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Survey 3: Software for IA
This survey was conducted in July 2006. Members of mailing lists sigia-l, IA
Institute, CHI-RESOURCES, AIGA Experience Design, firstname.lastname@example.org,
and the Yahoo! Experience Design group were invited to participate. A total
of 119 responses were collected. In this survey we asked:
- 1. Over the past 3 years, which three software products have you used
*most* to perform information architecture work?
- 2. What software, if any, have you worked with in each of the following
categories? If you've worked with several, please them list all. Skip those
categories in which you haven't worked with any software. (the categories
were: Search Engines, Collaborative Filtering Tools, Thesaurus Management
Tools, Automated Categorization Tools, Content Management Systems, Portal
or Enterprise Knowledge Platform, Web Analytics/Tracking, Diagramming, Prototyping)
- 3. What additional software categories should be on the list above, and
what actual software have you used for those categories?
- 4. Is there any other software relevant to IA you feel is important or
interesting (even if you aren't using it)?
- 5. How do you find out more about IA-related software and tools? Any websites,
books, lists, etc. you'd recommend to others?"
View the complete results: Excel
Summary of Results:
Question 1: Over the past 3 years, which three software products have
you used *most* to perform information architecture work?
117 people responded, listing a total of 336 software products.
Visio was the clear leader, with 89 mentions. Following that, standard Office
products were the most cited. Full results available on the “most used”
tab of the full results Excel file.
- 26.5%: Visio
- 11.0% Excel
- 10.1% Word
- 8.0% PowerPoint
Question 2: What software, if any, have you worked with in each of
the following categories? If you've worked with several, please list them
all. Skip those categories in which you haven't worked with any software.
The following shows the rates at which participants provided any answer at
all for the category. See the "by category" tab of the Excel file
for full, detailed results.
- 79.5%: Diagramming
- 70.9%: Prototyping
- 65.8%: Content Management Systems
- 62.4%: Web Analytics/Tracking
- 56.4%: Search Engines
- 37.6%: Portal or Enterprise Knowledge Platform
- 19.7%: Thesaurus Management Tools
- 16.2%: Automated Categorization Tools
- 8.5%: Collaborative Filtering Tools
The most reported in category was Diagramming software.
79.5% provided an answer within this category. Of those respondents, more
than half reported using Visio:
- 51.3%: Visio
- 13.5%: OmniGraffle
- 7.7%: Illustrator
- 7.1%: PowerPoint
The next most reported in category was Prototyping software.
70.9% of total respondents provided an answer. Though we didn’t ask
whether you were creating static or clickable prototypes, answers seemed to
be about evenly divided between those products that lend themselves to clickablity
and interaction (Dreamweaver and other HTML editors, Flash) and those that
lend themselves to paper prototypes (Visio, PowerPoint, Photoshop--though
we realize that these can often be made clickable as well).
- 20.1%: Dreamweaver
- 15.6%: Visio
- 7.1%: Flash, Photoshop and HTML (no specified product)
For Content Management Systems
65.8% supplied a software name:
There was a broad variety of answers for this category. We did not ask respondents
to specify the type of content management tool (enterprise vs. personal, etc),
but have grouped answers below by general type. Most recipients did not provide
product details beyond the company name.
- Of the products usually considered enterprise content management tools,
Documentum (8.4%), Interwoven (5.7%), Stellent (5.2%), Vignette (5.2%) and
Microsoft CMS (4.5%), received the most mentions.
- Of the tools that are generally associated with blogging, or smaller-scale
personal content tools, WordPress (5.2%) and Movable Type (3.2%) and we
most often mentioned.
- Of the open source tools cited, Drupal (3.9%), Plone (3.2%) and Joomla
(1.9%) and were each cited several times.
More than half of you (56.4%) provided input on Search Engine
software you’ve used. Perhaps not surprisingly, Google led the pack:
- 41.7% Google
- 25.0% Verity (now Autonomy)
No other product/company received more than a few mentions.
37.6% responded to the Portal or Enterprise Knowledge Platform
- 17.7%: Microsoft SharePoint
- 14.5%: Websphere Portal
- 8.1%: Plumtree Portal
- 6.5%: Oracle Portal
Most of you have not had experience with Thesaurus Management Tools
Automated Categorization Tools (16.2% responded) or Collaborative
Filtering Tools (8.5% responded).
- For Thesaurus Management, the clear leader was MultiTes, with 7 of
the 17 (41.2%) of the responses given.
- In Automated Categorization Tools, Endeca, Verity Profiler and xSort
received 2 to 3 mentions each
- For Collaborative Filtering Tools, Endeca and del.icio.us received multiple
Question 3: What additional software categories should be on the
list above, and what actual software have you used for those categories?
Of the responses given, some of the more frequently mentioned included:
- Usability testing (including Morae and Macromedia Captivate)
- User research (including Ethnio, MindCanvas and SurveyMonkey)
- Presentation and visualization (including PowerPoint, Photoshop, Keynote,
- Card sorting (including EZSort)
Full responses can be found on the “additional categories” tab
of the full results spreadsheet.
Question 4: Is there any other software relevant to IA you feel is
important or interesting (even if you aren't using it)?
There was quite a range of responses, from those of you who would like to
find out more about newer tools like Axure, Intuitect and iRise, to those
of you who simply want to learn more about tools that have been around a bit
longer, such as Flash, Illustrator, Photoshop and OmniGraffle.
Full responses can be found on the “interesting” tab of the full
Question 5: How do you find out more about IA-related software and
tools? Any websites, books, lists, etc. you'd recommend to others?
Not surprisingly, most of you make heavy use of internet-based resources.
A few of the more common responses:
- Mailing lists: SIGIA, IXDA, IAI, CHI, UPA
- Web sites: Boxes and Arrows, IA Wiki, Information Architecture Institute
- Conferences, books and word of mouth were other popular ways of keeping
up with IA software (and presumably other IA topics).
Full responses can be found on the “find out more” tab of the
full results spreadsheet.