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Intro to Information Architecture for Web Sites


A presentation for the LA2M lunch group, Sept 9th, 2009. Ann Arbor, MI. …

A presentation for the LA2M lunch group, Sept 9th, 2009. Ann Arbor, MI.

Chris Farnum will lead a discussion about Information Architecture - what IA is and how it contributes to the process of creating great user experiences. He’ll talk about some of the basics including site organization, labels, taxonomies, and navigation. We’ll also consider how IA relates to online marketing and recent trends.

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  • 1. Introduction to Information Architecture in Web Design
    Chris Farnum, Sr. Information Architect
    LA2M – September 9, 2009
  • 2. Definitions | What is IA? - Chris’ IA elevator pitch
    A Web site’s “Information Architecture” is the way it is organized. Whether users are…
    looking for an answer
    finding something specific
    being entertained
    completing a task
    … the navigation, categories, links, and labels all contribute to the user experience.
    As an IA, I help make plans for Web sites that provide a guide for designing and building them.
    Intro to IA - 2
  • 3. Definitions | Information Environment
    Business goals, brand, strategy, technology, politics, resources
    Document types,
    content objects,
    volume, structure
    Audience, tasks, needs, info seeking behavior, experience
    Based on Rosenfeld and Morville – Information Architecture for the World Wide Web
    Intro to IA - 3
  • 4. Definitions | The Information Architecture “Layer”
    IA is the layer between objectives and page level design
    From The Elements of User Experience by Jesse James Garret
    Intro to IA - 4
  • 5. Elements of IA | What does the IA of a site include?
    Organization Systems How is content organized? By User Task, Subject Category, Audience Type, Metaphor…
    Labeling Systems Links, buttons, labels, calls-to-action…
    Navigation Systems Sitewide navigation, local navigation, utility navigation…
    Search Systems Site search interfaces, results pages, indexing…
    Thesauri, Controlled Vocabularies, and Metadata Systems of terms used to organize and tag content
    Based on Rosenfeld and Morville – Information Architecture for the World Wide Web
    Intro to IA - 5
  • 6. Types of Projects | What kinds need IA-thinking?
    Brand Sites
    E-commerce sites
    Product Selectors & Configurators
    Landing Pages
    E-mail Templates
    Rich Internet Applications
    Expandable Banner Ads
    Search Interfaces
    Intro to IA - 6
  • 7. Value | Why is IA important in Web marketing?
    Customer Focus(good user exp. = good customer exp).
    Cost of finding(customer service, time, clicks, precision).
    Cost of not finding(lost visitors, lost sales, frustration).
    Cost of development(time, budget, staff, scalability).
    Web and Search Analytics, Usability Testing, Surveys, ROI
    Based on Rosenfeld and Morville – Information Architecture for the World Wide Web
    Intro to IA - 7
  • 8. IA Techniques | Blueprint or High Level IA
  • 9. IA Techniques | Wireframe
    Intro to IA - 9
  • 10. IA Techniques | More…
    Prototyping Create a paper prototype or a rough click-able prototype to demonstrate to the internal team and for user testing.
    User Research & Testing Find out how your users think and what they need. See how they accomplish key tasks (or not).
    Personas Describe your most important types of users and their common tasks.
    Functional Specifications Document user interface requirements for the site including page types, page components, forms, navigation…
    Intro to IA - 10
  • 11. IA Best Practices | A Few Key Concepts
    Reusable Components Consistent page types and components make the interface easier to use AND easier to develop.
    Top Down vs. Bottom Up Good designs consider both the high level view and from the most granular view of your content.
    Don’t Let Users Feel Lost Site navigation should provide a sense of where you are and where you can go (a la Instone’s Navigation Stress Test).
    Intro to IA - 11
  • 12. Job Titles | Do you need to be an IA to do IA?
    Information Architect
    Interaction Designer
    User Experience Designer
    Usability Specialist
    Content Strategist
    Business Analyst
    Web Master
    Product Manager
    _____________ (insert title here)
    something you do
    something you are
    Intro to IA - 12
  • 13. Sources | Where Do I Learn How to Do IA?
    ASIST SIG-IA (prof. group)
    Human Computer Interaction (HCI)
    Project Experience
    Library Science
    Information Architecture Institute (prof. group)
    IDEA Conference
    Rosenfeld & Morville, Wodkte, JJ Garrett…
    The Information Architecture Summit
    Intro to IA - 13
  • 14. In closing…
    Questions and Comments?
    This presentation is available online via Slideshare:
    Chris Farnum
    Senior Information Architect
    User Experience Consultant
    ___________ (insert title here)
    Intro to IA - 14