Complexity and the practice of web information architecture / Burford (2011)

Citation - Burford, S. (2011). Complexity and the practice of web information architecture. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 62(10), 2024-2037.

Keyword - information architecture

Abstract

  • 背景/動機:研究在大型組織中,網站資訊架構規劃的實務工作
  • 假定:
  • 方法:紮根理論(grounded theory)方法
  • 資料:7 個大型組織
  • 發現:
    • 在實務中,網站資訊架構的工作是不可預測(unpredictability)且多重觀點(multiple perspectives)的, 並且要求具有迅速回應、靈活敏捷、與協商的能力。
    • 網站資訊架構在具有自我組織特性的複雜環境中發生,而資訊架構實踐是一種複雜的自適應系統。
    • 就以上比喻(metaphor)的觀點,預先決定的、結構性的方法論並無法適用於資訊架構實務工作。這對傳統資訊組織的思考與實務都提出了挑戰。

Content

結構取向:依據資訊專家的專長來建立網站資訊架構;而這些專家的專業來自於其他領域–將需求編碼以控制突發的資訊空間需求,以及建立組織資訊的程序。
Structured approaches to web IA have drawn on the expertise of information professionals from other traditions who have signaled the need to take control of this emergent information space and introduce processes for organizing information.

非傳統取向:
At the same time, the emergent nature of the web’s growth and development and the ease of participation in website publishing by multiple organizational stakeholders introduce unprecedented challenges in the structuring of information in a new information environment without established traditions and practices.

其他企業內網站資訊架構工作研究:

  • Eschenfelder (2003)
    研究資訊架構設計工作的組織內衝突。網站必須滿足數種不同對象的不同目的。
    examines the organizational conflict involved in developing a web IA and finds that a website must often serve multiple audiences leading to goal conflict between different organizational subunits with different target customers.
  • Robertson, Hewlett, Harvey, and Edwards (2003)
    研究網站資訊架構師的實務工作,發現不同組織的工作內容相當不同。並且資訊架構師需要廣泛的專業技能,研究歸納了五類專業:研究、聚焦設計、評估、在內部外部的利害關係人間協調、管理。\\examine the work practices of people in the position of web information architect and find that those practices vary greatly from organization to organization. They discover, too, that practitioners of web IA require a broad set of skills and expertise, reporting five categories of work practices: research, focused designing, evaluation, coordinating internal and external stakeholders, and management.
  • Resmini, Byström,& Madsen (2009)
    reported about the overall nature of the situated practice of web IA.
  • Burford (2010a)
    實務中能在大型組織的現實與複雜情況下,能運用哪些一般性設計方法與原則,仍不明確。
    The use and usefulness of general design methods and best practice guidelines for web IA within the realities and complexities of large organizations remain unclear (Burford, 2010a).

文獻

  • 系統性方法:
    • 透過 Guidelines:
      • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 提供的 The Research-Based Web Design and Usability Guidelines。
      • A checklist offered by the Australian Government Information Management Office.
      • 批評: Spool (2003) and Nielsen (1999) 認為網站的深度資訊結構並無法透過標準化的規範達成,而是需要脈絡性的、特定的、獨具創意的資訊設計。
    • 透過 Design patterns: 在特定領域下,具洞察力與證據力的可重複利用設計方案。
      “capture a proven and insightful solution in a particular domain for reuse as a need arises.” (p.2025)
      • Van Duyne, D., Landay, J., & Hong, J. (2007). 「紅皮書」 The Design of Sites: Patterns for Creating Winning Web Sites.
      • Symonenko (2006) 對網站資訊結構樣式的研究.
    • 透過有結構的設計開發程序 “structured development process”
      • Rosenfeld & Morville 北極熊書,透過分析,列舉出設計網站結構所需的元素與其設計歷程類型。
      • 批評:這些程序在大型組織內並無法達到很好的結果 (Wodtke & Govella, 2009, p. xiv),也不容易執行(Warner, 2004, p. 178; Orna, 2005, p. 36; Wodtke & Govella, 2009, p. xiv).
      • 批評:Rosenfeld & Morville 的方法來自於圖書資訊學門傳統,認為需「規範整個永久或暫時的知識世界」“impose control over the entire world of knowledge, long-lasting and ephemeral” (Schwartz, 2001, p. 145)。但相對於網路,圖書館是個較為穩定且靜態的環境,而圖書館學方法也只是針對這樣的使用環境所建立的, “However, LIS theories and practices were developed for and within a relatively stable and ordered environment for the organization of information. In utilizing traditional LIS techniques and skills on the web, Morville and Rosenfeld (2006, p. 8) acknowledge that a library is a “relatively well-defined environment” and contrast websites as “complex, adaptive systems with emergent qualities” and “rich streams of information flowing within and beyond the borders of departments, business units, institutions, and countries” (p. 23).”
      • 批評:Bowker and Star (2000)1) 區分「正規資訊組織(formal organization of information)」與「實務資訊組織(practical organization of information)」的不同,並建立一個詞彙「實務分類」(practical classifying)來描繪人們在日常生活中組織資訊的方式,包含工作場所與外在世界(p. 59)。
      • 批評:Burford (2008)(也是本文作者)發現在大型組織中,即便會有集中的共用分類法或控制詞彙架構,由專業人士仔細評估資訊架構,但在各地仍有更具在地化且符合實際業務需求、與利害關係人有更深入的參與設計及評估的網站架構,而非採用全部一致的網站資訊架構。
      • Lambe (2007) 的分類工作研究(taxonomy work): 在組織中持續分類工作的要點是,維持分類相關性與活力。“Continuing taxonomy work in an organization is essential to keep a taxonomy relevant and alive” (Lambe, 2007, p. 11). Mahon and Gilchrist (2004, p. xviii) 同意組織網站資訊的秩序與穩定性是一大挑戰,認為網站資訊架構是一根據現代組織變動,而永遠持續進行中的工作。 agree that order and stability in organizing information on websites will always be a challenge, saying that web “IA is a work in progress, given the rate of change in modern organizations.”

Findings

5 Patterns of Web IA Practice in Large than Organizations

  • Provisional information structures: 臨時資訊結構
    快速回應業務變動需求的非預期網站資訊架構。
    Unpredictable and frequent change to its web information structures is demanded by a large organization. Those involved in web IA find themselves working in quick response to business request for change.
  • Concessions to best practice: 最佳實做的讓步
    發展只符合當時脈絡,而不符合最佳實做的網站架構。
  • Experts and novices: 專家與新手。
    大型組織的資訊架構可能同時由專家與新手同時整理。
  • Timing and opportunity:
  • Practice and projects:

Note

1)
Bowker, G., & Star, S. (2000). Sorting things out: Classification and its consequences. London: MIT Press.