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Why Information Architecture is Vital for Office 365 and SharePoint

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With so many apps and options in Office 365 and SharePoint, Information Architecture is more important than ever. It's critical to design for simplicity to meet business needs, remain flexible, and promote user adoption. I presented this material first to the Baltimore SharePoint Users Group in November 2018.

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Why Information Architecture is Vital for Office 365 and SharePoint

  1. 1. Why Information Architecture is Vital For Office 365 and SharePoint
  2. 2. All content © copyright Kwestix LLC (unless otherwise noted). All rights reserved. J. Kevin Parker, CIP, INFO ▪ CEO & Principal Architect, Kwestix (www.kwestix.com) ▪ Certified Information Professional and holder of these certificates: INFO Designation (Information Coalition/ARMA), SharePoint Master (AIIM), ECM Master (AIIM), BPM Master (AIIM), ERM Master (AIIM), and Capture Practitioner (AIIM) ▪ Winner of several industry leadership awards 2
  3. 3. All content © copyright Kwestix LLC (unless otherwise noted). All rights reserved. What Do We Mean by “Information Architecture”? Also known in IA circles as “DTDT” (define the damned thing!).
  4. 4. All content © copyright Kwestix LLC (unless otherwise noted). All rights reserved. Information Architecture (IA) Defined IA applies information science to designing structures and systems for organizing, labeling, navigating, and searching information. The goal of IA is to make information findable and understandable. UI Information Architecture Information Systems 4
  5. 5. All content © copyright Kwestix LLC (unless otherwise noted). All rights reserved. Key Points on the Purposes and Benefits of IA (1 of 3) ▪ IA relates to both the front end and back end of information systems. ▪ IA for user interfaces (UI) defines schemes for organizing and labeling information in websites, applications, mobile interfaces, and Internet of Things devices for greater clarity and improved user experiences (UX). ▪ IA for information systems defines data structures, content repositories, information flows, and metadata for describing properties, categories, and classifications, all of which are used for searching, displaying, processing, routing, securing, and managing information assets throughout their lifecycle. 5
  6. 6. All content © copyright Kwestix LLC (unless otherwise noted). All rights reserved. Key Points on the Purposes and Benefits of IA (2 of 3) ▪ IA design for websites and applications considers the interdependent aspects of Users, Content, and Context. ▪ Enterprise IA, which is closely related to Enterprise Architecture, considers the interdependent aspects of people, process, technology, and information for designing enterprise information systems. ▪ IA design must follow strategic goals and requirements defined by Information Governance when designing information architectures for individual systems, system interfaces, and the entire enterprise information environment. 6
  7. 7. All content © copyright Kwestix LLC (unless otherwise noted). All rights reserved. Key Points on the Purposes and Benefits of IA (3 of 3) ▪ IA defines the work artifacts necessary for well-designed and usable information environments that follow the strategic goals and requirements defined by Information Governance and Cybersecurity. ▪ IA produces artifacts that include taxonomies, ontologies, sitemaps, wireframes, search strategies, navigation strategies, records schedules, master data and metadata plans, data models, and data maps. ▪ IA informs architectures for applications and infrastructure. 7
  8. 8. All content © copyright Kwestix LLC (unless otherwise noted). All rights reserved. Questions that IA Should Answer 8 What can I find here? Where am I? What can I do here? Where can I go from here?
  9. 9. All content © copyright Kwestix LLC (unless otherwise noted). All rights reserved.9 Context Content Users IA Corporate goals, culture, resources, technology, constraints User personas, use cases, needs, tasks, experience, information-seeking behaviors Content and data types, content assets, metadata, repositories, structures IA Connects Context, Content, and Users Information Architecture (4th ed.) is a must read for knowing the foundation of IA. These 3 circles come from Rosenfeld and Morville originally. See it at Amazon: http://a.co/d/6tjn8c8
  10. 10. All content © copyright Kwestix LLC (unless otherwise noted). All rights reserved. IA Creates a Bridge 10 UA & User Experience Content & Data Repositories Search Improvements Navigation Improvements Tagging Improvements Organization Improvements
  11. 11. All content © copyright Kwestix LLC (unless otherwise noted). All rights reserved. Conceptual IA Systems Organizing, Labeling, Navigating, and Searching
  12. 12. All content © copyright Kwestix LLC (unless otherwise noted). All rights reserved. IA Systems in Context 12 Information Architecture User Interface Organization Systems Labeling Systems Navigation Systems Search Systems Information Management Systems UI Information Architecture Information Systems
  13. 13. All content © copyright Kwestix LLC (unless otherwise noted). All rights reserved. Organization Systems ▪ Are the sites and tools we use easy to understand navigate? ▪ Is it clear to users where they are at any given place? ▪ Are the site organizing structures simple to use and easy to maintain (are they flexible and scalable)? ▪ What kinds of sites should we use, and how do they relate to each other? ▪ What other information apps do we use, and how do they relate to our content sites? 13
