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

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Other Case-Making Techniques

Storytelling is just one way to make the case for information architecture. There are other approaches, and which you select depends on many different factors, including whether or not you’re involved in a marketing effort, a sales call, or an interaction with colleagues during a project. (Most of these techniques are discussed at greater length elsewhere in this book.)

User Sensitivity “Boot Camp” Sessions

The premise here is simple: get decision makers who aren’t too web-savvy in front of a web browser. Ask them to try to accomplish three or four basic and common tasks using their own web site (or, if none is available, a competitor’s). Have them “think” aloud, and jot down the problems they encounter on a white board. Then review those problems, identifying which are caused by a poor information architecture versus other aspects of design. You’ll be surprised at how many of the problems are indeed information architecture problems, and the decision makers will be enlightened by, as our friend Steve Toub says, “eating their own dog food.”

Site Evaluations

Information architecture evaluations of a site can be done quickly and easily. You can probably identify five or ten major information architecture problems within the first ten minutes of exploring a site. Whether you deliver this evaluation in writing or in the context of a sales call, it can make a huge impression. Not only will you appear knowledgeable about your potential client’s site, but you’ll ...

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