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What we learned in Singapore

11 March 2015
By Chris Gift


In my previous post, ahead of ICANN52 in Singapore, I asked that the ICANN community took the opportunity to let me know what it was that they needed ICANN's Digital Services to deliver. And I'm happy to report that many of you did.

Those conversations have helped make the central themes clearer: how we can find the information we need, reduce the workload for everyone, and ease the burdens of administration - and by extension mitigate the issue of volunteer burnout. Within these themes I heard resoundingly positive feedback on some specific project requests:

  • Improved information access on ICANN.org and across the ICANN ecosystem - put simply, make stuff easier to find;
  • Refine ICANN.org content concerning the ICANN structure and groups - make stuff easier to understand;
  • Help funnel people from ICANN.org to the group(s) that best represents their interests - make the user journey better reflect user needs;
  • Investigate stakeholder and constituency membership management to alleviate administrative chores - give the community better tools;
  • Provide support for improving stakeholder group and constituency websites and digital outreach - make communication easier for the communities.

This is a considerable list and with some we can make rapid progress while others, such as information access, will take longer due to the magnitude of the problem.

In the immediate future, we'll be looking at the following:

  • Enabling users to more easily access information is a longer job because we first have to do a better job of organizing it, especially that which is in document form. This means document and publication standards both for  staff and the community need to share common elements and approaches to numbering, titling, versioning, metadata, and so on. To help in this area we're looking to bring in further expertise and we're searching for a librarian or information scientist.
  • At the same time we're also looking to improve the ICANN.org landing page to enhance information search, and prompting more logical user journeys. Look for wireframes and beta tests within the next few months.
  • We are also looking to add new pages and content to ICANN.org to better explain our structure and help people find their appropriate groups - which builds on the work we've been doing for sometime to improve the 'onboarding' process. Again, look for wireframe ideas and beta tests of new pages within the coming months. I need not remind you that all feedback on wireframes and beta tests are not only welcome, but much needed as well.
  • We are working with the Non-Commercial Stakeholder Group (NCSG) to explore new ideas for a stakeholder group administrative management. For the moment, this will be a  beta for the NCSG only, but we'll open the model up, if it works.

All of these projects are intended to improve the way people find and file information digitally within the ICANN universe. If we make that a more logical process, then work will be efficient and the pressures we put upon our community and volunteers will be eased. Which is, in part at least, the point of what we do.

To get a flavour of the approach we're favouring, have a look at the 'alpha' version of a new ALAC site. We're tried to address the problems of information accessibility, working collaboration and functionality in this site. I'd be fascinated to hear if you think we've succeeded (and, as ever, your continued feedback on this and every project is vital).

As we scope out the future projects that can fulfil these needs, I'll keep you informed on progress, and so that you can tell me where we're taking a wrong turn - and even tell us where we're getting it right.


Chris Gift

Chris Gift