What is Information Architecture?

Rosenfeld's (Argus Associates) definition:

"Information Architecture involves the design of organization, labeling, navigation and search systems to help people find and manage information more successfully."

1) Technology

low end:
  • hardware
  • networking
  • operating system
  • web server
  • additional software for the server (scripting languages etc)

    medium end:

  • regular back-ups of the site
  • monitor error logs and access logs
  • keep up with Internet/WWW trends (www.w3c.org)
  • search engine and sitemap
  • site security
  • site functionality (HTML validity, links checkers, etc)
  • site statistics

    2) Content

    skills:
  • creativity
  • writing skills
  • graphic design skills
  • conceptual organizing and structuring skills

    planning: (this info will often be provided by marketing department)

  • mission, vision, plan
  • marketing, promotion
  • analysis of company's goals
  • analysis of target audience

    content organization: (content itself is usually provided by someone else)

  • conceptual organization (hierarchy, time-line, etc)
  • content architecture (navigation, frames, etc)

    implementation:

  • HTML, Javascript, CGI, Php, Flash, Director, etc
  • graphic design (clip-art, video, audio etc)

    standards and basic functionality:

  • adherence to policies (of company) and protocols (WWW)
  • cross-platform compatibility
  • usability of site
  • accessibility of site
  • basic checks: spell-check, HTML validity, vocabulary etc
  • dealing with time sensitive content (updates, calendar, etc)

    3) People skills

  • negotiate with administrators
  • talk to promotion/marketing department
  • staff training and support
  • user support (and education)
  • identify software/tutorials for staff/users (authoring tools etc)
  • create FAQs for the site  

     

     

     

     

     

    A matrix for IA content development

     data   representation    user
    identification selection
    "mining"
    information gathering
    site metaphor
    diagrams
    graphics
    associations
    conceptualization differentiating
    summarizing
    categorizing
    classifying
    labels
    terminology
    recognize
    retrieval
    structuring organizing navigation system navigate
    browse
     

     

     

     

     

     

    A matrix for IA content development with tools and processes

     data,
    * task analysis
    * knowledge management
    representation,
    * development software
    user,
    * user analysis,
    * usability
    * interfaces
    identification selection,
    "mining",
    information gathering
    site metaphor,
    diagrams,
    graphics
    * design software,
    * style sheets
    associations
    * forms
    conceptualization differentiating
    summarizing,
    categorizing,
    classifying
    labels,
    terminology
    * data dictionary,
    * content metadata,
    * "for students", "about students"
    * web practices: "about", "contact"
    recognize,
    retrieval
    * search engine,
    * index
    structuring organizing,
    parts of a page,
    relate different pages
    meta-information:,
    author, date, etc
    navigation system,
    * relational database,
    * templates for page structure,
    * eg. hierarchy or thesaurus
    * sitemap,
    * meta-tags
    navigate,
    browse
    * link structures,
    * Javascript menus,
    * web directories,
    * eg. calendar