Information architecture procedure

Procedure

Intent and objectives

This procedure ensures integrity and consistency in the organization of information across the web presence. It clarifies the correct way to both revise existing and create new information architecture (IA) for all websites associated with RMIT. It points to further procedures and instruction to ensure consistency in the way websites are structured, labeled and navigated.

Scope

This procedure applies to all staff members who manage, create or publish content for the RMIT web presence.

Exclusions

This procedure does not apply to:

  • courseware, including scholarly work, student work and learning and teaching materials
  • websites that have no relationship to RMIT (for example, personal or private sites)
  • Google sites

Procedure steps and actions

Procedure (including Key Points)

Responsibility

Timeline

  • Content Owner
  • Web Manager
  • Digital and Customer Experience Strategy

Varies according to the scale of content and where it sits within the RMIT web presence

Revising IA on existing websites

Before planning the revisions, consider whether the website is a Primary or Secondary or Tertiary website.

  • Primary websites reach large audiences and therefore require careful information architecture design and testing.
  • Secondary and tertiary websites reach moderate or small audiences respectively, but their information architecture should still aim to support user needs.

Revising IA on Primary websites

Main website information architecture (IA) has been designed in accordance with business and user needs and validated through user testing.

Changes to the IA can be requested for either the:

  • Higher levels (Which has a relatively fixed structure)
  • Lower levels (Which allow greater flexibility).

Refer to the IA Instruction for full details and diagrammatic guidance.

Requesting high-level IA changes

High-level pages reside in a relatively fixed structure from levels 1-3 as described in the IA Instruction. Only Content Owners can authorise change requests.

1. Assess the existing IA to verify that a revision is required. Revision categories are:

1.1. Revise: Existing content is not findable due to current structure or labelling. Refer to the Usability Evaluation Instruction for website traffic and analytics guidance.

1.2. Add: New content being proposed requires IA changes. Refer to the IA Instruction to ensure that the content does not exist elsewhere. If adding a new section to the website (multiple pages) refer to also to the “Creating IA” section below.

1.3. Remove: Existing content needs to be deleted. Ensure that secondary content owners are consulted and refer also to the Deleting and Archiving Web Content Procedure.


Content Owner







Digital and Customer Experience Strategy


2. Identify and consult with any Web Managers who will be impacted by the proposed changes, and share your findings (See the IA Instruction for Content Owner details).


3. Complete the IA Change Request form, attaching any associated analysis supporting the change.

4. Submit the IA Change Request to Digital and Customer Experience Strategy. We will consult with the relevant Content Owners to confirm their endorsement.

4.1 Rejected requests: Digital and Customer Experience Strategy will provide alternate suggestions within five working days or, where required, recommendations for user testing with representative end users.

4.2 Approved requests: Digital and Customer Experience Strategy will implement the changes within five working days and updates the IA Instruction to suit.

Requesting lower-level IA changes

Lower-level pages reside in a relatively flexible structure from levels four onwards as described in the IA Instruction. Only Web Managers can authorise change requests.

5. Assess the existing IA, referring to the IA Instruction, to verify that a revision is required. Revision categories are:

i. Revise: Existing content is not findable due to current structure or labelling. Refer to the Usability Evaluation Instruction for website traffic and analytics guidance.

ii. Move: Existing content needs to be moved to reflect business changes.

iii. Add: New content being proposed requires IA changes. Refer to the IA Instruction to ensure that the content does not exist elsewhere. If adding a new section to the website (multiple pages) refer to also to the “Creating IA” section below.

iv. Remove: Existing content needs to be deleted. Ensure that content owners are consulted and refer also to the Deleting and Archiving Web Content Procedure.

6. Identify and consult with any Web Managers who will be impacted by the proposed changes, and share your findings.

7. Complete the IA Change Request form, attaching any associated analysis supporting the change.

8. Submit the IA Change Request to the Content Owner and Digital and Customer Experience Strategy for approval.

8.1 Rejected requests: Primary Content Owner and Digital and Customer Experience Strategy consult in order to provide alternate solutions.

8.2 Approved requests: Web Manager implements the changes through his/her Web Editor team. Digital and Customer Experience Strategy updates the IA Instruction to suit.

