The IA iceberg

The information architecture iceberg

The information architecture iceberg
From: Morville, Peter and Rosenfeld, Louis (2002), Information Architecture for the World Wide Web – 2nd edition, Sebastopol: O’Reilly, p.358, Figure 18-8

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Blueprints (site-maps)

“Blueprints show the relationships between pages and other content components, and can be used to portray organization, navigation, and labeling systems. They are often referred to as “sitemaps,” and do in fact have much in common with those supplementary navigation systems. Both the diagram and the navigation system display the “shape” of the information space in overview, functioning as a condensed map for site developers and users respectively.”

From: Morville, Peter and Rosenfeld, Louis (2002), Information Architecture for the World Wide Web – 2nd edition, Sebastopol: O’Reilly, p. 272

The value of IA (checklist)

    Why good IA is worth the money:

  1. Reduces the cost of finding information
  2. Reduces the cost of finding wrong information
  3. Reduces the cost of not finding information at all
  4. Provides a competitive advantage
  5. Increases product awareness
  6. Increases sales
  7. Makes using a site a more enjoyable experience.
  8. Improves brand loyalty
  9. Reduces reliance upon documentation
  10. Reduces maintenance costs
  11. Reduces training costs
  12. Reduces staff turnover
  13. Reduces organizational upheaval
  14. Reduces organizational politicking
  15. Improves knowledge sharing
  16. Reduces duplication of effort
  17. Solidifies business strategy

From: Morville, Peter and Rosenfeld, Louis (2002), Information Architecture for the World Wide Web – 2nd edition, Sebastopol: O’Reilly, p.344-5

Architectural styleguide

“An architecture style guide is a document that explains how the site is organized, why it is organized that way, and how the architecture should be extended as the site grows. The guide should begin with documentation of the mission and vision for the site, as it’s important to understand the original goals. Continue with information about the intended audiences. Who was the site designed for? What assumptions content development policy. What types of content will and won’t be included and content development policy. What types of content will and won’t be included and why? How often will it be updated? When will it be removed? And who will be responsible for it?”

From: Morville, Peter and Rosenfeld, Louis (2002), Information Architecture for the World Wide Web – 2nd edition, Sebastopol: O’Reilly, p.302-3

Wireframes guidelines

  1. Consistency is key, especially when presenting multiple wireframes. It ensures that clients will be impressed by the professionalism of your wireframes. More importantly, colleagues take wireframes quite literally, so consistency makes their design and production work go more smoothly.
  2. Visio and other standard charting tools support background layers, allowing you to reuse navigation bars and page layouts for multiple pages throughout the site. Similarly, Visio’ s stencil feature allows you to maintain a standard library of drawing objects that can be used to describe page elements.
  3. Callouts are an effective way to provide notes about the functionality of page elements. Be sure to leave room for them at the sides and top of your wireframes.
  4. Like any other deliverable, wireframes should be usable and professionally developed. So tie your collection of wireframes together with page numbers, page titles, project titles, and last revision date.
  5. When more than one information architect is creating a project’s wireframes, be sure to establish procedures for developing, sharing, and maintaining common templates and stencils (and consider establishing a wireframe “steward”). Schedule time in your project plan for synchronizing the team’s wireframes to ensure consistent appearance and for confirming that these discrete documents do indeed fit together functionally.

From: Morville, Peter and Rosenfeld, Louis (2002), Information Architecture for the World Wide Web – 2nd edition, Sebastopol: O’Reilly, p. 288-9

Wireframes

“Blueprints can help an information architect determine where content should go and how it should be navigated within the context of a site, subsite, or collection of content. Wireframes serve a different role: they depict how an individual page should look from an architectural perspective. Wireframes
stand at the intersection of the site’s information architecture and its visual and information design.”

From: Morville, Peter and Rosenfeld, Louis (2002), Information Architecture for the World Wide Web – 2nd edition, Sebastopol: O’Reilly, p. 283

Three common information needs:

  1. The perfect catch (answers straight away, e.g. telephone numbers, facts and figures) a.k.a. ‘ known-em seeking’
  2. Lobster Trapping (you don’t know much about sth but you are interested) – You are setting out the equivalent of a lobster trap – you hope whatever ambles in will be useful. – a.k.a. ‘exploratory seeking’, typically open-ended,
  3. Indiscriminate Driftnetting (you need to know the complexity of a subject so you need every little fish…) a.k.a. ‘exhaustive research’

From: Morville, Peter and Rosenfeld, Louis (2002), Information Architecture for the World Wide Web – 2nd edition, Sebastopol: O’Reilly, p. 31

Other terms used:

Information foraging (Morville)