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TRIUMF | Vancouver, BC | Canada

View Blog | Read Bio

Puzzles, Physics, and a Website

— By Jennifer Kaban, Web Publishing Coordinator

While the scientists are scratching their brains, trying to figure to put the puzzle pieces of the universe together and find some order, I’m sitting here scratching my brain, trying to put the pieces together and trying to find some order in our website.

I work at TRIUMF in the communications team as the web publishing coordinator. Today, I’m starting to tackle our site’s Information Architecture – which is just the fancy way of saying how the links & pages on a website are organized. When I first started at TRIUMF, this was one of my first tasks here – Move content over from the old website (which was confusing and outdated), into our new website, in a way that made the information easy to find. I took my info architecture training, and my inherent need to find order in everything, and went to work. After talking to people, trying out different ways of organizing, looking at lots of different websites, voila!  A new, organized website!

That was 2 years ago – And since then, our website has evolved. We’ve added the ability for all of the groups at TRIUMF to have a shiny-new TRIUMF-styled website for their group (which has resulted in some of the old groups recreating their site in this new standard), and has resulted in new groups cropping up that never had a centralized presence before. It’s absolutely fantastic that this is happening – I have about 30 editors now that upkeep their websites and keep the information fresh. But… now, we just have to make sure everyone can find them.

Personally, I have also evolved and know more about how TRIUMF works – which I’m seeing is a huge part of the info architecture. You need to know how something works, to understand how people use it. As is the same with any physics lab, TRIUMF is a complicated organism, which is what makes it so interesting. I still find it fascinating that, on some level, every step of making science happens here. We have the researchers to dream up the ideas, the theorists to keep them in check (and dream up ideas), the designers and the machine shop crew to build the devices the researchers need, technicians to keep everything running, and a safety crew to make sure everything is running properly and safely. We also have the people on the other side that keep everything running: accountants, a human resources team, janitorial staff, and everyone you can think of that an organization needs to keep going.

It’s the intricacies of these groups, the overlap of them, and how they all work together to make things happen that needs to be reflected on the website. Our website has 2 tasks – to be a hub of information for people not at TRIUMF, and a useful tool for people getting things done here at TRIUMF.

All these pieces in the machinery that is TRIUMF is what makes the website a bit like a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. There is a way to make all the elements fit together, so a clear picture can emerge, but it takes some trial and error, and first off… finding all the pieces.

I’ve called together a team from different areas of our lab, and we’re going to discuss what’s missing, what works, what doesn’t, what they use most, and with this information, I’m going to start teasing out more of the intricacies, and see what we can put together.

When it’s done, it won’t be a complete puzzle as the site always keeps changing and growing—It will be more of a collage. It’s a collection of images, that put togehter on a whole, works, and can keep growing.

 

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