Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Taskonomy -- Where Resource Meets Resourcefulness

How does an information architect get their IP connoisseurs to feast on delectable helpings of choice information?

This morning we had an interface designer in to look at our search outputs. We showed him lots of buckets brimming with appointed rounds of patterns and hit counts that speak to the taste, smell, and texture formed by tens of thousands of documents and list items simmering in the stew pot called SharePoint.

But as orderly and configurable as each displayable facet, this designer made me realize the ball of confusion that awaits the untrained eye. No matter how complete the documentation, each bucket spills into a claustrophobic interface. Point and consider isn't quite so convincing as point and click. Every patch of white space already claimed by some rankable re-ordering of some expandable (if not expendable) subtext.

I'd like to think that we stock the best content store that any interface chef could conceivably conjure in devising the smartest possible holding tank for knowledge transfer.

I own that with equal parts frustration and pride. Pride speaks to the hard-won realization that we are not stockpiling content for the sake of collecting it. It's calibrated, populated, and ready for serving. Each artifact passes more than a knowing glance that it's intended for re-assemblages to support some new revenue-bearing endeavor.

The frustration is that our basis for action stumbles in a poorly designed interface. In fact our design is about as kludgy as our metadata is immaculate. Why are we so late to this table? Perhaps there is no rapid translation on intranets from look-and-feel to shop-and-spend? Then again we've squandered resources straying off the SharePoint reservation because of our unwelcoming and cluttered interface.

What we've executed on is metadata and the assertion that an action-based taxonomy is foundational. But the front door that swings open to users can dignify the underlying structure by exposing the proper detail at the moment of instigation -- that user becomes a producer by synthesizing those not-so-raw materials into a refined and unique deliverable.

Whether the end game is simple (the completed form is in my out-box) or glorified (IP creation), it takes the marriage of taxonomy and design to deliver a taskonomy -- that stretchable dimension between what's been conceived and what will become conceivable.

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attentionSpin is a consulting practice formed in 1990 to create, automate and apply a universal scoring system (“The Biggest Picture”) to brands, celebrities, events and policy issues in the public eye. In the Biggest Picture, attentionSpin applies the principles of market research to the process of media analytics to score the volume and nature of media coverage. The explanatory power of this research model: 1. Allows practitioners to understand the requirements for managing the quality of attention they receive 2. Shows influencers the level of authority they hold in forums where companies, office-seekers, celebrities and experts sell their visions, opinions and skills 3. Creates meaningful standards for measuring the success and failure of campaigns and their connection to marketable assets.