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Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, Second Edition by Peter Morville, Louis Rosenfeld

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Work Products and Deliverables

Throughout this chapter, we’ve referred to a variety of work products and deliverables (e.g., sample architectures, organizational schemas, labeling systems) that may prove useful in communicating an information architecture strategy. Let’s explore the advantages, disadvantages, and proper uses of a few.

Metaphor Exploration

Metaphor is a powerful tool for communicating complex ideas and generating enthusiasm. By suggesting creative relationships or mapping the familiar onto the new, metaphor can be used to explain, excite, and persuade.[38] In 1992, vice-presidential candidate Al Gore popularized the term “information superhighway.”[39] This term mapped the familiar metaphor of the physical highway infrastructure of the United States onto the new and unfamiliar concept of a national information infrastructure. Gore used this metaphor to excite the voters about his vision for the future. Although the term is oversimplified and has since been horribly overused, it did inspire people to learn about and discuss the importance and direction of the global Internet.

Many types of metaphors can be applied in the design of web sites. Let’s look at three of the most important ones.

Organizational metaphors

These leverage familiarity with one system’s organization to convey quick understanding of a new system’s organization. For example, when you visit an automobile dealership, you must choose to enter new car sales, used car sales, repairs and services, or ...

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