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Information System

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Information Architecture

Slides based on content of: Morville, P., & Rosenfeld, L. (2007). Information Architecture for the World Wide Web (3rd ed.). Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly.

Architecture Metaphor

Architecture Metaphor

Architecture Metaphor

Architecture Metaphor
• A good architecture is
– Functional
– Appealing
– Enduring

Conceptualizing IA
• Information architecture is the architecture of information spaces
– Conceptualize information as a set of physical objects – Conceptualize information space as the physical space in which these objects reside
– Information architecture is the architecture of this information space

Lin, J. 2008. Introduction: What is Information Architecture? Available online at IA Examples

IA Examples

IA Examples

IA Examples

IA for the WWW
• Information Architecture
1. The structural design of shared information environments. 2. The combination of organization, labeling, search, and navigation systems within web sites and intranets. 3. The art and science of shaping information products and experiences to support usability and findability.
4. An emerging discipline and community of practice focused on bringing principles of design and architecture to the digital landscape.

• Information
– Web sites
– Documents
– Software applications
– Images
– Metadata
• Terms used to describe and represent objects such as documents, people, processes and organizations

IA Concepts
Structuring, organizing, and labeling
• Structuring
– Determining the appropriate level of granularity for the information
– Deciding how to relate pieces of information to each other • Organizing
– Grouping those components into useful categories

• Labeling
– What to call those categories and the links that connect them

IA Concepts
Finding and managing
• Findability
– Can users find what they are looking for through browsing, searching and asking

• Managing
– Balancing needs of users with goals of organization – Clear policies and procedures

IA Concepts
• Art and science
– Some scientific components to information architecture, but lots of ambiguity and complexity
– Information architects rely on experience, intuition and creativity—the “art” aspects of the discipline IA is NOT…
• What ISN’T Information Architecture?
– Graphic design
– Software development
– Usability engineering

Who Cares?
• Why is it important?
– Cost of finding information
– Cost of not finding information
– Value of education
– Cost of construction
– Cost of maintenance
– Cost of training
– Value of brand

IA Components
• Context
– Organizational mission, goals, strategy, staff, processes and procedures, infrastructure, budget, culture – Each organization’s information architecture should be unique
– Key to success: Understanding and Alignment
• Understand business context
• Align information architecture with context

IA Components
• Content
– Includes documents, applications, services, schema and metadata
– Key concepts


IA Components
• Users
– Who uses the site?
– How do they use the site?
– What info do they want from the site?

Focus on User Needs
• User information needs
– Known-item seeking
• Looking for the right answer

– Exploratory seeking
• Not looking for specific answer, rather pieces of information on a topic that are useful

– Exhaustive research
• Looking for every piece of information on a topic

– Need it again…
• Social tagging with the expectation of refindability

Information Seeking Behavior
• Information seeking behaviors
– Searching, browsing and asking
– Integration
– Iteration

Information Seeking Behavior
• “Berry-picking model”
– Start with info need
– Formulate request (query)
– Move iteratively through the information system
– Modify info requests based on feedback

Information Seeking Behavior
• “Pearl-growing” approach
– Start with one or two good documents, seek out more like that one

• “Two-step” approach
– Search through intranet until promising subsites are found, then look for info in those subsites

Eliciting User Behavior
• How do I find out info needs and seeking behaviors? – Search analytics
• Review most common search queries

– Contextual inquiry
• Observe how users interact with system

– Other methods include task analysis, surveys, and focus groups

IA Components
• Organizational systems
– Content categories

• Navigation systems
– Help users move through content
• Staff directory
• Go quickly to

• Search systems
– Allow content searching

• Labeling systems
– Should describe content in language that is meaningful IA Components
Navigation system
Search system
Navigation system

Organization system

Top-down Approach
• Who uses the site
• What are their information needs?
• Site tries to identify common needs and is structured to quickly meet those needs
– This is called top-down information architecture

Bottom-up Approach
• Uses searching and browsing to allow user questions to rise to the surface
• Important because users likely to bypass topdown architecture
• Examples: Flickr, delicious

Bottom-up Approach

Bottom-up Approach

Organization Systems
• Organization systems components:
– Organization schemes
• Defines shared characteristics of content items and influences the grouping of those items

– Organization structures
• Defines relationship between content items and groups

Exact Schemes
• Organization schemes
– Exact organization schemes
• Info divided into well defined mutually exclusive sections • Require user to know exactly what he or she is looking for (known-item searching)

