This article is the third in a series of ten that will help you better understand the 10 key elements of Enterprise Information Architecture. To read the previous articles and the complete table of contents in this series, please click here.
The manner in which information is presented can dramatically improve its value. Applying Information Architecture principals and techniques can afford us the ability to query and present information in many different formats thus supporting many different business contextual needs.
During the Subject Matter Expert (SME) interview process, used in the Understanding phase, formulate questions that inspire individuals to describe how they use and view information. Some information is best displayed as simple, linear lists. Other information is best displayed as charts, graphs in a dashboard and points of aggregation. During these same interviews and other assessment techniques, you can learn more about security requirements through the understanding of persona-based information access needs. Specific personas will have different visibility of information.
It has been my experience that applying techniques that simplify the storage and management of content be your initial focus. You can then aggregate that information, through specific queries, and present it in a manner that best suits the consumer persona and contextual needs.
Multiple presentation models to support varying contextual needs
- Printed reports
- Content aggregation, Scoping and Faceted Filtering
- Senior Management
- Departmental, Line-of-Business Management, Business Unit Management
As mentioned before, the interview process will provide you with a wealth of information about the consumers of information and the best manner in which to present it. Other techniques you can employ to understand presentation requirements include usability studies, wire-frame design diagrams, screen mockup’s and proof of concept or pilot projects.
Techniques for understanding how information is to be presented include:
- Interview information SME’s and consumers
- Understand how they use the information in their day-to-day business operations leads to the best approach for presenting information
- “Day in the life of” scenarios
- Usability studies
- Wire-frame diagrams
- Screen mockup’s
- Proof of Concept’s (POC’s)
In SharePoint, information is stored and managed in sites, pages, lists and libraries. Other information can be incorporated using various tools, such as Business Connectivity Services (BCS), Excel Services, custom development, etc. To gain the most value presenting this information, you then need to first apply Information Architecture techniques; categorization, grouping, metadata, etc. Once you have architected your information, it simplifies the presentation of that information.
Create content scopes (result sources) to group information for aggregate presentation and ad-hoc search. You can then utilize the new faceted filtering (refinement) features of SharePoint 2013 to refine the scoped content and produce highly relevant set of results; to support various business contextual needs.
More on this in later articles!