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Thursday, February 24, 2005

Peter Van Dijck, “Audience Research” from Information Architecture for Designers

Asking good questions is just as important as coming up with answers: answers: answers close the mind, questions open it.

First, find out what business goals this new functionality is trying to support and talk to users and find our if the new functionality addresses a real user goal.

The first thing is to uncover the truth behind the question. Work on the question befor you start working on the answer.

Information architecture user research is meant to make sure the website actually works well and is easy to use, and deals the website actually works well and is way to use, and deals the website actually works well and is easy to use, and deals with goals and tasks.

Interviews are a great way to find out what your audience’s goals, priorities, and problems are. The most useful type of interviews for audience research is the one-on-one interview: you sepnd an hour or so talking in-depth with one person, and repeat this with other interviewees until you have enough information.

After the first few interviews, review them to find patterns, then focus on those in subsequent interviews. After the first round of observation, review your notes and look for patterns that will influence design.

To do card sorting, identify quotes, concepts, and ideas that you have encountered in your research, and write them down on small card or sticky notes. Sticky notes, by the way, are the information architect’s best friend.

The three search methods are ways of collecting information.

Audience analysis

A typical audience analysis presents a few types of audiences, specific information about them, and their tasks and goals.


Personas are descriptions of archetypical examples of your target audiences.

When introducing personas to a technical team, it may help to compare them to “use cease.”

Personas are a way to increase the return on investment of your user research, by providing an easy way for everyone in the team to use the results. Personas can often be reused in future stage, so creating them is an investment that keeps paying off after the first project



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