Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) is one of the world’s leading technology R&D institutions aiming to innovate a better future for society. Founded in 1973, ITRI has played a vital role in transforming Taiwan’s industries from labor-intensive into innovation-driven. Over the years, ITRI has incubated over 280 innovative companies, including well-known names such as UMC and TSMC. Today, it focuses on the fields of Smart Living, Quality Health, and Sustainable Environment.
Our team had a long term relationship with the growth and refinement of ITRI’s web communication strategy. Within that team, I provided user experience leadership for a large group of multilingual web sites for over 6 years.
We continuously balanced organizational and user needs, centralized resources but decentralized data collection, refined the visual and editorial voice, and moved from an engineering to a user first mind set. We were very fortunate to be guided by leadership that valued innovation, change, and constant growth. One of the results of which was the formation of one of the first user experience teams in Taiwan.
While we employed constant iteration to various aspects of the external websites, we would often find ourselves directed to cyclically perform major redesigns of the main corporate website. In this redesign we focused on improving information find-ability, enterprise design guidelines and standards, web standards, usability improvements, and implementation of an Interwoven content management solution.
I was the user experience lead, and had directly responsible for information architecture and visual design. We employed a number of different methods within our primarily waterfall development process, those included: task analysis, card sorting, wire-framing, personas, prototyping and user testing.
We used a waterfall process throughout this project, with some iterations within each stage. Some user research was done at the beginning to inform the creation of user personas, but as we weren’t agile at that time, testing was in the later stages of the process. I’ve outlined the information architecture process we used at the time in an article here.
Our design process is shown below:
To improve information find-ability, there were problems found via complaints, heuristic analysis, and testing, we relied upon: strict categorization (we had a great team of librarians), card sorting and interviews to create structures that users want to use, and task analysis. Subsequent user testing confirmed our approach.
From my presentation at the time:
At that time I spent a great deal of time sketching on whiteboards and communicating to stakeholders the value of what we were doing. We would create sitemaps, like most teams, preliminary sketches of UI and layouts, and then more finalized examples like the wireframes below.
From my brief: