Organizing your feedback

Feedback Frenzy!

Disclaimer: If you’re already familiar with concepts like Card Sorting, Taxonomy, and Information Architecture, this may not be the post for you. However, if these terms are new and/or intimidating to you – read on!  I will discuss them in terms that will (hopefully) make this a pleasant and educational experience for you.

Now that you’ve conducted 1-on-1 interviews, shadowed some users, and sent out your End User Survey, it’s time to figure out what the heck to do with all of this data you’ve gathered.   It’s likely that each source of feedback generated one or more “piles” of data in a variety of formats.   Not to worry, we will collect it, organize it, and help it all make sense!

Our goal is to do the flowing, quickly (but accurately):

  • Determine what content the users want and need in the portal.
  • Classify everything!
  • Choose a Navigational layout that works (for the end users)

I will cover these topics over the next several posts.

Create a Feedback Repository:

To get started, we need to sort through all of the data that you’ve collected.   The sorting exercise I’m about to suggest will work with all three forms of feedback you read about in my previous posts (Interviews, Shadowing, and Survey).   Create a spreadsheet, database, or just an outline list (again, whatever works best for you).    List out all of the following in a table format:

  • User Name – Unless they requested anonymity, list the users’ names, so you can return to them with questions if they arise.
  • Department – Note the department of each request item, so you can later sort and spot inter and intra-departmental trends.
  • Title/Job Role – Title and Job role feedback allows you to spot trends and needs amongst common job roles.
  • Goal – Try to re-state EVERY answer to EVERY survey question as a goal.
    For example:
    User stated: I need a calendar to see company holidays, as well as my team member PTO Days.
    Goal =  Calendar with Company Holidays and Team-level PTO.
  • Category – Try to categorize each goal.  Use Open and Closed Card Sorting exercises to see how others would classify these goals.   This helps with navigation and “Findability” later.
  • Desired Location –Where does this user want to see the desired goal (or where do they want to “find it”)?  Home Page, Department Landing Page, or within 1 or 2 clicks of each?  Let them tell you where to put it.  Majority rules!

Since I like to keep things simple, feel free to see a sample of how I have done this in the past.   Don’t make this more complicated than it has to be

*Note:  This sample is provided in .xlsx format.

Create a Content Inventory

To keep things simple, (assuming you have little time, people resources, or budget) we will discuss how to create a Content Inventory.    A Content Inventory is exactly what it sounds like – it’s an inventory of all of the content that you have identified that is, or will be, in your portal.  It’s nothing fancy – just a list.

In fact, the list of “goals” you created in the previous post, Organizing your Feedback, will work just fine.  Focus on the “Goals” column of this spreadsheet or database you created and try to be consistent in the language you use to describe each goal.   The concept of this exercise is to identify repeat requests/goals and count how many times they were requested across your organization.

Popularity Contest:

The next step is to rank these goals in order of their popularity.   Take a look at your list of goals and ask yourself (or your Portal Committee) the following questions:

  1. How many times was each goal requested or repeated?
  2. With which departments were these goals most popular?
  3. How many items were identified as being needed on the Portal landing page?
  4. How many items were identified consistently as being needed on a departmental page?   How many departments were represented for this item?  In other words, which Web Parts were consistently requested on the department pages?

What you hope to come out of this exercise with is a list of the following:

  • The most popular content and feature requests (Things to start doing)
  • The most popular user content and links (things to keep doing)
  • The most prevalent user complaints (things to do better)
  • You will notice the top 10-20 potential Web Parts that can be on a page.  Specifically, you’ll need to identify those web parts that will be consistently needed across all (or the majority) of your departments.

This list, your sorting results, and your rankings will each contribute to your final set of Portal Requirements and Goals.  Keep them separated, but keep them close by.  I will show you what to do with these in future posts.

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