Revising IA on Secondary and Tertiary websites

Only Main website structures are specified in detail within the IA Instruction. When revising Secondary and Tertiary website structures:

9. Consider the impact of change on the audience and follow elements of the Main website process above as appropriate.

Creating IA for new websites

Before planning the creation of a new website’s IA, consider whether this site would be deemed a Primary or Secondary or Tertiary website.

  • Primary websites reach large audiences and therefore require careful information architecture design and testing.
  • Secondary and tertiary websites reach moderate or small audiences respectively, but their information architecture should still aim to support user needs.

Creating IA for Primary websites

10. Clarify user groups and primary needs

10.1 New websites: Refer to the user requirements documented within your New Website Proposal document, persona information and consider opportunities to extend knowledge with reference to the User Research Instruction.

10.2 Additions to existing websites: Refer to existing persona information and consider opportunities to extend knowledge with reference to the User Research Instruction.








Web Manager



Varies according to the project plan and scale of content

11. Clarify the content plan, listing all of the content being proposed

11.1 New websites: Refer to the content plan documented in your New Website Proposal.

11.2 Additions to existing websites: Consult with the relevant Web Managers (If needed, refer to the IA Instruction to identify Content Owners).

Digital and Customer Experience Strategy

Varies according to the project plan and scale of content

12. Draft the proposed information architecture.

12.1 New websites:

12.1.1 Draft the IA in consultation with the relevant Web Manager(s).

12.1.2 Adopt consistent labelling language with reference to the IA Instruction.

12.1.3 Draft the IA using techniques outlined in the User-Centred Design Instruction.

12.2 Additions to existing websites: As above.

13. Share the draft IA with the Content Owner for review and feedback.

14. Validate the draft IA. Use trained usability specialists (or seek advice from Digital and Customer Experience Strategy) to ensure valid and ethical results using representative end users.

14.1 New websites:

14.1.1 Test the IA using techniques outlined in the Usability Testing Instruction.

14.1.2 Assess the test results and iterate the IA as required.

14.2 Additions to existing websites: As above, with effort subject to size of project/likely audience impact.

15. Share the proposed IA with Digital and Customer Experience Strategy for review and feedback in the format of a hierarchical organisation chart (See the IA Instruction for best practice examples).

15.1 New websites: Provide feedback via your User-Centred Design Checklist, including the proposed IA as an attachment. Digital and Customer Experience Strategy will provide feedback within five working days.

15.2 Additions to existing websites: Refer to the “Revising IA” section above.

16. Implement the IA with reference to the User-Centred Design Procedure.

17. Maintain the IA with reference to the User-Centred Design Procedure.

Creating IA for Secondary and Tertiary websites

18. Clarify user groups and primary needs

18.1 New websites: Refer to the user requirements documented in your approved New Website Proposal, persona information and consider opportunities to extend knowledge with reference to the User Research Instruction.

18.2 Additions to existing websites: Refer to existing persona information and consider opportunities to extend knowledge with reference to the User Research Instruction.

19. Clarify the content plan, listing all of the content being proposed

19.1 New websites: Refer to the content plan documented in your approved New Website Proposal.

19.2 Additions to existing websites: Consult with the appropriate web managers.

20. Draft the proposed IA.

20.1 New websites:

20.1.1 Draft the IA in consultation with the relevant Web Manager(s).

20.1.2 Adopt consistent labelling language with reference to the IA Instruction.

20.1.3 Draft the IA using techniques outlined in the User-Centred Design Instruction.

20.2 Additions to existing websites: As above.

21. Share the draft IA with the Content Owner for review and feedback.

22. Validate the draft IA where resources allow. Use trained usability specialists to ensure valid and ethical results using representative end users.

22.1 New websites:

22.1.1 Test the IA using techniques outlined in the Usability Testing Instruction.

22.1.2 Assess the test results and iterate the IA as required.

22.2 Additions to existing websites: As above, depending on scale or degree of audience impact.

23. Implement the IA with reference to the User-Centred Design Procedure.

24. Maintain the IA with reference to the User-Centred Design Procedure.

[Next: Supporting documents and information]