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

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Collaboration and Communication

The information architect must communicate effectively with the web site development team. This is challenging, since an information architecture is highly abstract and intangible. Besides communicating the architecture verbally, documents (such as blueprint diagrams) must be created in ways that can be understood by the rest of the team regardless of their own disciplinary backgrounds.

In the early days of the Web, web sites were often designed, built, and managed by a single individual through sheer force of will. This webmaster was responsible for assembling and organizing the content, designing the graphics, and hacking together any necessary CGI scripts. The only prerequisites were a familiarity with HTML and a willingness to learn on the job. People with an amazing diversity of backgrounds suddenly became webmasters overnight, and soon found themselves torn in many directions at once. One minute they were information architects, then graphic designers, then editors, then programmers.

Then companies began to demand more of their sites and, consequently, of their webmasters. Simple home pages quickly evolved into complex web sites. People wanted more content, better organization, greater function, and prettier graphics. Extensions, plug-ins, and languages proliferated. Tables, VRML, frames, Shockwave, Java, and ActiveX were added to the toolbox. No mortal webmaster could keep up with the rising expectations and the increasing complexity of the ...

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