  14. 14. All content © copyright Kwestix LLC (unless otherwise noted). All rights reserved. Labeling Systems ▪ Do we have approved sets of terms with clear definitions to use in labeling and tagging content, libraries, and sites? ▪ Do we have naming schemes to use across collaboration spaces and sites? Do they work? ▪ Do we allow folders in our information environments, and are there guidelines on how these are named and used? ▪ Do we know how to label the inputs and outputs of each type of business process? 14
  15. 15. All content © copyright Kwestix LLC (unless otherwise noted). All rights reserved. Navigation Systems ▪ Are websites and apps easy to browse and navigate? ▪ Are navigation labels and structures clear? ▪ Are navigation elements automatically generated? Curated? Up to date and accurate? ▪ Is navigation consistent and useful? ▪ Do we adequately cater to different information-seeking behaviors? 15
  16. 16. All content © copyright Kwestix LLC (unless otherwise noted). All rights reserved. Search Systems ▪ Does search work well within sites or groups of sites? ▪ Do we have search that is scoped appropriately in different contexts? ▪ Are we able to search across all related content systems and provide relevant, consistent results? ▪ Are search analytics actively monitored and is search continuously tuned to improve the user experience? 16
  17. 17. All content © copyright Kwestix LLC (unless otherwise noted). All rights reserved. Linking Business Needs, User Needs & Technology Capabilities Bridging the Gap Between Business, Functional, and System Requirements and Design
  18. 18. All content © copyright Kwestix LLC (unless otherwise noted). All rights reserved. Thinking Through Architecture Business Needs •Get work done •Make money •Avoid risk User Needs •Find info when needed •Get work done •Go home Tech Capabilities •Feature A •Feature B •Feature C 18
  19. 19. All content © copyright Kwestix LLC (unless otherwise noted). All rights reserved. Tips for Architecture & Design ▪ Know the tech capabilities available to you. ▪ Creatively link business and user needs to tech capabilities. ▪ Create the simplest possible architecture: ▪ Content needs to be able to migrate some day. ▪ Business will change its structure and labels. ▪ Consider what feature will be around in 5 years. ▪ Make it super easy to use and useful—so that it gets used. ▪ Avoid customization and custom add-ons. ▪ Do what you can out of the box, and use trusted partner vendors to provide the rest. 19
  20. 20. All content © copyright Kwestix LLC (unless otherwise noted). All rights reserved. Office 365 & SharePoint Considerations Highlights and Best Practices
  21. 21. All content © copyright Kwestix LLC (unless otherwise noted). All rights reserved. So Many Apps! 21 (Apps available for E3 License, November 2018)
  22. 22. All content © copyright Kwestix LLC (unless otherwise noted). All rights reserved. This infographic and its source site is the copyrighted work of Matt Wade at icansharepoint.com | Link: http://icsh.pt/O365Table 22
  23. 23. All content © copyright Kwestix LLC (unless otherwise noted). All rights reserved. SharePoint Site Types ▪ Hub Site ▪ Communication Site ▪ Team Site ▪ Lots of legacy site types 23
  24. 24. All content © copyright Kwestix LLC (unless otherwise noted). All rights reserved. New: SharePoint Hub Sites ▪ Consistent top-level navigation ▪ Consistent branding/theme ▪ Roll-up of content and search ▪ Can be configured to show content from sites not in that hub ▪ Links between hubs can be added to their navigation ▪ Sites web part (preview of each of the sites, like at SharePoint home) 24
  25. 25. All content © copyright Kwestix LLC (unless otherwise noted). All rights reserved. Evolving SharePoint Organization Site Collection Subsite 1 Subsite 1A Subsite 1B Subsite 2 Subsite 3 25 Hub Site Site Collection 1 Site Collection 2 Site Collection 3 Site Collection 4 Site Collection 5 Before Hub Sites: With Hub Sites: New flatter structure, overcoming many of the limitations in the past.
  26. 26. All content © copyright Kwestix LLC (unless otherwise noted). All rights reserved. Components for IA ▪ Hub sites, site collections, subsites ▪ Site navigation (global, quick launch, etc.) ▪ Search ▪ Library and list columns (use lookups, managed terms, etc.) ▪ Content types ▪ Folders! ▪ Links within content ▪ Lots more 26
  27. 27. All content © copyright Kwestix LLC (unless otherwise noted). All rights reserved. Adding Teams to the Mix ▪ Confusing Bits: ▪ Teams each have their own site collection, and they are hidden from the SharePoint admin center (unless you’ve moved to the new admin preview already). ▪ Libraries within Team Channels have an option to open in SharePoint, and this can confuse users going back and forth. ▪ Tips: ▪ Teams need to be planned along with SharePoint sites so there is no confusion or duplication of functionality. ▪ Provide links between Team Channels and related (but separate) SharePoint sites or hubs—and vice versa. ▪ Keep team work in Teams, and use SharePoint for enterprise document libraries, communications, etc. 27
  28. 28. All content © copyright Kwestix LLC (unless otherwise noted). All rights reserved. Some Great Resources ▪ Official Office docs: docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office/ ▪ Official SharePoint docs: docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/ ▪ Rob Bogue: thorprojects.com ▪ Matt Wade: icansharepoint.com ▪ Joanne Klein: joannecklein.com ▪ CMSWire: www.CMSwire.com/sharepoint-office-365/ ▪ My blog: jkevinparker.com 28
  29. 29. All content © copyright Kwestix LLC (unless otherwise noted). All rights reserved. Conclusion: Keep It Simple, Make It EASY! www.kwestix.com
  30. 30. Thank you!

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