision process about whether or not a redesign or a new tech. are required to support certain goals.

This could help the UX person both to figure out what would be the best approach at a certain situation (to redesign or not to redesign?), and also to communicate this approach in the organization and sell on that idea.
Hope this was clear /helpful…
Looking forward to read more about it.
-aya.

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