Cindy Beggs

Cindy Beggs

Vice President

Cindy brings to Akendi a passion for understanding user needs and having those needs reflected in product and service excellence. With over 25 years of experience, underpinned by an honours degree in Psychology and Masters in Library Science, Cindy brings both a theoretical and practical understanding to the design and execution of user experience strategy, information architecture, research and analysis.

Along with her expertise in library and information science, Cindy has worked with large and small companies to help them organize around issues of web governance and strategy. She has conducted and taught usability testing, information architecture and the methods of user centered design as well as guided organizations to articulate their business and user goals. Cindy specializes in usability research, content strategy and bringing an experience thinking approach to corporate intranets.

Cindy has shared her expertise on user-centred design and the criticality of getting web governance in order and treating content like the valuable asset it is with many organizations from fortune 500's to non-profits.

Author Archives: Cindy Beggs

Closing Communication & Workflow Gaps with Technology

Closing Communication & Workflow Gaps with Technology

The original title I was going to give this post was:  “Better Communication or More Tools?  Pick One.”  I chose the other title because I think it’s less flippant and often when gaps in communication and workflow are addressed with technological solutions, like knowledge repositories, workflow and messaging systems, project management systems to name aRead more

Menus, Navigation, Pages, Content Structure: Which one of these things doesn’t “belong”?

Menus, Navigation, Pages, Content Structure: Which one of these things doesn’t “belong”?

I think information architecture, (IA), is a fascinating topic and an IA is a very fulfilling thing to construct.  So why is it that, during the design process, so many conversations about IA quickly turn into conversations about menus, navigation, interaction design, or worse, what the pages will look like with all those labels onRead more

How To Weed Your Garden Of Digital Content

How To Weed Your Garden Of Digital Content

When it comes to site redesign projects, we must be discriminative when choosing content.  In the library sciences world (I am a librarian) we refer to this process as ‘weeding.’ When determining which resources should stay in the library and which should go, we base our decisions on the following criteria: Currency of the resources, (howRead more

Library Science and User Experience? Makes Sense?

Library Science and User Experience? Makes Sense?

I’m a librarian and I work in the user experience, (UX), field.  From time to time when I tell people that I’m a librarian and I work in UX I see raised eyebrows, heads that turn slightly to one side, brows that furrow.  Unfortunately, I’ve also seen looks of dismissal.  Sometimes I’m asked what connectionRead more

Exploring the Design Principle of Hope

Exploring the Design Principle of Hope

This is a time of year when I have extra and renewed hope.  It’s a very happy time for me and my family where we share a sense of hopefulness and cheer. I know we’re among the very fortunate to have this hope along with a holiday to celebrate it, so what does this haveRead more

Strategy – Can a product have a vision and mission?

Strategy – Can a product have a vision and mission?

If you look around at product design processes, you find out that there are almost as many as there are products.  While some differ simply in terms of the order of the activities or stages in the product design process, others hardly appear to be describing a process at all.  Some jump from great ideaRead more

Make it “easy to use” for “tech savvy” people

Make it “easy to use” for “tech savvy” people

Have any of you heard these phrases from clients or stakeholders?  We hear these often; not always at the same time, but definitely on their own.  Along with, make it “intuitive”, they come up in conversations around user requirements and who we should be recruiting for testing or in user research and design conversations.  AndRead more

The Case for Usability Testing

The Case for Usability Testing

Every year we do lots of usability testing on products that are in various states of design and/or development. Many are already in market, and in each one we find, on average, at least 20 usability issues. Every time we do a test I’m reminded that usability testing is a wonderful thing a wonderfully misunderstoodRead more

Stellar IA: the required inputs

Stellar IA: the required inputs

If the output is to be a stellar information architecture, what are the inputs we need? Card sorting is a technique to gain insights and understanding into how users would organize the content we provide in our digital products, and what labels they would give to that content.  It uncovers users’ mental models related to the content on ourRead more

Card Sorting: A UX tactic for IA

Card Sorting: A UX tactic for IA

Often misunderstood or completely overlooked, Information Architecture is “a structural design of shared information environments” as stated by The Information Architecture Institute.  It’s what helps you understand your surroundings and navigate more efficiently – or find what you’re looking for. In the realm of user experience, there are 2 fundamental requirements for doing information architectureRead more

Mobile devices: at work and at play

Mobile devices: at work and at play

Is there a distinction between “work” technology and personal technology? The distinction is increasingly blurred as technological devices become more mobile, functional and popular. Today’s employees often use the same smart phone for both business and personal use, and a notebook computer can easily be used at the office, on the road or at home.Read more

The Art and Science of Information Architecture

The Art and Science of Information Architecture

In the context of a discussion around information architecture, (IA), definitions are fairly plentiful and even synonymous terms exist, like information design, that, depending on the context, may not mean IA in the strict sense at all.  There’s a certain irony that this lack of clarity and ambiguity exists around this topic, since in aRead more

Sorry, that wasn’t the intention

Sorry, that wasn’t the intention

As Canadians, we are well-known for apologizing for things even when they aren’t our fault. As human beings, we are often surprised when something we’ve done has had unintentional consequences, especially when these consequences are negative and brought to our attention by the person who’s been hurt. “I’m so sorry, that really wasn’t what IRead more

Beware: Concept Testing that thinks it’s Usability Testing

Beware: Concept Testing that thinks it’s Usability Testing

When we talk about user research, we’re including the narrower activity of usability testing.  Usability testing is, like all user research, qualitatively different from customer research.  The heart of it is this: customer research answers the very basic question:  why will I buy; or, for those in not for profit sector, why will I engageRead more

Member Personas: Does Your Association Use them?

Member Personas: Does Your Association Use them?

A website is more than another outbound communications channel; it is a critical business tool. For businesses it can drive sales, and profits. For associations it can drive membership, donations, engagement, and more.  To do this, you need to know the usage characteristics of those for whom the website it built – why they useRead more

Web Governance: How to peacekeep web content wars

Web Governance: How to peacekeep web content wars

“I write, therefore I own that part of the site.”  Well, not so much.  How do we align the interests of content owners, with those of the people we put in charge of our websites, on which their content sits? As a librarian who spent years working in traditional bricks and mortar libraries, that thisRead more

Governance – what is it good for?  Absolutely everything!

Governance – what is it good for? Absolutely everything!

Often in our work with organizations , where we are helping to re-design a website or scrapping an old intranet and starting over or creating a mobile version of a site, or a desktop application, we’ll end up at some point saying, “that’s a governance issue”.   So what do we mean?  Typically, governance refersRead more

A tale of two tactics: User research and customer research

A tale of two tactics: User research and customer research

To many, user research and customer research are synonymous, which is why so many organizations only do customer research.  Why are these distinct kinds of research considered to be the same? In both customer and user research we use feedback from people to inform the design and development of our products, websites, mobile apps, etc. Read more