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This section provides recommendation for site acceptance and also recommendations for preparing and conducting information architecture workshop.
Recommendations for site acceptance
A IBM Web Content Manager (WCM) project can only be successful if the persons involved in the project are motivated to give their part. Often, these kinds of projects involve for the first time a wide range of job roles within an organization. Unlike many other IT or knowledge projects, a web site — whether internal or external — likely involves all parts of the organization. Organizations can underestimate the political, local, and cultural problems associated with a project of this type, and this can become the biggest challenge of the project. Therefore, it is crucial to communicate the reasons and business value of the project and to get a wide acceptance of the project for it to be successful.
One challenge constantly voiced by technical teams is the lack of site use by many of organization's staff and the lack of content contribution by the business stakeholders. We recommend a few basic actions to help build support for the web site. These recommendations are as follows.
Identifying and getting business stakeholders involved
Identify a set of business stakeholders, including the target group (not necessarily the designated intranet liaisons) to not only contribute to information architecture sessions but to provide feedback on general layout, design direction, and so forth. Ask these stakeholders to communicate within their groups, identify potential power users, and commit contributions of new content to the site. Consider leveraging the power users as beta testers of the site, both as users and content authors.
Developing discrete design directions focusing on page layout and navigation
To accommodate the broadest community of users, we recommend developing discrete design directions, focusing on page layout and navigation. Those design directions should then be presented to a focus group comprised of a cross-section of customer users. Feedback from those users provides specific direction into how the site should be designed and what content should be highlighted. A facilitator should be engaged to conduct the session (it could be a qualified person within the organization), and the session must be scripted with specific questions asked of the group.
Developing communication and enablement plan
As with any deployment of a new system, the organization should develop a communications plan to introduce the new web site. If power users are identified within the process areas, they can help provide a level of enablement and support within their groups when the new site is launched.
Part of the communication plan should include a demonstration that illustrates the site navigation. In that demonstration, very simple action settings should be enabled for demonstrating the multiple ways of providing information. Not all information access methods need to be demonstrated. Open and agreed areas should be identified and marked. In meetings with business users, demonstrations such as this require little preparation time but are effective in communicating accessibility and usability concepts.
Recommendations for preparing and conducting workshop
Organizations planning an IBM Web Content Manager project should conduct information architecture workshops with business representatives of each of the process areas over the first period. This section outlines some recommendations for preparing and conducting workshops.
Information architecture workshops require preparation in order to be effective. Prior to conducting any workshops, we recommend that organizations develop a test site with IBM Web Content Manager to gain hands-on experience with the product and to develop an understanding of the capabilities of the tool. This training helps the team to connect user requirements or wishes with the capability of the tool to support them. With that understanding, stakeholder requests that are technically complex or time consuming can be identified immediately, so that expectations can be set correctly. Alternatives can be discussed on the spot.
After a workshop is scheduled with the stakeholders of a process area, the organizations team should thoroughly review that area of the site. Site areas and a sampling of specific pieces of content should be identified and documented. Separate documented notes by content type or site area but make no additional marking on them prior to the workshop.
To reach a high acceptance, we recommend a professional preparation. Because the workshop topics can get quite challenging, you do not want to spend any time discussing topics that are related to future topics. We recommend setting up the conference room for the workshop prior to its start (for example, draw a couple of page layout grids on a whiteboard and include some of the page elements that are persistent throughout the site. In addition to the information provided here, see the following article for specific recommendations and an approach to assist a consultant in defining a WCM workshop agenda:
Guide to running a WCM Requirements Workshop (http://www-10.lotus.com/ldd/portalwiki.nsf/dx/guide-to-runninga-wcm-requirements-workshop
Conducting the workshop
Unlike a workshop with the technical team, workshops with business stakeholders should avoid technical terminology or a discussion about how the IBM Web Content Manager tool functions. A suggested approach includes:
- Introduce the goals and objectives of the workshop, and the overall IBM Web Content Manager project.
- Identify basic terms (grid, banner, header, navigator, and menu) used to produce a work product for this process area.
- Have the business stakeholders validate the site areas and content identified in the preparation.
- Group like content types together, and arrange the groupings on the whiteboard within the grid.
- Use a system of dots to identify site levels (one dot for the top, two for the next, and so forth).
- Capture the raw output of the workshop on digital camera.
The workshop outputs should include:
- A map of the process site area hierarchy, usually developed in Visio.
- Page layouts, usually drilling down two to three levels.