Cover image for Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, Second Edition

Book description

Today's web sites have moved far beyond "brochureware." They are larger and more complex, have great strategic value to their sponsors, and their users are busier and less forgiving. Designers, information architects, and web site managers are required to juggle vast amounts of information, frequent changes, new technologies, and sometimes even multiple objectives, making some web sites look like a fast-growing but poorly planned city-roads everywhere, but impossible to navigate. Well-planned information architecture has never been as essential as it is now. Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, 2nd Edition, shows you how to blend aesthetics and mechanics for distinctive, cohesive web sites that work. Most books on web development concentrate on either the graphics or the technical issues of a site. This book focuses on the framework that holds the two together. This edition contains more than 75% new material. You'll find updated chapters on organization, labeling, navigation, and searching; and a new chapter on thesauri, controlled vocabularies and metadata will help you understand the interconnectedness of these systems. The authors have expanded the methodology chapters to include a more interdisciplinary collection of tools and techniques. They've also complemented the top-down strategies of the first edition with bottom-up approaches that enable distributed, emergent solutions. A whole new section addresses the opportunities and challenges of practicing information architecture, while another section discusses how that work impacts and is influenced by the broader organizational context. New case studies provide models for creating enterprise intranet portals and online communities. Finally, you'll find pointers to a wealth of essential information architecture resources, many of which did not exist a few years ago. By applying the principles outlined in this completely updated classic, you'll build web sites and intranets that are easier to navigate and appealing to your users, as well as scalable and simple to maintain. Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, 2nd Edition is a treasure trove of ideas and practical advice for anyone involved in building or maintaining a large, complex web site or intranet.

Table of Contents