Exact Schemes: Alphabetical

Exact Schemes: Chronological

Exact Schemes: Geographical

Ambiguous Organization Schemes
• Information in categories that defy definition
• Information grouped in intellectually meaningful ways
• Difficult to design and maintain
• Can be difficult to use
• Often more important and useful than exact schemes – Users don’t always know what they are looking for

Ambiguous Organization Schemes:
• Information organized by subject
• Important to define breadth of coverage
– Defines universe of content users can expect to find on the site

• Few websites organized by topic alone

Organization by Topic

Ambiguous Organization Schemes:
• Organize content into processes, functions or tasks • Most commonly used in e-commerce
• Also used in intranets/extranets

Organization by Task

Ambiguous Organization Schemes:
• Organizing information by relating it to something the user already understands
– Metaphor must be familiar to users
– Can be limiting
– Probably best used only in a niche role

Ambiguous Organization Schemes:
• Confusion often results when different scheme types are grouped together on the same page
• Hybrids can work when the scheme types are separated, for example eBay (task and topic)
• Shallow hybrid schemes okay, deep hybrid schemes are not
– Issues with scalability

Confusing Hybrid

Audience orientred Metaphorical

Effective Hybrid

Organization Structures
• The structure of information on a site determines the way in which users navigate
• Major structures for web sites include:
– Hierarchy
– Database-oriented
– Hypertext


Simple, familiar
Good place to start IA process
Allows us to quickly grasp scope
Hierarchical categories are mutually exclusive
Hierarchy concepts
– Breadth
• Number of options at each level of hierarchy

– Depth
• Number of levels in the hierarchy


(M&R, p.71)

• Breadth is limited by human cognitive capacity
– Don’t overload your users

• Be even more conservative with depth
– If users have to navigate too deep into the site they might just give up the search

• For new websites that will grow use broadand-shallow rather than narrow-and-deep
– Easier to add to secondary levels

Database Model
• Most use relational databases

• Relational database concepts
• Relation (table)
• Attribute
• Key
Image from:

Database Model
• Why is this important?
• Metadata
– Links IA to the design of the database schema
– By tagging documents with metadata we enable searching, browsing

• Highly nonlinear
• Two components
– Information pieces
– Links between information pieces

• Lots of complexity- easy to get lost
• Reflects highly personal associations
• Rarely used by itself, often complements hierarchy or database model

Social Classification
• User content creation and classification
– Flickr

• Free tagging
– Users tag objects with keywords

Labeling Systems
• Goal of label is to efficiently communicate information • Why is it important?
– No communication feedback on web site
– Labels must speak same language as users and reflect site content

Labeling Systems
• Types of textual labels
– Contextual links
• Hyperlinks to information in other locations

– Headings
• Labels that describe content

– Navigation system choices
• Labels representing site navigation options

– Index terms
• Keywords, tags used for searching or browsing

Designing Effective Labels
• Narrow scope
• Be consistent with
– Style
– Presentation
– Syntax
– Granularity
– Comprehensiveness
– Audience

Designing Effective Labels
• Find existing controlled vocabularies and thesauri to use in labeling systems and to index content
– Taxonomy Warehouse
– ThesauriOnline
– Controlled vocabularies
– Web Thesaurus Compendium

Designing Effective Labels
• What if there is no existing labeling system?

Content analysis
Content authors
User advocates and subject matter experts
Directly from users
• Card sorting
• Free-listing

– Indirectly from users
• Search-log analysis
• Tag analysis

Navigation Systems
• Two types of navigation systems
– Embedded navigation systems
• Integrated with content bearing pages

– Supplemental navigation systems
• Outside content bearing pages

Embedded Navigation

Supplemental Navigation

Embedded Navigation
• Global Navigation Systems
– Present on every page
– Usually navigation bar at top of page
– Big impact on usability

• Local Navigation Systems
– Not necessarily uniform throughout the site
• Can be a problem

• Contextual Navigation
– Supports associative learning, (I.e. “see also…”)
– Done well, they add flexibility
– Done poorly they add confusion

Embedded Navigation
Global Navigation

Local Navigation

Embedded Navigation

Contextual Navigation

Supplemental Navigation
• Sitemaps
– Top few levels of info hierarchy
– Broad view of content
– Best for sites that are hierarchically organized
– Useful to search engines
– Reinforces hierarchy of web site

Supplemental Navigation

Supplemental Navigation
• Site Index
– Like index in the back of book
– Flat
– Need to determine level of granularity

Supplemental Navigation

Supplemental Navigation
• Guides
– Tours, tutorials
– Introduce new users to site
– Useful marketing tools
– Usually linear navigation with screenshots

Supplemental Navigation

Supplemental Navigation
• Wizards and Configurators
– Special class of guides that help users to configure products or navigate complex decision trees

Supplemental Navigation

Supplemental Navigation
• Search
– Supports specificity in info seeking
– More said on this topic later…

Advanced Navigation
• Personalization
– Pages tailored to user based upon model of needs or preferences – Ex.

