Ida Aalen: The Core Model

Orde Saunders' avatarPublished: by Orde Saunders

Ida Aalen (@idaaa) was speaking about modeling site structures at Responsive Day Out, these are my notes from her talk.

Thinking tool and workshop technique.

Top task survey:  What five tasks are most important to you?  Out of 79 tasks six got more than 25% of the votes.  Yet we still spend a lot of time and energy on homepages - nobody looks at the homepage!  You can spend so much time  and energy on this and the IA but it's not the best starting point, nobody came to your site to navigate it.  People won't see any other page than the one they want if they got there from Google - if it doesn't answer their question then your IA is worthless. 

Find the overlap between business goals and user tasks.  If it's not in the overlap then it probably shouldn't be on the website.  If it's in the overlap then it's a core page.  Good core pages will give you links to secondary pages.  Core pages where your users solve their tasks and you reach your objectives, create paths around core content.

Identify core page

Match business goals and user needs.  For each identify:

  1. Business goals
  2. User tasks
  3. Inward paths - how does the user get here?  How do they find this content?  Makes people think about the user.
  4. Core content - what's optimal for the user and for the organisation?  Use the information you have already to build this.
  5. Forward paths - after the user has solved their task, where do we send them?  Can focus on business goals more here, can try and lead them to what we want them to see.
  6. Prioritise using mobile - make people think about how things are prioritised on a small screen.

The core is the same on all devices.

Iterate with different sketches - paper, photoshop, and browser.  Work interdisciplinary and cross fertilise.

Being device agnostic is the right thing to do.  The device doesn't tell you anything about context.  If you care about the content then it doesn't matter what deive you are using to access it.

Something important to you but is low on user priority can be highlighted by using the forward paths.

Don't fall into the tetris trap - don't smear the content over a larger screen.  Keeping priority from small screen pays off on large screen - even if you don't think it will.  People do fill in forms on mobile, even longer forms.  Don't ever think that device tells you what people will do - your guess will be wrong.