  1. Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, 2nd Edition
    1. Foreword
    2. Preface
      1. What’s New in the Second Edition
      2. Organization of This Book
      3. Audience for This Book
      4. Conventions for This Book
      5. Contacting the Authors
      6. Contacting O’Reilly
      7. Acknowledgments
    3. I. Introducing Information Architecture
      1. 1. Defining Information Architecture
        1. A Definition
        2. Tablets, Scrolls, Books, and Libraries
        3. Explaining IA to Others
        4. What Isn’t Information Architecture?
        5. Why Information Architecture Matters
        6. Bringing Our Work to Life
      2. 2. Practicing Information Architecture
        1. Do We Need Information Architects?
        2. Who’s Qualified to Practice Information Architecture?
          1. Disciplinary Backgrounds
          2. Innies and Outies
          3. Innovative Thinkers
          4. Putting It All Together
        3. Information Architecture Specialists
        4. Practicing Information Architecture in the Real World
        5. Information Ecologies
          1. Context
          2. Content
          3. Users
        6. What Lies Ahead
      3. 3. User Needs and Behaviors
        1. The “Too-Simple” Information Model
        2. Information Needs
        3. Information Seeking Behaviors
    4. II. Basic Principles of Information Architecture
      1. 4. The Anatomy of an Information Architecture
        1. Visualizing Information Architecture
        2. Information Architecture Components
          1. Browsing Aids
          2. Search Aids
          3. Content and Tasks
          4. “Invisible” Components
      2. 5. Organization Systems
        1. Challenges of Organizing Information
          1. Ambiguity
          2. Heterogeneity
          3. Differences in Perspectives
          4. Internal Politics
        2. Organizing Web Sites and Intranets
        3. Organization Schemes
          1. Exact Organization Schemes
            1. Alphabetical
            2. Chronological
            3. Geographical
          2. Ambiguous Organization Schemes
            1. Topic
            2. Task
            3. Audience
            4. Metaphor
            5. Hybrids
        4. Organization Structures
          1. The Hierarchy: A Top-Down Approach
            1. Designing taxonomies
          2. The Database Model: A Bottom-Up Approach
          3. Hypertext
        5. Creating Cohesive Organization Systems
      3. 6. Labeling Systems
        1. Why You Should Care About Labeling
        2. Varieties of Labels
          1. Labels as Contextual Links
          2. Labels as Headings
          3. Labels Within Navigation Systems
          4. Labels as Index Terms
          5. Iconic Labels
        3. Designing Labels
          1. General Guidelines
            1. Narrow scope whenever possible
            2. Develop consistent labeling systems, not labels
          2. Sources of Labeling Systems
            1. Your site
            2. Comparable and competitive sites
            3. Controlled vocabularies and thesauri
          3. Creating New Labeling Systems
            1. Content analysis
            2. Content authors
            3. User advocates and subject matter experts
            4. Users
          4. Tuning and Tweaking
      4. 7. Navigation Systems
        1. Types of Navigation Systems
        2. Gray Matters
        3. Browser Navigation Features
        4. Building Context
        5. Improving Flexibility
        6. Embedded Navigation Systems
          1. Global (Site-Wide) Navigation Systems
          2. Local Navigation Systems
          3. Contextual Navigation
          4. Implementing Embedded Navigation
        7. Supplemental Navigation Systems
          1. Sitemaps
          2. Site Indexes
          3. Guides
          4. Search
        8. Advanced Navigation Approaches
          1. Personalization and Customization
          2. Visualization
          3. Social Navigation
      5. 8. Search Systems
        1. Does Your Site Need Search?
        2. Basic Search System Anatomy
          1. Search Is Not an IT Thing
        3. Choosing What to Search
          1. Determining Search Zones
            1. Navigation versus destination
            2. Indexing for specific audiences
            3. Indexing by subject
            4. Indexing recent content
          2. Selecting Content Components to Index
        4. Search Algorithms
          1. Pattern Matching Algorithms
            1. Recall and precision
          2. Other Approaches
          3. Query Builders
        5. Presenting Results
          1. Which Content Components to Display
          2. How Many Documents to Display
          3. Listing Results
            1. Sorting by alphabet
            2. Sorting by chronology
            3. Ranking by relevance
            4. Ranking by popularity
            5. Ranking by users’ or experts’ ratings
            6. Ranking by pay-for-placement
          4. Grouping Results
          5. Exporting Results
            1. Print or email a result
            2. Select a subset of results
            3. Save a search
        6. Designing the Search Interface
          1. The Box
          2. Advanced Search
          3. Supporting Revision
            1. Repeat search in results page
            2. Explain where results come from
            3. Explain what the user did
            4. Integrate searching with browsing
          4. When Users Get Stuck
        7. Where to Learn More
      6. 9. Thesauri, Controlled Vocabularies, and Metadata
        1. Metadata
        2. Controlled Vocabularies
          1. Synonym Rings
          2. Authority Files
          3. Classification Schemes
          4. Thesauri
        3. Technical Lingo
        4. A Thesaurus in Action
        5. Types of Thesauri
          1. Classic Thesaurus
          2. Indexing Thesaurus
          3. Searching Thesaurus
        6. Thesaurus Standards
        7. Semantic Relationships
          1. Equivalence
          2. Hierarchical
          3. Associative
        8. Preferred Terms
          1. Term Form
          2. Term Selection
          3. Term Definition
          4. Term Specificity
        9. Polyhierarchy
        10. Faceted Classification
    5. III. Process and Methodology
      1. 10. Research
        1. Process Overview
        2. A Research Framework
        3. Context
          1. Getting Buy-In
          2. Background Research
          3. Introductory Presentations
          4. Research Meetings
            1. Strategy team meeting
            2. Content management meeting
            3. Information technology meeting
          5. Stakeholder Interviews
          6. Technology Assessment
        4. Content
          1. Heuristic Evaluation
          2. Content Analysis
            1. Gathering content
            2. Analyzing content
          3. Content Mapping
          4. Benchmarking
            1. Competitive benchmarking
            2. Before-and-after benchmarking
        5. Users
          1. Usage Statistics
          2. Search Log Analysis
          3. Customer Support Data
        6. Participant Definition and Recruiting
          1. Surveys
          2. Contextual Inquiry
          3. Focus Groups
        7. User Research Sessions
          1. Interviews
          2. Card Sorting
          3. User Testing
        8. In Defense of Research
          1. Overcoming Research Resistance
      2. 11. Strategy
