“We haven’t yet encountered an enterprise website that didn’t suffer from problems associated with decentralization. Put another way, it’s the rare site that is too centralized. Now that websites are recognized as a foundational component of doing business in the 21st century, many early sources of resistance to centralization are wearing down. Business units are beginning to understand the benefits of shared resources and coherent user experience, for their sites’ users as much as for their own bottom lines.
So it’s tempting to consider centralization as the ultimate goal of enterprise IA. It does sound like a nice way to deal with the problem: Just design an information architecture that knits together all units’ content silos in a rational, usable way, and then implement across the organization.
The goal of enterprise IA is not to centralize everything you see. In fact, the goal of EIA is no different than any other flavor of IA: identify the few most efficient means of connecting users with the information they need most. That often might involve adopting some centralizing measures, but it could also mean a highly decentralized approach, such as enabling employees to use a social bookmarking tool to tag intranet content. The point, as always, is to apply whatever approach makes the most sense given your organization, its users, content, and context.”
For the first time in history, a wide distribution of technology allows citizens to get involved in public governance and participate in institutional life on a very regular basis. Yet websites of public authorities are barely taking advantage of the power of the participatory citizen.
Two factors play a key role in this gap. First, the average citizen is not well informed about how basic democratic institutions function, which dramatically reduces the citizen’s capacity to influence the democratic process. Websites can help reduce the complexity of public institutions and get people to understand the way institutions and public administrations function and behave. Second, access to public services online is increasingly separated from institutional information. While online service sites are popular, the role of the institutional sites is not clear. The authors argue that these sites can and should take on the role of a two-way communications tool on topics of policy and politics, support knowledge sharing on areas covered by the authority, and create maximum transparency on what the public administration actually does.
To better understand the opportunities, challenges and evolutions that are affecting public institution websites, the authors studied the main sites of 30 public authorities and identified several innovative approaches. A first analysis shows that a lot remains to be improved. Almost all the sites analysed share three characteristics: (1) policy priorities are not concisely communicated and easy to understand, (2) there is only limited innovation in how regional or municipal institutions present themselves; and (3) there are no tools for active participation.
However, some of the studied sites provide elements of innovation that can be used as models and inspirations. The authors conclude that to improve information access, better communication strategies are needed and to increase participation, better usability is of crucial importance.
The peer-reviewed content of User Experience is not available online but printed copies of the magazine can be bought in the UPA Store.
Here is what Morville wrote about it:
Henry presents eleven new skills or literacies…
- Play – the capacity to experiment with one’s surroundings as a form of problem solving.
- Performance – the ability to adopt alternative identities for the purpose of improvisation and discovery.
- Simulation – the ability to interpret and construct dynamic models of real-world processes.
- Appropriation – the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content.
- Multitasking – the ability to scan one’s environment and shift focus as needed to salient details.
- Distributed Cognition – the ability to interact meaningfully with tools that expand mental capacities.
- Collective Intelligence – the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal.
- Judgment – the ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information sources.
- Transmedia Navigation – the ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities.
- Networking – the ability to search for, synthesize, and disseminate information.
- Negotiation – the ability to travel across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives, and grasping and following alternative norms.
…and three concerns:
- The Participation Gap – the unequal access to the opportunities, experiences, skills, and knowledge that will prepare youth for full participation in the world of tomorrow.
- The Transparency Problem – the challenges young people face in learning to see clearly the ways that media shape perceptions of the world.
- The Ethics Challenge – the breakdown of traditional forms of professional training and socialization that might prepare young people for their increasingly public roles as media makers and community participants.
Henry also argues that “textual literacy remains a central skill in the twenty-first century” and that traditional research skills “assume even greater importance as students venture beyond collections that have been screened by librarians into the more open space of the web.”
In considering goals and challenges regarding the education of our two daughters over the next decade or so, this feels like a pretty good roadmap.
In this thought-provoking talk, best-selling author Peter Morville explores the future present in mobile and embedded devices, GPS and RFID technologies, search algorithms, findable objects, evolutionary psychology, and the long tail of the sociosemantic web.
“Intelligence is moving to the edges, flowing through wireless devices, empowering individuals and distributed teams. Ideas spread like wildfire, and information is in the air, literally. And yet with this wealth of instantly accessible information, we still experience disorientation. We still wander off the map.
How do we make decisions in the information age? How do we know enough to ask the right questions? How do we find the best product, the right person, the data that makes a difference?
In Ambient Findability, Morville searches for the answers in the strange connections among social software, semantic webs, evolutionary psychology and interaction design. And, he explains how the journey from push to pull is changing not only the rules of marketing and design, but also the nature of authority and the destination of our culture.”
In his new book “Ambient Findability” Peter Morville, the president and founder of Semantic Studios and the author of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, examines the convergence of information and connectivity that have made our current age one of unlimited findability. In other words, anyone can find anything at any time. Complete navigability.
Morville discusses the Internet, GIS, and other network technologies that are coming together to make unlimited findability possible. He explores how the melding of these innovations impacts society, since web access is now a standard requirement for successful people and businesses. But before he does that, Morville looks back at the history of wayfinding and human evolution, suggesting that our fear of being lost has driven us to create maps, charts, and now, the mobile internet.
The book’s central thesis is that information literacy, information architecture, and usability are all critical components of this new world order. Hand in hand with that is the contention that only by planning and designing the best possible software, devices and internet, will we be able to maintain this connectivity in the future.