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Information architecture
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ASIST SUMMIT 2001 — PRACTICING INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE | Feb 15, 2001 | Here are the presentations.

ASIS&T 2001 Summit Reflections | February 12, 2001 | Peter Merholz: “At the ASIS&T 2001 Summit on 'Practicing Information Architecture,' I had the pleasure of sitting on the Reflections and Projections Panel with Andrew Dillon, Andrea Gallagher, and Alison Head, where we were tasked to discuss 'the past, present, and future of information architecture.' ...I wanted to share my notes with the community, in an effort to encourage discussion on the various issues facing information architects today.” See also Christina Wodtke's thoughts.

Looking for Metadata in All the Wrong Places | February 4, 2001 | “Andy King, editor of this fine newsletter, contacted me [Louis Rosenfeld] recently with what he thought was a reasonable question. Knowing me as an information architect with librarian roots, he wondered if I could help him find a basic vocabulary of Internet and technology-related terms. He was hoping to use these terms to better organize and label WebReference's content. Andy had looked at both Library of Congress and Dewey Decimal subject headings (remember them from your library's card catalogs?) and found them wanting for his purposes. So he asked me if I could recommend a quick-and-dirty alternative. What happens when you ask an information architect a simple question? You get a long and complicated answer.” Thanks thedesign.

Getting Hosed | February 1, 2001 | “Is your information architecture giving your visitors a hard time? Here's a primer on the do's and don'ts of organizing your content.”

Information architecture, brand and content sites | January 31, 2001 | “Gave this presentation to undergraduate information systems management students at University College London today. I actually wrote it for the journalism students at Cardiff University, where I'm presenting it next week — so it's pretty wide ranging and general, but it goes over the development process of BBC News in detail, plus some other stuff as an intro to user-centred design principles. Oh... btw, it's 6.3 meg... sorry! ;-)” (Powerpoint)

Implementing Information Across Your Site | January 21, 2001 | “After months of gathering content for your Web site, you finally feel on top of your game. You've got all the materials you need. But, compiling the information is only the first step. Now you need to organize that information and put it to good use. In order to evolve hierarchies and structures that accentuate the usability of this information, you first need to understand the way the content will be used most effectively.”

Design Usability: Information Strategy | January 3, 2001 | “Until recently, few people had heard of information architecture, which I define as the process of structuring and organizing information so that it's easier for users to find and for owners to maintain. But go to any major job site today, and you'll see many job openings for information architects. It's not surprising: After five years of authoring and coding, many of us are stuck with Web sites and intranets that are huge, messy, unusable and impossible to maintain. With such a great demand for help, there are many inexperienced information architects repeatedly making the same mistakes. In the hope of fast-forwarding global information architecture literacy, here are some of the most common and avoidable errors I have learned from.”

Information Architecture | December 20, 2000 | “This lesson discusses ideas associated with the phrase 'information architecture' and relates them to aspects of the library- and information-science (LIS) professions.” Focuses on Wurman, Rosenfeld and Norville.

Information architecture visualization | December 8, 2000 | Damn! “My ITP MPS Thesis will be a prototype for a Flash driven Information Architecture visualization tool. The tool will function as an elegant and easy to use solution for the difficult task of mapping and documenting complex large-scale site architecture and functional specifications. Through the variable passing and expression building features of Flash 4.0, I will create a front-end experience that allows a user to build a customized interactive presentation without knowing anything about the Flash authoring environment. The prototype will be supported by documentation that will articulate the information architecture and functional specifications used in the development of the concept.” Thanks peterme.

Information architecture education survey | November 9, 2000 | “Many in the Information Architecture community have debated the value of formal educational credentials (e.g., college degrees and certification). How common are such credentials for today's practicing information architects? And will this change in the future?”

The Art of Information Architecture | November 2, 2000 | “There are many factors in a quality Web site Design, development, creativity, writing, color balance, and organization are all contributors, but careful planning is what makes or breaks the site. The old adage 'It'll come out in the wash' rarely works in practice. Lack of planning usually results in unorganized material and plenty of headaches along the way. Information Architecture is the practice of designing the infrastructure of a Web site, specifically the navigation.”

Elements of Hypermedia Design | November 2, 2000 | “It is the goal of this book to present guidelines, tools and techniques for prospective authors such that they can design better usable hypermedia documents and applications. The book tries to convey an overall approach to hypermedia design. When designing a hypermedia product, three different design elements have to be considered: content, structure, and presentation”

Websites that Learn: | October 31, 2000 | “Information Architecture that Adapts to Use.” Peter Merholz's talk from Information Architecture 2000.

Depth vs Breadth in the Arrangement of Web Links | October 28, 2000 | “The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of depth and breadth of web site structure on the user response time. The variables evaluated were five different web page linking strategies with varying depth and breadth. The results indicated that response time increased as the depth of the web site structure increased.”

A visual vocabulary for describing information architecture and interaction design | October 18, 2000 | JJG: “Diagrams are an essential tool for communicating information architecture and interaction design in Web development teams. This document discusses the considerations in development of such diagrams, outlines a basic symbology for diagramming information architecture and interaction design concepts, and provides guidelines for the use of these elements.”

