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Designing Information Architecture with DoGo Map

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Information architecture (IA) is one of the fundamental aspects of website design. DoGo map, a new method for information architecture design, has received some discussion in the UX community recently. This method is proposed by Rob Keefer, which aims to provide a lightweight method for planning and testing a website or system before going straightforward into detailed design or prototyping. 
According to Keefer, a DoGo map is created against a particular user scenario following the steps below:
  1. Set a user scenario for the DoGo map to be created.
  2. Create a node for each page in the website (or system) that will be used to fulfill the scenario. Repeat this step iteratively until the set of nodes are relatively stable.
  3. For each node (namely, a page), create an index card for the node with the following information:
    • Name: a descriptive label for the node (page), usually a noun.
    • Reference Number: a unique number for reference purpose.
    • Input Fields: form fields required to support the actions listed in the "Do" section.
    • Do: actions that a user would do on the page (i.e. “Do”), usually a verb-noun statement.
    • Go: neighbor pages where a user would go from the page (i.e. “Go”).
  4. Create a Common card to document common functionalities, so that you do not have to write the same fields and actions on every card.
  5. Attach all the cards to a whiteboard and draw lines to connect all of the cards referenced in their respective “Go” sections.
  6. Run through user scenarios to test the overall flow of the system. Rework the cards and flows as problems or new ideas arise.

Figure 1: Example index cards for nodes in a website

Figure 2: A example of the DoGo map

Keefer spoke to InfoQ that there are symptoms of IA that has gone awry on some websites, for example: 
  • Subsites/Microsites that are poorly integrated. University websites are a classic example of this.
  • Strict hierarchy within a site. Some sites are still very hierarchical and a user has to traverse through the hierarchy to find related information.
  • Inconsistent labels and navigation across a site.
Keefer suggests that DoGo maps, which visualizes the sitemap and the flowchart of a website, provide a good basis for communication between the UX designer and other stakeholders without heavy documentation; and it is an efficient way to identify the above-mentioned problems and generate new ideas in the IA design of the whole website or system.
Some UX practitioner has reported their experience with this method. To learn more about DoGo map, please read Keefer's initial articles on UX Magazine and UXPA Magazine.

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