        1. What Is an Information Architecture Strategy?
        2. Strategies Under Attack
        3. From Research to Strategy
        4. Developing the Strategy
          1. Think
          2. Articulate
          3. Communicate
          4. Test
        5. Work Products and Deliverables
          1. Metaphor Exploration
          2. Scenarios
            1. Sample scenario
          3. Case Studies and Stories
          4. Conceptual Diagrams
          5. Blueprints and Wireframes
        6. The Strategy Report
          1. A Sample Strategy Report
            1. Executive summary
            2. Audiences, mission, and vision for the site
            3. Lessons learned
            4. Architectural strategies and approaches
            5. Content management
        7. The Project Plan
        8. Presentations
      3. 12. Design and Documentation
        1. Guidelines for Diagramming an Information Architecture
        2. Blueprints
          1. High-Level Architecture Blueprints
          2. Creating High-Level Blueprints
          3. Keeping Blueprints Simple
          4. Detailed Blueprints
          5. Organizing Your Blueprints
        3. Wireframes
          1. Types of Wireframes
          2. Wireframe Guidelines
        4. Content Mapping and Inventory
        5. Content Modeling
          1. Relationships Between Chunks
          2. A Sample Content Model
          3. When to Implement Content Models
        6. Controlled Vocabularies
        7. Design Sketches
        8. Web-Based Prototypes
        9. Architecture Style Guides
        10. Point-of-Production Architecture
        11. Administration
    6. IV. Information Architecture in Practice
      1. 13. Education
        1. Chaos in Education
        2. A World of Choice
        3. But Do I Need a Degree?
      2. 14. Ethics
        1. Ethical Considerations
          1. Intellectual Access
          2. Labeling
          3. Categories and Classification
          4. Granularity
          5. Physical Access
          6. Persistence
        2. Shaping the Future
      3. 15. Building an Information Architecture Team
        1. Destructive Acts of Creation
        2. Fast and Slow Layers
        3. Project Versus Program
        4. Buy or Rent
        5. Do We Really Need to Hire Professionals?
        6. The Dream Team
      4. 16. Tools and Software
        1. A Time of Change
        2. Categories in Chaos
          1. Automated Categorization
          2. Automated Taxonomy Generation
          3. Search Engines
          4. Thesaurus Management Tools
          5. Collaborative Filtering Tools
          6. Portal Solutions
          7. Content Management Software
          8. Analytics
          9. Database Management Software
          10. Diagramming Software
        3. Questions to Ask
    7. V. Information Architecture in the Organization
      1. 17. Making the Case for Information Architecture
        1. You Must Sell
        2. The Two Kinds of People in the World
        3. Running the Numbers
          1. Debunking the ROI Case
        4. Talking to the Reactionaries
        5. Other Case-Making Techniques
        6. The Information Architecture Value Checklist
        7. A Final Note
      2. 18. Business Strategy
        1. The Origins of Strategy
        2. Defining Business Strategy
          1. Alignment
        3. Strategic Fit
        4. Exposing Gaps in Business Strategy
        5. One Best Way
        6. Many Good Ways
        7. Understanding Our Elephant
        8. Competitive Advantage
        9. The End of the Beginning
      3. 19. Information Architecture for the Enterprise
        1. Economies Don’t Always Scale
        2. “Think Different”
        3. The Ultimate Goal
          1. Why Centralize?
          2. Roadblocks to Centralization
        4. A Framework for Centralization
          1. Build a New Business Unit
          2. The Entrepreneurial Business Model
            1. Provide modular services to clients
            2. Become self-supporting
        5. Timing Is Everything: A Phased Rollout
          1. Identifying Potential Clients
          2. Phasing in Centralization
        6. Strategy Versus Tactics: Who Does What
          1. Separate Strategy and Tactics
          2. The Strategic Unit
          3. Operations Unit
        7. A Framework for Moving Forward
    8. VI. Case Studies
      1. 20. MSWeb: An Enterprise Intranet
        1. Challenges for the User
        2. Challenges for the Information Architect
        3. We Like Taxonomies, Whatever They Are
          1. Three Flavors of Taxonomies
            1. Descriptive vocabularies for indexing
            2. Metadata schema
            3. Category labels
          2. How It Comes Together
          3. The Technical Architecture: Tools for Taxonomies
            1. Creating and managing the taxonomies: VocabMan and the Metadata Registry
            2. Creating and managing the records: The URL Cataloging Service
          4. Beyond Taxonomies: Selling Services
            1. Location, location, location
            2. Helping where it hurts
            3. Modular services
            4. Different kinds of flexibility
            5. Company savings
        4. Benefits to Users
        5. What’s Next
        6. MSWeb’s Achievement
      2. 21. evolt.org: An Online Community
        1. evolt.org in a Nutshell
        2. Architecting an Online Community
        3. The Participation Economy
          1. Supporting Different Levels of Participation
          2. Capital in the Economy
            1. Discussion list postings
            2. Tips
            3. “Published” articles
            4. Biography listings
            5. New ventures
            6. Decision-making
        4. How Information Architecture Fits In
        5. Trouble Spots for Online Communities
          1. Cracking the Nut of Integration
          2. Fit Enough to Survive?
        6. The “Un-Information Architecture”
    9. A. Essential Resources
      1. Communities
        1. Discussion Lists
          1. SIGIA-L
          2. AIGA-Experience Design
          3. CHI-WEB
        2. Professional Associations
          1. ACM SIGCHI
          2. AIGA-ED
          3. ASIS&T
          4. STC
          5. UPA
      2. Directories
        1. Argus Center for Information Architecture IA Guide
        2. The IAwiki
        3. Usable Web
        4. The IA Library
      3. Books
      4. Formal Education
        1. Graduate Education
          1. Kent State University (Bowling Green, Ohio, USA)
          2. University of Baltimore (Baltimore, Maryland, USA)
        2. Articles, Surveys, and Other Resources
          1. IAwiki Degree in IA Page
          2. U.S. News and World Report
          3. ACM SIGCHI
          4. HCI Bibliography
          5. Information Architecture Resources
          6. University of Texas on Information Architecture
          7. Syracuse University on Information Architects
      5. Conferences
      6. News and Opinion
        1. News
          1. iaslash
          2. InfoDesign News Flashes
          3. Tomalak’s Realm
          4. WebWord
          5. XBlog
        2. Opinion
          1. Alertbox
          2. Andrew Dillon on Information Architecture
          3. Bloug
          4. Elegant Hack
          5. PeterMe
          6. Semantics
      7. Examples, Deliverables, and Tools
        1. IAwiki Deliverables and Artifacts
        2. IAwiki Diagramming Tools
        3. jjg.net’s Visual Vocabulary
    10. Index
    11. Colophon