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Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, 3rd Edition

Book Description

The post-Ajaxian Web 2.0 world of wikis, folksonomies, and mashups makes well-planned information architecture even more essential. How do you present large volumes of information to people who need to find what they're looking for quickly? This classic primer shows information architects, designers, and web site developers how to build large-scale and maintainable web sites that are appealing and easy to navigate.

The new edition is thoroughly updated to address emerging technologies -- with recent examples, new scenarios, and information on best practices -- while maintaining its focus on fundamentals. With topics that range from aesthetics to mechanics, Information Architecture for the World Wide Web explains how to create interfaces that users can understand right away. Inside, you'll find:

  • An overview of information architecture for both newcomers and experienced practitioners

  • The fundamental components of an architecture, illustrating the interconnected nature of these systems. Updated, with updates for tagging, folksonomies, social classification, and guided navigation

  • Tools, techniques, and methods that take you from research to strategy and design to implementation. This edition discusses blueprints, wireframes and the role of diagrams in the design phase

  • A series of short essays that provide practical tips and philosophical advice for those who work on information architecture

  • The business context of practicing and promoting information architecture, including recent lessons on how to handle enterprise architecture

  • Case studies on the evolution of two large and very different information architectures, illustrating best practices along the way

How do you document the rich interfaces of web applications? How do you design for multiple platforms and mobile devices? With emphasis on goals and approaches over tactics or technologies, this enormously popular book gives you knowledge about information architecture with a framework that allows you to learn new approaches -- and unlearn outmoded ones.

Table of Contents

  1. Information Architecture for the World Wide Web
  2. Preface
    1. What’s New in the Third 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. Safari® Enabled
    8. 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. Gap Fillers and Trench Warriors
        4. Putting It All Together
      3. Information Architecture Specialists
      4. Practicing Information Architecture in the Real World
        1. Context
        2. Content
        3. Users
      5. What Lies Ahead
    3. 3. User Needs and Behaviors
      1. The “Too-Simple” Information Model
      2. Information Needs
      3. Information-Seeking Behaviors
      4. Learning About Information Needs and 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. Social Classification
      6. 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. Directly from users
            1. Card sorting
            2. Free-listing
          5. Indirectly from users
            1. Search-log analysis
            2. Tag analysis
        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. Wizards and Configurators
        5. 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. Search System Anatomy
      3. Search Is Not an IT Thing
      4. Choosing What to Search
        1. Determining Search Zones
          1. Navigation versus destination
          2. Indexing for specific audiences
          3. Indexing by topic
          4. Indexing recent content
        2. Selecting Content Components to Index
      5. Search Algorithms
        1. Pattern-Matching Algorithms
          1. Recall and precision
        2. Other Approaches
      6. Query Builders
      7. 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. Printing, emailing, or saving results
          2. Select a subset of results
          3. Save a search
      8. Designing the Search Interface
        1. The Box
        2. Advanced Search: Just Say No
        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
      9. 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. Communicating Visually
      3. Blueprints
        1. High-Level Architecture Blueprints
        2. Digging Deeper into Blueprints
        3. Keeping Blueprints Simple
        4. Detailed Blueprints
        5. Organizing Your Blueprints
      4. Wireframes
        1. Types of Wireframes
        2. Wireframe Guidelines
      5. Content Mapping and Inventory
      6. Content Models
        1. Why Do They Matter?
          1. Supporting contextual navigation
          2. Coping with large amounts of content
        2. An Example
        3. A Valuable Process
      7. Controlled Vocabularies
      8. Design Collaboration
        1. Design Sketches
        2. Web-Based Prototypes
        3. Point-of-Production Information Architecture
      9. Putting It All Together: Information Architecture Style Guides
        1. The “Why” Stuff
        2. The “How” Stuff
  6. IV. Information Architecture in Practice
    1. 13. Education
      1. Transition in Education
      2. A World of Choice
      3. But Do I Need a Degree?
      4. The State of the Field
    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
      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. Information Architecture, Meet the Enterprise
        1. Finding Your Way Through an Enterprise Information Architecture
      2. What’s the Goal of EIA?
        1. Getting Everyone on the Same Page
        2. Centralization Above All?
        3. So What Is the Goal?
      3. Designing an Enterprise Information Architecture
        1. Top-Down Navigation and EIA
          1. Bypass the main page
          2. Repurpose your sitemap
          3. Slim down your site index
          4. Develop guides
        2. Bottom-Up Navigation and EIA
          1. Build single-silo content models
          2. Limit dependence on metadata
          3. “Telescoped” metadata development
        3. Search Systems and EIA
          1. Simple consistent interface
          2. Analyze those logs
          3. Prioritize your queries
          4. Reverse-engineering content and metadata
        4. “Guerrilla” EIA
          1. Klogs for internal experts
          2. Wikis for groups
          3. Accessing internal expertise through the staff directory
          4. Aggregating staff expertise...and everything else
          5. Social bookmarking in the enterprise
      4. EIA Strategy and Operations
        1. A Common Evolutionary Path
        2. The EIA Group’s Ideal Qualities and Makeup
          1. The strategists
          2. Operations People
      5. Doing the Work and Paying the Bills
        1. Build a New Business Unit
        2. Build an Entrepreneurial Business Unit
        3. Provide Modular Services to Clients
      6. Timing Is Everything: A Phased Rollout
        1. Identifying Potential Clients
        2. Phasing in Centralization
      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
        1. Cracking the Nut of Integration
        2. Fit Enough to Survive?
      5. The “Un-Information Architecture”
    3. 1. Essential Resources
      1. Communities
        1. Discussion Lists
          1. IA Institute Members
          2. SIGIA–L
          3. AIGA–Experience Design
          4. CHI–WEB
          5. IxDA
        2. Professional Associations
          1. ACM SIGCHI
          2. ASIS&T
          3. CM Pros
          4. IA Institute
          5. IxDA
          6. STC
          7. UPA
          8. UXnet
      2. Directories
        1. The IAwiki
          1. The Information Architecture Library
          2. InfoDesign
          3. IxDA’s Resource Library
          4. Additional Resources
      3. Books and Journals
        1. Online Journals and Magazines
        2. Books
          1. Responses to the question “What books or other teaching materials do you use in your courses?”
          2. Additional Resources
      4. Formal Education
        1. IA Institute Education
        2. Educators Survey
        3. IxDA Education Resources
        4. Human Factors International
        5. IAwiki Degree in IA Page
        6. U.S. News and World Report
        7. HCI Bibliography
        8. University of Texas on Information Architecture
      5. Conferences and Events
        1. Information Architecture Summit (ASIS&T)
        2. DUX
        3. Additional Conferences
      6. Examples, Deliverables, and Tools
        1. IA Institute Tools
        2. IAwiki Deliverables and Artifacts
        3. IAwiki Diagramming Tools
        4. IxDA Resource Library
        5. jjg.net’s Visual Vocabulary
  9. Index
  10. About the Authors
  11. Colophon
  12. Copyright