March 2013 – September 2013
Note: All work products for this project are protected under NDA. For more details, please contact me directly.
The BC Partners for Social Impact is a group of individuals and organizations in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors within British Columbia who are dedicated to promoting social innovation and social enterprise within the province and beyond. The Partners came to Number 41 Media with a dream of transforming their existing web presence into an engaging and unifying central hub for all social impact activities within the province. Number 41 Media has been working extensively with some of the key partners to design a brand new website, including a greatly expanded information architecture in alignment with the findings of stakeholder research and analysis.
As the lead researcher and sole information architect, I was responsible for all of the early stages of the design process. I designed, facilitated and reported on two stakeholder research sessions that involved participation from 15 key partners. The results of these sessions, captured in a series of stakeholder requirements and recommendations, informed the reworking and expansion of the existing information architecture to achieve the Partners’ vision for a central hub while also considering the information and service delivery needs of the entire social impact community in BC.
Equipped with poster paper, sticky notes and felt pens, I asked participants in each workshop to work both independently and collaboratively in small groups to develop the following:
- a list of user groups that make up the priority audiences for the website;
- a prioritized list of key information that each user group requires; and
- a prioritized list of key tasks the user groups should be able to accomplish using the website.
The results of these sessions clearly identified 4 primary user groups (innovators/entrepreneurs, investors, government, and academia) and their associated information and service delivery needs. These findings were captured in a research findings reports and were then used to inform the development of a series of recommendations in order to advance the project to the information architecture phase.
As I presented my research findings and recommendations, discussions with the client strongly indicated that, for a variety of reasons, it may not be possible to immediately implement every information and service delivery component that had been included in early discussions and research sessions. The concept of the website being a central hub for social innovation initiatives in BC was still the ultimate objective, but to move forward, the client and I had to assign the proposed content into the following groups: pre-existing and immediately required; not pre-existing and immediately required; and not pre-existing and not immediately required. As a result of these categories, it became obvious that, more than ever, the key ingredient for a successful information architecture was scalability. The information architecture schema that I developed and presented to the client accommodated all of the proposed content from the stakeholder research sessions but could easily be scaled back to facilitate a three-stage launch.