User Research5:49 with Dan Gorgone
If you don’t know your users, your IA will only be as good as your best guess. There are multiple ways to learn about the users of your website and app to ensure you provide an experience that’s easy for them to learn, and easy to use to accomplish goals.
5 Information Architecture Warning Signs in Your Analytics Reports, by Kathryn Whitenton and Katie Sherwin
Google Analytics Events
[MUSIC]. 0:00 Much of the work we do as a designer or developer of a website or 0:04 app is going to depend on our best judgement in experience. 0:08 The more we know about the subject of our website, the better prepared we are. 0:12 To make smart decisions about how to group the content, 0:16 or which links we should put in our main menu, for example. 0:19 But for all our insight and experience, when it comes to making good decisions 0:23 based on these IA principles, nothing is as important as understanding our users. 0:28 We rely on our users to keep us in business, so their behavior and 0:35 feedback will tell us if we're dealing with information effectively. 0:40 The way in which they visit our site, navigate it, use it and react to it. 0:44 Will show us if we've done a good job setting up information 0:50 in logical usable ways. 0:53 So how can we figure out if we're actually succeeding at this? 0:56 Well, there area multiple ways to evaluate our IA efforts, and 1:00 those will be the subjects of our next few videos. 1:05 But the first method I want to talk about is performing user research. 1:08 If your website is up and running, 1:14 one way to research your users is to check out your website analytics. 1:16 A lot of people use Google Analytics, for example. 1:21 You can look at this data, and see where users go, what they use or don't use. 1:24 Which paths they take, and 1:29 how they found your site including the keywords they used and in a search. 1:31 It might take a little time and practice to become familiar 1:36 with your analytics platform and see where all this data is. 1:39 But it can tell you what words and language your visitors use, 1:43 how they find things and what is most popular to them. 1:48 All important insight for figuring out how to organize, 1:51 prioritize, label, and set up navigation for your site. 1:55 The real opportunities for improvement are when you find categories and 1:59 links with low traffic. 2:04 Is it possible those categories are poorly named or 2:06 maybe they're just not of interest to your main audience. 2:10 Look for those poor performing links and labels and consider changes like renaming 2:13 them, or combining smaller categories together to create something more useful. 2:19 When you have data to look at, you can find these opportunities. 2:25 And we also mentioned search data, when a visitor uses a search engine 2:30 to look through your site, they're telling you exactly what they need. 2:34 These searches are huge opportunities to figure out what's missing on your site, 2:38 what's not working, and 2:43 a way to reorganize or relabel existing information. 2:45 If you find that a lot of people are searching for 2:50 things like upcoming events, or register for event. 2:52 You'll know there's an interest in a specific kind of information, so 2:57 it makes sense to prioritize it. 3:00 Or you might need to rename something, maybe you decided to call your events 3:03 meetups for some reason, but nobody can find them. 3:08 Search data can highlight issues you might have related to content labels or 3:12 organization. 3:17 Another piece of data you could look at to understand your users 3:19 is to review your social feedback. 3:23 What do your followers on Facebook or 3:26 Twitter say to you, what do they say about you to others? 3:28 What do they share, and what do they comment on? 3:32 And you don't have to stick to the regular platforms either. 3:35 If your user are on Reddit, LinkedIn, 3:38 GetHub or some other specific network, go there and monitor what they're saying. 3:40 Those social comments and conversations can show you what language or 3:45 terms your followers like to use with others in real life settings. 3:49 It can also tell you what topics are priorities to them, and what they 3:54 think is important to others because they share certain types of content. 3:59 So look for comments on your blog posts, questions in your forums, 4:03 and engagement when you post your own content. 4:07 And it can reveal important ideas about the information people want. 4:11 But if you find you're still in the dark about what people want from you when they 4:15 visit your site or use your app. 4:19 Maybe you need to reach out and ask some questions, 4:22 so user surveys can be a helpful ways to gather information. 4:25 Using a Google form or a platform like SurveyMonkey, 4:30 you can create a short survey where you ask your users questions 4:34 that are important for your information, design, and organization. 4:38 You want to ask, what kinds of content do the users find most valuable? 4:42 What topics do they wish you covered, what problems, 4:47 if any, do they have finding things on your site? 4:51 And, in general, how do they feel about the value and usefulness of your site? 4:54 With a short focused survey to your current users or subscribers, you can 5:00 get helpful insight about what's working, what's not, and how to improve it. 5:05 Getting this info straight from the people using your site is a great benefit. 5:10 So look for this various sources of data, website analytics, 5:15 search data, social feedback and user surveys. 5:21 And remember never make assumptions about what your users want or 5:25 how happy they are. 5:31 Because those ideas are unreliable and 5:32 many times we end up designing things for ourselves instead. 5:35 With actual data and feedback from real sources, 5:39 we can confirm our ideas and design the best information experience possible. 5:43
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