Lou Rosenfeld interviews Nathan Shedroff | October 6, 2000 | “Many know Nathan Shedroff from his days as Creative Director at vivid studios, the pioneering information architecture and design firm that's now a part of ModemMedia. Before then Nathan was a student of that Wurman guy and worked at RSW's TheUnderstandingBusiness. We look back with Nathan on the good old pre-Web days of information architecture and learn that not a lot has changed.”

Built 2 Order | September 22, 2000 | “Information Architects construct their sites with a unique blueprint — A Foundation of Testing, A Floor Plan of Accessibility and a Tower of Functionality.”

Lou Rosenfeld interviews Mark Hurst | September 6, 2000 | “I'd planned to interview Mark Hurst, but an argument broke out instead. Well, not an argument, but a 'spirited discussion' about customer experience and how it relates to (Mark might say squashes) other fields like information architecture and usability engineering. We did a bit of sparring on CHI-WEB, and this interview seemed like a great way to 'take if off-line,' as the list moderators would say. Mark is the founder of Creative Good, and...well heck, let's let him tell his own story.”

Information architecture syllabus | August 22, 2000 | Books, books, books! Categorized by Introduction to Core Concepts, Serious Reading, General Thinking, Related fields and Unrelated. Thanks peterme.

Information About Indexing and Information Architecture | August 16, 2000 | Contains published articles, unpublished reference pages, other sources of information and book preferences from Seth Maislin. I hate Tripod pop-ups.

CamWorld: Talks: WEBDC: 2000 | August 16, 2000 | “'Information Architecture Meets Interface Design' by Cameron Barrett, Senior Information Architect, Alphanumerica, Inc. ...Today, we're going to talk about how user interface design relates to information architecture in web applications. Web applications, in this context, are web browser-based tools or services.”

The Value of Information Architecture In Redesigning your web site | July 13, 2000 | “Information architecture is a systematic, question-based process for creating communication products that improve users' performance... Information architecture is structuring information so people can find it and use it... We must understand what users are trying to accomplish; we must learn the users' goals/tasks.”

Lou Rosenfeld interviews Andrew Dillon | June 26, 2000 | “While it is easy enough for someone to learn basic skills on their own or through stand alone classes, we all know that being a good information architect requires knowledge of human beings, how they think, how they communicate and how they behave in context. Such skills are hard to pick up on the job, and while experience can add polish, the fundamentals of IA rest on the knowledge that universities like ours create and pass on.”

Information Architecture of the Shopping Cart | June 19, 2000 | “This white paper explores the principles of design for process-oriented information architectures by illustrating the best practices in the design of e-commerce ordering systems commonly referred to as 'shopping carts.'” Here's the download link: shopping_cart_ia.pdf. Thanks CamWorld.

Information Engineering Across the Professions | June 16, 2000 | “Traditionally, the profession of engineering has been organized by the physical things that we can build. Civil engineers build bridges; mechanical engineers build jet engines; electrical engineers build computers and electric generators. Another way to organize the profession would be with respect to what we want to accomplish. Then we would have titles such as transportation engineer; energy engineer and (the subject of this book) information engineer. Such a person would understand first, what information is and how to make it useful to people by transforming it, storing it, transmitting it. The purpose of this book is to give an introduction to this broad field.”

Introduction to Information Architecture | June 8, 2000 | “Information architecture is the process of organizing, labeling, designing navigation and searching systems that helps people find and manage information more successfully. Good information architecture makes a website easy to use. Good architecture keeps customers happy.”

ethnography and information architecture | June 6, 2000 | “The theme for the ASIS Summit was 'Defining Information Architecture.' The format was kind of interesting — every session was plenary, and every session was made up of four speakers. Each speaker had twenty minutes (short!) to say whatever he or she wanted, choosing a point of view from which to address a set of questions about information architecture. Since I have been using ethnographic methods to drive many different kinds of design work for the last few years, I chose to present some thoughts from that point of view. Here are the thoughts more or less as I presented them.”

LANL Information Architecture Project | April 28, 2000 | “The IA project is the Laboratory-wide effort to develop the framework for the selection, implementation, and support of computing and communications products and services. From its project office in CIC division, the project reaches out to include members from throughout the Laboratory and bridges the real-world needs of customers and the technical expertise of providers.”

jjg.net: information architecture resources | April 25, 2000 | Holy cow or something like that. Thanks JJG. This is a great collection of information architecture, navigation design and interaction design links. Bookmark. Share. Learn.

Information Architecture Guide | April 19, 2000 | “Information Architecture involves the design of navigation systems to help people successfully find and manage data. On the Internet, Information Architecture can be seen as the structure and organisation of the website's content (text, graphics, plug-ins) into definable categories assisted by a logical intuitive navigation system. After the architecture has been outlined the designers then can create the User Interface to support this design.”

