Designing a CMS strategy around making findable content is essential for creating a seamless user experience. In today’s digital age, users have access to an overwhelming amount of information, and as CMS specialists, it is our responsibility to make sure that our content is easily accessible and searchable. In this blog article, we will discuss how to design a CMS strategy that takes into account the different models of information seeking and how to make your content findable.
When designing a CMS strategy, it is crucial to start with people and the reason they use your product or service. Users have an information need, and our job is to make sure that they can easily find the information they are looking for. To do this, we need to understand the different models of what happens when people look for information.
The most simple model is the “too simple” information model. The user asks the question, searching occurs, and the user receives the answer. While this model is straightforward, it does not accurately represent what actually happens when people have an information need. Information needs are more complex and varied than this simple model suggests.
There are different models of information seeking based on information needs:
- Perfect catch: This model is when people are looking for the right answer, like looking for the population of a country, plain and simple.
- Lobster trapping: This model is when people are looking for more than just a single answer. For example, if you’re looking for a good hotel in Playa del Carmen, you will need to explore many pieces of information to make a decision.
- Indiscriminate driftnetting: This model is when people want to leave no stone unturned when looking for information. This approach is widely used for academic investigation.
- I’ve seen you before, Moby Dick: This model is for information that you’d prefer to never lose track of. You can tag it and keep it for further use in the future.
Understanding these models of information seeking is crucial for designing a CMS strategy that makes content findable. Here are some tips to make your content more findable:
- Organize your content: Organizing your content into clear categories and subcategories will make it easier for users to find what they are looking for. Use descriptive labels and keep the organization intuitive.
- Use search optimization: Implementing search engine optimization (SEO) techniques will help your content rank higher in search engine results, making it more visible to users.
- Use metadata: Metadata is data that describes your content, making it easier for users to find what they are looking for. Use descriptive titles, tags, and descriptions to improve the findability of your content.
- Use internal linking: Internal linking is when you link to other pages on your website. This helps users discover related content and makes it easier to navigate your website.
- Make it accessible: Ensure that your content is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. This includes using alt tags for images and providing transcripts for videos.
In conclusion, designing a CMS strategy around making findable content is crucial for creating a user-friendly experience. By understanding the different models of information-seeking and implementing techniques such as organizing content, search optimization, metadata, internal linking, and accessibility, we can make sure that our content is easily discoverable and meets the information needs of our users.
This text is based on my notes from part I of the book “Information Architecture for the Web and Beyond” by the authors: Louis Rosenfeld, Peter Morville, and Jorge Arango. O’Reilly 2015.