lost in wiki space
By mprove on Jul 07, 2008
Our team had a discussion yesterday on introducing a team wiki, followed by a traditional website vs wiki discussion.During the brainstorming one team member commented that when we communicate with our internal audience, when that audience is coming to our information source (wiki or website), the way that the information is presented (look and feel, lay-out, ...) is very important. [...]
sure layout matters. But group communication methods matter as well. And -- even if I don't like it -- wikis are far easier to edit than web sites. The lower the barrier the more likely it is that your team contributes to the common information pool. And this is what should count for more than 50%.
But you should also take care for visitors, people who want to find out e.g. what your team is working on. Wikis have a simple navigation, i.e. all pages are equal. I would hardly refer to this as a proper information architecture. You need more structure, global layout, landmarks, home pages, site maps, concept images than wikis provide out of the box. (Well, I should mention mediawiki.org, that allows to assign categories and has hierarchical pages and templates, at least.) Because of the lack of these general layout properties, people are far more easily lost in wiki space than they are already in web space. You cannot assume that they are familiar with your wiki system, and that they are willing to spend much time to find the answers they are looking for.
To sum it up -- use the wiki as a communication medium for your team but do not expect that this is sufficient to communicate with the world. Use a website, blogs, e-mails that provide the context and link to the wiki for the latest information on the subject.