[Web4lib] I vote for task oriented

Sharon Knieper sharonknieper at gmail.com
Mon Nov 29 14:57:37 EST 2010


I want to put in a vote for task oriented as well. Often times when I
approach a site organized by audience I have to stop and think which
audience my task is appropriate for and then proceed from that point. Users
don't usually start with the 'I am __X___' thoughts, they start with 'I am
trying to do ___X___'. They are scanning the navigation for 'how do I do
___X___.'  I hate those situations where I'm not clearly one of the
identified audiences and I have to decide where my task is located - I
usually end up looking for a site map or going straight to search. I'm sure
there are situations where audience based is superior, like when there are
only a few, clearly, non-overlapping audiences, but in this case my gut
feeling is that its better to rely primarily on a task based IA and
supplement with audience based guides. In library/academic settings users
often have more than 'role' - like the graduate student who is both a
student researcher and a teacher assistant - and audience based navigation
can get confusing quick.

Do you have the opportunity to do some testing with your users? If you do
this sounds like the perfect opportunity to mock up a few simple prototypes
and let the data be the judge.


Message: 3
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2010 09:03:50 -0500
From: Adelle Frank <adellefrank at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Web4lib] Academic Library Information Architecture
To: web4lib at webjunction.org
       <AANLkTi=x7LOhd4ncUezAoXLBSXw4iEt0jf2YPmoRjqSq at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

Hi, Chris:

This may go without saying, but I'm going to say it anyway (must be the OCD
typing).  I think it would make the most sense to have a logical
architecture for the folder/directory structure (so that it's easier to
analyze usage, and easier to expand in the future).  This could be a
combination of task-oriented and content-type (such as a subdirectory
specifically to contain databases). Regardless, it should be the foundation
of your site organization, so that each piece of content has one specific
place to live.

In my humble opinion, audience navigation is important, but should be
supplemental (since much of your content will be relevant to multiple

Just my 2 cents,

Adelle Frank
Emory College

On Thu, Nov 25, 2010 at 12:00 PM, <web4lib-request at webjunction.org> wrote:
> ------------------------------
> Date: Wed, 24 Nov 2010 14:24:09 -0600
> From: c <cbpurcell at gmail.com>
> Subject: [Web4lib] Academic Library Information Architecture
> To: web4lib <web4lib at webjunction.org>
> Message-ID:
>        <AANLkTinwfGtaqH0JDAp7Npvf1-R-pLGVjad++_fiukE3 at mail.gmail.com<AANLkTinwfGtaqH0JDAp7Npvf1-R-pLGVjad%2B%2B_fiukE3 at mail.gmail.com>
<AANLkTinwfGtaqH0JDAp7Npvf1-R-pLGVjad%2B%2B_fiukE3 at mail.gmail.com<AANLkTinwfGtaqH0JDAp7Npvf1-R-pLGVjad%252B%252B_fiukE3 at mail.gmail.com>
> >
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
> My library is gearing up to redesign our library sites and in preparation
> for that I am trying to gather information on different ways that
> choose to organize their content from an Information Architecture/
> hierarchical standpoint.
> Most library sites seem to approach IA from either a community/user group
> based mindset, or a task oriented approach.
> Task oriented sites seem to focus on what are the overarching tasks for
> library users and structure their information below those tasks.  These
> sites tend to present primary choices of  finding materials, deeper
> research
> and services & collections.
> The community/user group approach initially breaks up information based on
> which group it is relevant to. It presents visitors with options of
> with content aimed at Graduate Student, Undergraduate, Faculty and
> and then largely provides a task oriented grouping of information that
> feel is appropriate to the selected group.
> Both approaches commonly include an about us category and a category
> dealing
> with ways to get help and contact librarians.
> Are there other approaches out there? Has anyone come across any sites
> have a different fundamental architecture to how they understand and
> structure the information and resources on their site?
> Thanks,
> Chris Purcell

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