A shout out for findability

10 March 2010 at 22:32 Leave a comment

A colleague pointed out Aarron Walter’s piece at A List Apart:
Findability, Orphan of the Web Design Industry

Findability does feel a little slippery – it can be misunderstood or ignored, and responsibility rarely lies in a champion. So I liked Walter’s simple definition that findability helps people:

  • find websites they seek
  • find content within websites
  • rediscover valuable content they’d found

and his focus on findability’s fundamental goal “to persistently connect your audience with the stuff you write, design and build”. All of this helps build a strong business case.

So Walter puts out a challenge to advocate findability by working with roles across digital teams to support it.

  • Project managers need to understand findability and embed it into the project life-cycle
  • Information architects to focus on content organisation, using labels and structure that makes sense to users
  • Editors to focus on great content that connects with keywords that meet users’ needs
  • Designers to provide the best cues
  • Developers to use web standards, semantic markup and accessible design
  • Usability experts to evaluate navigability and evaluate how easy the site and content is to find in search engines

All good stuff, but I found Walter dismissive of the role of search professionals (both externally facing and managing site search) and information professionals beyond IAs. Although, in an agency setting, these roles may not exist.

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Entry filed under: findability, information architecture, search, Uncategorized.

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