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

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Content Mapping

During research and conceptual design, you are focused on the top-down approach of defining an information structure that will accommodate the mission, vision, audiences, and content. As you move into production, you complete the bottom-up process of collecting and analyzing the content. Content mapping is where top-down meets bottom-up.

The process of content mapping involves breaking down or combining existing documents into logical content components or chunks, thereby separating the content from its container. A content chunk is not a sentence or a paragraph or a page. Rather, it is the most finely grained portion of content that merits or requires individual treatment.

The content, often received from a variety of sources and in a multitude of formats, must be mapped onto the information architecture. Because of differences between formats, you cannot count on a one-to-one mapping of source page to destination page. One page from a print brochure does not necessarily map onto one page on the Web. For this reason, it is important to separate content from container, at both the source and destination. In addition, when combined with a database-driven approach to content management, the separation of content and container facilitates the reuse of content chunks across multiple pages. For example, contact information for the customer service department might be presented in context within a variety of pages throughout the web site. If the contact information ...

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