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Sun CIOnet

Portal Infranet Web KitSun CIOnet Directory SampleSun CIOnet Bulletin Board SampleSun CIOnet Infomation Sample
IA Information Architecture Challenge:
Map a information workspace to a navigational model for a private, secure information-sharing web application for Fortune 500 Chief Information Officers (CIOs). Neither application nor information exist yet.

IA Solution:
The user experience is unknown in all new applications. Information architecture is based on anticipated uses in such cases. This application was intended for executives sharing highly sensitive information regarding common challenges they might be facing.

We consulted extensively with the application's architect to develop the information space taxonomy. We used this to develop a navigation map, separating the anticipated information and functionality into functional sections and readied us for designing the user experience.

User Experience Challenge:
Design the user experience of a private, secure information-sharing web application for Fortune 500 CIOs. Unlike most Sun applications which were used by a broad range of extremely technical users, this application was for exclusively for executives. The exclusive use of a Sun workstation for a single application was also unusual (although we did anticipate they might surf the application is browser based). Additionally, the user was unlikely to use this system on a daily basis. A CIO, though far more technical than the average executives, lacks the tolerance for funky technical oddities and expects a much higher level of refinement than the typical Sun user (engineers and scientists who use their workstations extensively and seem readily willing to tolerate oddities for greater functionality and power).

Using the navigational model, we determined the application required a navigation metaphor and consistency of visual elements since it needs:
  • a highly refined visual design
  • visual clues to the location
  • queues to common elements such as links to other sections
The user experience could not deviate substantially from common web experience since the user too infrequent to learn the interface, so any metaphor must be readily understandable. The location of navigation elements such a locators and links must be consistent for the same reason and to convey higher quality (consistency is a trademark of quality).

Working with the application architect we determined the application required a flexible solution since it was likely to change and grow over time. This suggested a using a wrapper of header and footer reinforced with a font and color scheme. We also determined each section needed: an identifier for Sun, an identifier for the application and a sectional identifier in addition to links to the other sections. Every page must also include help consisting of a link to an about this application section and another for support.

Visual Design Challenge:
Design the look and feel for a private, secure information-sharing web application for Fortune 500 Chief Information Officers (CIOs). The application needs to be optimized for the color pallet of cutting-edge Sun workstations, sophisticated looking while being easy to use for infrequent users of the system.

We chose the dashboard of an expensive luxury car as our navigation metaphor.

We designed the CIOnet logo based on the international "Information" symbol used throughout Europe: a white "i" in a blue circle. We wanted to emphasize that I in CIO stands for Information.. We used a globe for the circle to convey the international aspect of both the tool and the job of being a CIO for a large enterprise. We used gold letters on either side of the "i" to convey refinement.

We created application encompassing header and footer graphics which also served as branding, location queue and links to other sections and help. For the header we designed a series of header graphics which included the locator banner, the Sun logo and the application logo and a series of navigation buttons.

Client: Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Application: Private, secure information-sharing web application
Users: Fortune 500 Chief Information Officers
Usage: Most users are unlikely to use this system on a daily basis.

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