Those of you who get an RSS feed of this blog might have noticed it was busy over last week. This is because I pushed out 4 blog posts that showed my analysis using IBIS of a detailed linear discussion on LinkedIn. To save people getting lost in the analysis, I thought I’d quickly post a bit of an executive summary from the exercise.
To set context, Issue Mapping is a technique of visually capturing rationale. It is graphically represented using a simple, but powerful, visual structure called IBIS (Issue Based Information System). IBIS allows all elements and rationale of a conversation to be captured in a manner that can be easily reflected upon. Unlike prose, which is linear, the advantage of visually representing argument structure is it helps people to form a better mental model of the nature of a problem or issue. Even better, when captured this way, makes it significantly easier to identify emergent themes or key aspects to an issue.
What are the main three reasons users cannot find the content they were looking for on intranet?
In all, there were more than 60 responses from various people with some really valuable input. I decided that it might be an interesting experiment to capture this discussion using the IBIS notion to see if it makes it easier for people to understand the depth of the issue/discussion and reach a synthesis of root causes.
I wrote 4 posts, each building on the last, until I had covered the full conversation. For each post, I supplied an analysis of how I created the IBIS map and then exported the maps themselves. You can follow those below:
Part 1 analysis: http://www.cleverworkarounds.com/2012/01/15/why-cant-users-find-stuff-on-the-intranet-in-ibis-synthesispart-1/
Part 2 analysis: http://www.cleverworkarounds.com/2012/01/15/why-cant-users-find-stuff-on-the-intranet-an-ibis-synthesispart-2/
Part 3 analysis: http://www.cleverworkarounds.com/2012/01/16/why-cant-users-find-stuff-on-the-intranet-an-ibis-synthesispart-3/
Part 4 analysis: http://www.cleverworkarounds.com/2012/01/16/why-cant-users-find-stuff-on-the-intranet-an-ibis-synthesispart-4/
For what its worth, the summary of themes from the discussion was that there were 5 main reasons for users not finding what they are looking for on the intranet.
- Poor information architecture
- Issues with the content itself
- People and change aspects
- Inadequate governance
- Lack of user-centred design
Within these areas or “meta-themes” there were varied sub issues. These are captured in the table below.
|Poor information architecture||Issues with content||People and change aspects||Inadequate governance||Lack of user-centred design|
|Vocabulary and labelling issues
· Inconsistent vocabulary and acronyms
· Not using the vocabulary of users
· Documents have no naming convention
Lack of metadata
· Tagging does not come naturally to employees
Poor structure of data
· Organisation structure focus instead of user task focussed
· The intranet’s lazy over-reliance on search
|Old content not deleted
Too much information of little value
Duplicate or “near duplicate” content
Information does not exist or an unrecognisable form
|People with different backgrounds, language, education and bias’ all creating content
Too much “hard drive” thinking
People not knowing what they want
Lack of motivation for contributors to make information easier to use
Google inspired inflated expectations on search functionality on intranet
Adopting social media from a hype driven motivation
|Lack of governance/training around metadata and tagging
Not regularly reviewing search analytics
Poor and/or low cost search engine is deployed
Search engine is not set up properly or used to full potential
Lack of “before the fact” coordination with business communications and training
Comms and intranet don’t listen and learn from all levels of the business.
Ambiguous, under-resourced or misplaced Intranet ownership
The wrong content is being managed
There are easier alternatives available
|Content is structured according to the view of the owners rather than the audience
Not accounting for two types of visitors… task-driven and browse-based
No social aspects to search
Not making the search box available enough
A failure to offer an entry level view
Not accounting for people who do not know what they are looking for versus those who do
Not soliciting feedback from a user on a failed search about what was being looked for
So now you have seen the final output, be sure to visit the maps and analysis and read about the journey on how this table emerged. One thing is for sure, it sure took me a hell of a lot longer to write about it than to actually do it!
Thanks for reading