• Customization
– User has direct control of presentation/navigation/content – Ex. My Yahoo!

• Can play important but limited roles
• Require solid organization/structure to build on
• Very difficult to make work well

Advanced Navigation
• Visualization
– Unproven navigation technique
– Ex. Grokker

• Social Navigation
– Ex. Flickr tag clouds
– Ex. “Most popular” articles from NY Times

Search Systems
• Do you want to make your site searchable?
– Not always worth doing
– Other ways to find information
• Browsing

– Several questions to ask yourself when making the decision Search Systems
• Do I need to integrate search?
– Does your site have enough content?
– Will investing in search systems divert resources from more useful navigation systems?
– Do you have the time and know-how to optimize your site’s search system?
– Are there better alternatives?
– Will your site’s users bother to search?

Search Systems
• When does search help?
– Search helps when you have too much information to browse
– Search helps fragmented sites
– Search is a learning tool
– Search should be there because users expect it to be there
– Search can tame dynamism

Search Systems
• Searching is a complicated process
– Search applications index content on site
• How much
• What parts
– Full text?
– Titles, controlled vocab terms

– Processing user input into machine-understandable request
– Ranking results
– Interfaces
• For queries
• For results

– Variation in query language
• Boolean operators
• Query builders
– Spell checkers

Search Systems
• Choosing what to search
– Indexing everything often doesn’t serve users well
• Often returns irrelevant information

– Can overcome this by implementing search zones
• Narrowed pockets of content

Search Systems
• Search zones
– Subsets of a web site that have been indexes separately from the rest of the content
– Focuses on users’ specific needs
– Fewer but more relevant search results returned
– These can be the basis of search zones:

Content type

Search Systems
Topical Search Zone

Search Systems
• Selecting content to index
– Searching specific components of documents helps users retrieve precise results
• Can exclude irrelevant content like advertising, navigation options
• Can make format of search results more meaningful

Search Systems
Searchable Content Components

Search Systems
• Search algorithms: Pattern matching
– Compare user’s query with an index of the full text of your site’s documents looking for the same string of text
– Once match is found, that document is added to retrieval set
– Two key aspects of pattern matching algorithms
• Recall
• Precision

Search Systems
• Recall = # of relevant documents retrieved / # of relevant documents in collection
– When doing lit review in academia
– Due diligence in business
– Basically, when you want every piece of information on a topic you want high recall

Search Systems
• Precision = # relevant documents retrieved / # total documents in collection
– Looking for a few really good sources
• Lower precision levels are more precise

– Just looking for one good-enough answer

• There is a tradeoff between recall and precision Search Systems
• Query builders
– Tools to soup up a query’s performance

Phonetic tools
Stemming tools
Natural language processing tools
Controlled vocabulary and thesauri

Search Systems

Search Systems
Phonetic tools

Search Systems


Search Systems

Natural language processing

Search Systems
• Presenting search results
– Which content components to display for each document – How to list or group those results

Search Systems
• Which content components to display
– Display less info to users who know what they are looking for and more to those who don’t
– Users who are clear
• Representational content components
– Product name, price

– Users who aren’t clear
• Descriptive content components
– Product name, manufacturer, price, description, ratings

– Consider users’ most likely needs before setting defaults
– Also depends on the number of results likely to be returned Search Systems
• How many documents to display
– If lots of info is returned for each document found, then you want to display relatively few documents
– Also dependent on users’ technology
• Monitor resolution
• Connectivity speed
• Browser settings

– Good idea to…
• Inform users how many results were found
• Provide a results navigation system

Search Systems
• How to list search results
– Sorting
• Most helpful to users who are looking to make a decision or take an action

– Ranking
• More useful when there is a need to understand information or learn something (i.e. relevance)

Search Systems

Listing by sorting

Search Systems
• Sorting by
– Alphabet
• Just about any content can be sorted alphabetically
• Omit articles, “a”, “the”

– Chronology
• Most appropriate for time-sensitive content

Search Systems
• Ranking by relevance
– How many of the query’s terms occur in the retrieved document
– How frequently those terms occur in the document – How close together those terms occur
– Where the terms occur
– The popularity of the document where the query terms occur

Search Systems
• Ranking by popularity
– Ex. Google
• Results are ranked by how many links there are to a retrieved document
• Also factors in the quality of those links
– Links from sites that receive many other links are more important • PageRank

