Creating coherent user experiences across many independent data-driven sites

28 Nov 2006 - 1:12pm
926 reads
E. Miller

Hi all,

So I'm working on an intranet project for an organization providing access
to a set of in-house catalogs, research tools, and 80+ subscription-based
databases. Users run the gamut from newbies to professional researchers
within the organization. The role of the site we're working on is mostly to
provide a user-friendly gateway to the assets with as much context and help
as possible.

Federated search is available but only contains a small subset of the
assets. We have limited (read: none whatsoever) control over the assets
themselves. So right now the burden is shifted to the user to remember the
separate logins, the details of what each site contains, use conventions,
and so on.

Anyone care to share sites/projects/implementations that have worked in
similar situations?

Some ideas we've had:
-- tell 'user stories' to create a personal narrative explaining not only
what the user was looking for, but how they found it through the site
-- do a lot more with server-side personalization of the GUI
-- framesets or popup companions to provide context and research tools for
-- allow users to collaboratively annotate the gateways and paths to
information to add their perspective and tips/tricks
-- explore options like creating a Firefox extension that works as an
informational overlay across the various assets

Any other thoughts, ideas, suggestions, or links would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance.


|| Eric Miller
|| Squishymedia
|| +1 503.780.1847 | Skype: squishymedia

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