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Reasons for building a task-based information architecture

In 2014, following its own research and having examined findings from external experts and national public sector implementations, Europa Web Communication at DG Communication adopted a task-based approach to the architecture for the European Commission's web presence.

The principal reasons for adopting a task-based approach are as follows

  • it offers significant advantages for both external and internal colleagues working on content
  • it avoids making users think and potentially, hesitate
  • basing site architecture on content is more efficient as it avoids content duplication and unnecessary maintenance costs

The case for a task-based architecture is reinforced by findings from Europa Web Communication's own research and analysis on the task 'Funding, tenders' (see below) which show a very strong consistency in users' top tasks, regardless of audience grouping across criteria.

  • 'employment status'

  • 'workplace'

  • 'occupation'

  • 'country of residence'


Background

Additional reasons why DTT supported a task-based approach over an audience-based approach are outlined below.

Research shows that in an audience-based approach, users may

  • find it difficult to identify themselves among pre-determined audience groupings.
    Not all users will interpret audience groupings in the same way. Some users may
    not understand the groupings. Some users may identify with one or more audiences
  • feel that a particular piece of content is only for a specific user – some users may ignore information that is relevant to them and may even conclude that the information they need is not available
  • have needs that change between visits
  • question whether content under an audience grouping is for that audience or about that audience
  • question whether there is additional content elsewhere on the same subject, irritating users and reducing their trust in site content

Furthermore, in an audience-based approach, internal teams may

  • have difficulties in defining audience groupings – often, users are not easily categorised
  • find issues with duplicate and overlapping content
  • need to generate and maintain a greater volume of content
  • face increased risks and reduced efficiencies in managing and maintaining content

References

  • Why audience navigation usually doesn't work

          Gerry McGovern, 29.01.12
          http://www.gerrymcgovern.com/new-thinking/why-audience-navigation-usually- doesn%E2%80%99t-work


Contact and support

If you require further assistance, please contact:

Comm Europa Management

European Commission
DG Communication 
Unit B.3 
Europa Web Communication 

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The Europa Web Guide is the official rulebook for the European Commission's web presence, covering editorial, legal, technical, visual and contractual aspects.
All European Commission web sites must observe the rules and guidelines it contains.
Web practitioners are invited to observe its contents and keep abreast of updates. Read more.