ASIS&T IA Summit 2003 "Making Connections"  
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Representing Many Voices: Challenges in Government Site Design
Saturday, 2:30 - 3:00
Session Three


Anne Galloway
Representing Many Voices: Challenges in Government Site Design
Anne Galloway, Anne Galloway Consulting

This case study addresses the challenges faced in the design of a Government of Canada website mandated to connect federally-funded researchers across the social sciences and humanities with a wide selection of government departments, non-governmental organizations and industry leaders across the country.
* Representing the diversity of needs in an emerging community of content producers and site users required a similarly emergent design process. Primary challenges were best solved by "social engineering" tactics, and technological issues were quickly subsumed by larger stakeholder concerns.
* Ethnographic methods, including surveys, interviews and focus groups were applied to develop the preliminary information architecture. Face-to-face meetings of researchers and potential users, as well as testing at each stage of the site development, enabled content categories to be refined, as well as ensuring ease of usage by continually adapting the user-interface for adding and managing content.
* A high degree of user participation in the design process enabled the development of a site uniquely suited to user needs, as well as cultivating the sense of user community and content ownership necessary to ensure site maintenance and growth.

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