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.
- 'country of residence'
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
- Why audience navigation usually doesn't work
Gerry McGovern, 29.01.12
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