Information Architecture has everything to do with your theme!

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If you are tasked with putting together a WordPress theme for a client organization or business the theme you select is very important. Perhaps your first inclination is to choose a theme that looks great or let your client choose a theme that they are happy with. This practice however can have negative repercussions for your client. In this talk we will discuss how to appropriately choose a theme or build a theme that supports your clients goals. Using information architecture we can better select themes or build new ones.

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Information Architecture has everything to do with your theme!

  1. 1. INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE has everything to do with your theme! Steven Slack . @slacktronic . S2 Web . S2webpress.com
  2. 2. We are talking mainly about custom WordPress projects for businesses and organizations
  3. 3. Each Building serves a different purposeEvery building serves it’s own purpose
  4. 4. Ok, great … what does this have to do with websites?
  5. 5. USER NEEDS and USER EXPERIENCE
  6. 6. Pitfalls into a poor user experience
  7. 7. We decide the direction of the website based on our intuition or preference. Pitfalls into a poor user experience
  8. 8. We decide the direction of the website based on our intuition or preference. We let clients direct the design and discovery process. Pitfalls into a poor user experience
  9. 9. MY AWESOME WEBSITE → ENTER ←
  10. 10. It’s NOT about what YOU want
  11. 11. All websites exist within a particular business or organization context.
  12. 12. Information Architecture happens!
  13. 13. What are the goals of the web site? What are the needs and information seeking behaviors of the audience? Find the balance:
  14. 14. How do we define IA? 1. The structural design of shared information environments. 1. The combination of organization, labeling, search, and navigation systems within web sites and intranets. 1. The art and science of shaping information products and experiences to support usability and findability. Information Architecture for the World Wide Web - Peter Morville & Louis Rosenfield
  15. 15. How can we use IA to create a better user experience and a more organized navigation system ?
  16. 16. Discovery
  17. 17. Discovery ● Content Inventory ● Review of technical/functional requirements such as third party integrations or other specific functionality needed ● Analytics and user research ● Determining target audience ● Develop site content organization
  18. 18. WHEN YOU SKIP THE DISCOVERY PHASE
  19. 19. Information Architecture & WordPress
  20. 20. Taxonomies Custom Meta Data Custom Post Types
  21. 21. Custom Post Types help us to better organize different content types.
  22. 22. Custom Archive template: archive-staff.php
  23. 23. What does this do for us? ● Better navigation ● More organized ● Appropriate assignment of content types
  24. 24. When to use Custom Post Types, Taxonomies, and Custom Meta ● If post types need custom attributes use custom meta data. ● Taxonomies are good for grouping and categorizing custom content ● When numerous content types are related to a specific thing such as “staff” use a custom post type.
  25. 25. Theme Implementation
  26. 26. WP tools for better IA Menus: Use this tool to help users move through the site content easily.
  27. 27. WP tools for better IA Menus: Use this tool to help users move through the site content easily. Categories & Tags: This is a great way to organize your content and make it easier for your users to find what they are looking for.
  28. 28. WP tools for better IA Menus: Use this tool to help users move through the site content easily. Categories & Tags: This is a great way to organize your content and make it easier for your users to find what they are looking for. Posts & Pages: Determine what is static content and if you have content that can be archived in reverse chronological order.
  29. 29. WP tools for better IA Widgets: Can provide better site navigation, provide search systems or present the site’s information in a variety of ways.
  30. 30. WP tools for better IA Widgets: Can provide better site navigation, provide search systems or present the site’s information in a variety of ways. Other important tools: Authors, Date & Time, Comments, 404 pages, Search forms
  31. 31. WP tools for better IA Widgets: Can provide better site navigation, provide search systems or present the site’s information in a variety of ways. Other important tools: Authors, Date & Time, Comments, 404 pages, Search forms Add-on features and functionality for better organization →
  32. 32. Plugins E-Commerce Front-end Registration Portfolio Directory Slider Advanced Search Shortcodes Events Calendar
  33. 33. Presentation & Functionality Generally, when we refer to functionality in WordPress we are speaking of plugins while themes handle the presentation.
  34. 34. Add theme support for plugins TGM Plugin Activation The best way to require and recommend plugins for WordPress themes (and other plugins) tgmpluginactivation.com
  35. 35. Don’t bloat the site with too many plugins Many plugins come with a UI with many options that the client or business DOES NOT NEED This can lead to a poor user experience
  36. 36. Put custom functions into a plugin.
  37. 37. Put custom functions into a plugin. Data Portability
  38. 38. Even in custom projects we need to think about data portability
  39. 39. Organization & Maintenance ● Portable Plugin ● Easier to debug ● Separation of concerns
  40. 40. A well organized data structure is good IA
  41. 41. What does the business or organization get out of well organized code?
  42. 42. A more stable environment will save you time on debugging, fixing problems or moving data, hence saving your client money.
  43. 43. Marketplace themes and Information Architecture
  44. 44. Too much custom functionality baked into the theme that is not needed
  45. 45. Too many features can create a cluttered and confusing UI
  46. 46. Design for your content
  47. 47. INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE has everything to do with your theme!
  48. 48. Thank YOU!

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