10 Questions About Information Architecture | April 18, 2000 | “Information architecture. IA. Industry buzzwords? Fancy degrees? Web firms can't hire information architects fast enough, but, while the field has been around and growing for years in software, engineering, and library science, very few people understand exactly what information architects do and why we need them in Web design. And we do need them.”

An Interview with Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville | April 10, 2000 | “Awarded Amazon.com's best computer book of 1998, the same year it was published, Information Architecture for the World Wide Web has become a classic in its field and a respected reference for Web-site and intranet developers in general. Information Architecture helps you understand the foundations of the field: organizing, labeling, navigating, and searching information. The book also places information architecture within the broader context of Web-site development, from research to conceptual design to production; and it provides practical advice to help get you through that process. Scott Hill interviewed Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville, pioneers in the field, about their book and their work.”

The Art of Information Architecture | April 6, 2000 | “There are many factors in a quality website. Design, development, creativity, writing, color balance, and organization are all contributors, but careful planning is what makes or breaks the site. The old adage 'It'll come out in the wash' rarely works in practice. Lack of planning usually results in unorganized material and plenty of headaches along the way. Information Architecture is the practice of designing the infrastructure of a website, specifically the navigation.”

Organizing Information Spatially | April 3, 2000 | “Spatial organization is a central aspect of communication-oriented visual design. The overall form of a display — the size and location of the major masses and voids — is apparent at the earliest stages of visual processing and is used to guide the viewer's attention to the most informative parts of the display in a predictable manner. Poster designers have realized this for nearly a hundred years, but GUI developers are only beginning to appreciate the power that effective use of space can provide.” Thanks WebWord.

What is IA? How we define information architecture | March 31, 2000 | “We define Information architecture as a systematic, question-based process for creating communication products that improve users' performance. A system is a set of interrelated parts that work together toward a defined goal. In building web sites, you can think of the system as a methodical, structured, means for helping people find and use information. The entire system is performance-based.”

Defining Information Architecture | March 30, 3000 | ASIS Summit 2000. The American Society for Information Science presents its spring conference: Defining Information Architecture. April 7-9, 2000, Hilton Hotel at Logan International Airport, Boston, MA. “While every information system has an architecture by default, planned information architectures are more effective at enabling users to find the information they need by supporting quality searching and browsing. Planned information architectures, when combined with supporting policies and procedures, also serve as structures that help organizations manage their content more effectively.”

Information, Architecture, and Usability | Jan 10, 2000 | “What is the relationship between information architecture design and usability engineering? This is a loaded question, and I wade into dangerous waters by addressing it, but the answer has significant implications for a variety of audiences. Consider the following questions: *As a buyer of consulting services for your corporate Web site or intranet, should you retain an IA firm, a UE firm, or both? *As an employer of information architects, should you recruit people with an education in library and information science or human-computer interaction? I contend that the challenge involved in designing usable organization and navigation systems for large online information environments is so important and so complex, that it requires information architecture design specialists with backgrounds in both IA and UE.”

The Scent of Information | Jan 2, 2000 | “How do people find information on the Web? Basically they sniff it out. According to Spool, information essentially has a 'scent,' and as users link from page to page they pick up the scent of the data they're searching for. If they somehow lose the scent (often by following a link that doesn't lead where the user thinks it will), they have to loop back to pick up the scent all over again. (The concept comes from an 'information foraging' theory developed by Xerox PARC researcher Peter Pirolli.)”

What is an Information Architect? | Dec 15, 1999 | “Well — what is an information architect? From my own experience, I would say that the practitioners are professionals, versed in every aspect of web design, adept communicators, and gifted visualizers — they are people who eat, sleep and dream web design and structure. But you can't put that on the job description. Or — as I Sing the Body Electronic author Fred Moody observes: information architects are the sort of people who understand that the instructions on the shampoo bottle are just wrong: 'Lather. Rinse. Repeat.'” Do not miss all the tasty links on this page. Thanks eatonweb.

Information Architecture Resources | Nov 8, 1999 | “The guide presents resources related to the topic of information architecture, including references to books, articles, and Web sites.”

IJHCS | Designing Information-Abundant Websites | Archive | “Abstract: The abundance of information on the World Wide Web has thrilled some, but frightened others. Improved website design may increase users' successful experiences and positive attitudes.This review of design issues identifies genres of websites, goals of designers, communities of users, and a spectrum of tasks. Then an Objects/Actions Interface Model is offered as a way to think about designing and evaluating websites. Finally, search and navigation improvements are described to bring consistency, comprehensibility, and user control.”

Information, Architecture, and Usability | Archive | “What is the relationship between information architecture design and usability engineering? This is a loaded question, and I wade into dangerous waters by addressing it, but the answer has significant implications for a variety of audiences. Consider the following questions...”

grenby: organic information architecture | Archive | By Matt Grenby and John Maeda, Aesthetics & Computation Group, MIT Media Lab.

Designing Excellent Websites: Secrets of an Information Architect | Archive | “Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity.” Book by Jakob Nielsen, published by New Riders Publishing, Indianapolis. Publication date: end of November 1999.

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