Unlike a building architect, I don't have a very good sense of spatial awareness, which is how Lucy and I ended up taking a rather large poster with us to the EuroIA conference in Berlin for the evening poster session! However, the large size nicely showed off the poster's Web 2.0-style shiny buttons and gradients which complement the theme of using a range of Web 2.0 social software tools to help us with our work.
The poster shows examples of the variety of tools we have been experimenting with using screenshots as illustrations. Each set of illustrations is supported by a summary of the strengths and weaknesses of the approach based on our experiences as Information Architects at Ingenta.
We review four types of tool relating to different activities:
- Flexible specification writing: Wikis
- Collaborative documentation: Writely/Writeboards
- Real-time interaction: Campfire
- Central communications hub: Basecamp
We received very positive responses to the poster and we enjoyed talking to the conference delegates about it. In particular, there was much interest in the use of the Ingenta wiki for specification writing. We have found this technique to be advantageous over Word documents in several ways: we were both able to work on the same document simultaneously and could easily keep track of the status of each page, whilst the Developers could consult the most recent version at all times and had the ability to add comments.
We were surprised by how many people did not seem to know about the other services (we reckon that about 40% hadn't heard of them) - but a lot were keen to check them out, particularly after finding out that these tools are either free (install your own wiki, or Google's Writely) or inexpensive (on average less than $50 a month). We hope that some of the delegates will find them as useful and as fun to use as we have for enhanced communication and collaboration during the IA process.
- Download PDF of "Managing IA the Web 2.0 Way" poster