EuroIA 2015

Madrid, 24 – 26 September


Beyond the KPI Dashboard: Measuring the Quality of IA

A talk by Stijn Van De Vyver

In many organisations, quality of operations and performance versus objectives is reported through a management dashboard. This way of working assumes that reality can be reduced to a number or even a colour. While information architects and user experience professionals are now also asked to come up with KPIs, there isn’t a natural fit between the IA/UX disciplines and the dashboard approach. Suitable dashboard metrics, for instance, often assume a complete uniformity of context or formalised and static business processes. This presentation aims to offer practitioners actionable advice for navigating the dashboard-centered corporate performance measurement minefield.

Looking at quality or performance as concepts that can be easily measured, attributed to actions, and reported in a straightforward manner, is very much a positivist position. The only way out of the dashboard conundrum is looking beyond this positivist approach to performance measurement. An interpretivist position, for instance, will entail paying attention to the context, and embraces complexity. A realist approach, on the other hand, will ensure the changing nature of relationships and the conditions in which events unfold, are acknowledged.

Both alternatives will enable us to explore also parts of IA/UX operations that can’t be easily measured and quantified. They offer a framework for including qualitative sources and actions that aren’t represented in ready-to-use data. Real world examples will show practitioners how a much-needed correction on the currently dominant positivist approach to quality measurement can be achieved. Ultimately, this will increase visibility and relevance of IA and UX in the enterprise.

Stijn Van De Vyver

Stijn Van De Vyver is online communications manager at iMinds, a digital research center and business incubator in Flanders, Belgium. Before joining iMinds, Stijn worked for a European government agency, where his last position was team leader online communications. Prior to that he spent over 7 years with the Flemish government as web editor and policy advisor digital communications. Graduated as art historian at Ghent University, Belgium, Stijn also obtained degrees in cultural studies and digital marketing.

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