– More feasible for large sites with richer sets of links Search Systems
• Ranking by users’ or experts’ ratings
– Ex. Digg
• Users vote on the pages submitted by other users
• Most sites don’t have a sufficient volume of users to employ this approach effectively

Search Systems
• Ranking by pay-for-placement
– Sites bid for right to be ranked higher
• Yahoo! Is prominent example

– Used if your site aggregates information from multiple vendors

Search Systems
• What do users do with results?
– Printing, emailing or saving
• Printing
– Printer friendly version

• Email
– Email this document

– Selecting a subset of results
• Mark documents you like and retrieve them later
– Ex. Shopping cart

– Saving a search
• When you are interested in the search itself, not the results
– RSS feeds, Google Alert service

Search Systems
• Search interface things to consider
– Level of searching expertise and motivation
– Type of information need
– Type of information being searched
– Amount of information being searched

Search Systems
• Techniques to help users succeed in the search process – Repeat search results in page
– Explain where the results come from
– Explain what the user did
– Integrate searching with browsing

Search Systems

Integrate with browsing

Repeat results in search page

Explain where results come from

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...1. Compare and contrast the application of information technology (IT) to optimize police departments’ performance to reduce crime versus random patrols of the streets. 2. Describe how COMPSTAT, as an information system (IS), implements the four (4) basic IS functions: 1. Input 2. Processing 3. Output 4. Feedback 3. Determine how information systems have allowed police departments that implement tools such as COMPSTAT to respond to crime faster. 4. Apply the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis (SWOT analysis) on behalf of police departments that intend to implement predictive policing. 5. Use at least three (3) quality resources in this assignment. Note: Wikipedia and similar Websites do not qualify as quality resources. You may use the resources above or others of your choosing Predictive Policing | Information Technology, or IT, is the study, design, creation, utilization, support, and management of computer-based information systems, especially software applications and computer hardware. Information technology is not limited solely to computers, but other devices such as mobile phones, PDAs and other handheld devices. The field of IT is quickly moving from compartmentalized computer-focused areas to other forms of mobile technology.("Information Technology," 2011) Over the last decade, computer and telecommunications technologies have developed at a surprising rate. Increased......

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Information Systems

...0965944 Information Systems A consultancy report of Aalsmeer Flower Auction. Submitted to Ian Durling. Submitted by 0965944. Words 2919. 0965944 Contents 1.0 Introduction 1.1 Information Technology and Information Systems 1.2 Organisation chart of Aalsmeer Flower Auction 1.3 Business Environment 1.4 Swot Analysis of Aalsmeer Flower Auction 1.5 Pest Analysis of Aalsmeer Flower Auction 1.6 Porters Five Force Analysis 1.7 The Value Chain 1.8 Enterprise Application Architecture 2.0 Design Methodology 3.0 Dimensions of Information Systems 4.0 Conclusion 0965944 1 1.Introduction Aalsmeer Flower Auction, located in the Netherlands is the biggest flower auction of the world. It offers global growers, wholesalers and exporters a central place for the buying and selling of floricultural products with a range of marketing channels, facilities for growers, buyers and logistics. Every phase of the trade of flowers is managed in the Netherlands, pricing, packaging, distribution and quality control. Most of the flowers come from the Netherlands also Spain, Israel and Kenya among others. (Boonstra A & Van Dantzig,06 pg2). This has made AFA a prominent link in the International Chain of the flower auction market. New developments in the auction market has threatened the comfortable position of AFA. E-Networks the emergence of alternative electronically driven flower markets. Mergers and acquisition......

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Information Systems

...1. How do information systems projects get started in organizations? In order for Jim to initiate the project, he must first determine the size, scope, and resource requirements for the project. Information systems projects are started in organizations by first establishing the project initiation team. This activity involves organizing an initial core of project team members to assist in accomplishing the project initiation activities.  The project initiation team establishes the project initiation plan. This step defines the activities required to organize the initiation team while it is working to define the scope of the project. In order to have an organized approach or process, you must analyze what’s going on; then design a solution to the problem; and finally monitor and control. 2. How are organizational information systems related to company strategy? How does strategy affect the information systems a company develops and uses? The organizational information system is related to company strategy because it exists to help organizations achieve their goals and objectives. It is also determined by it competitive strategy. Strategy affects the information system because there are information services resources that apply to a strategic business opportunity in such way the computer systems have an impact on the organizations products and business operations.  4. What do you think Jim’s next step should be? Jim’s next step should be to create an information team......

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