Collaboration, social psychology key to comprehensive IA

Industry needs to move towards ubiquitous computing

IT managers should look at the implications of social psychology in order to implement successful information architecture (IA) solutions, a web strategist has claimed.

Speaking at the Oz-IA conference in Sydney last week, web strategist and user-experience architect, Matthew Hodgson, said IA developments should be validated before being implemented within an organisation.

“As science practitioners we have to remember whatever we put up has to be validated,” he said. “Once you have a solution, don’t just go and implement it. Don’t just assume that it will be the taxonomy that will work for everyone. Validate before you implement.”

Hodgson stressed that as well as validating solutions that please the majority, IA must also be designed to please users on an individual level.

“Everything that people do has a comparison to others behaviour,” he said. “We specifically look to someone else to see whether their thoughts and behaviour align with yours, and if they don’t, I need to make sure that equation is in balance.”

Sharing his insights into his own experiences as an Agile IA, Hodgson said he saw a greater need for individual thought to occur while working on a recent IA deployment.

“Recently I was asked to validate an organisations’ taxonomy for their new intranet,” he said. “I gave the same task for individuals to do rather than in groups. There were fewer reflections on corporate structure and less instances of specific language being used to describe terms.”

Hodgson said social media was another way for individual thoughts to flourish, with the use of Web 2.0 tools like Wiki’s being used to greater collaboration through online interaction.

“It’s basically about facilitating computers in the social dynamic, but this is about understanding the social and understanding augmented reality,” he said. “We’re moving away from being stuck at a desktop and moving towards ubiquitous computing. This is the future of where of where we are heading, and social psychology is the key to that”

Freelance user experience and web designer, Matt Balara, also spoke at the conference on the topic of e-books, saying that as an e-book reader, the iPad and Kindle are struggling to maintain relevance

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Tags agileinformation architecture

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