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Information Architecture A journey into the morass and chaos of making data into a modicum of magic. B. Griffin, Information Architect mo·rass n 1. an.

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Presentation on theme: "Information Architecture A journey into the morass and chaos of making data into a modicum of magic. B. Griffin, Information Architect mo·rass n 1. an."— Presentation transcript:

1 Information Architecture A journey into the morass and chaos of making data into a modicum of magic. B. Griffin, Information Architect mo·rass n 1. an area of low-lying ground that is soft and wet to a great depth and therefore difficult to walk on 2. a frustrating, confusing, or unmanageable situation that makes any kind of progress extremely slow Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Developed for Microsoft by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. mod·i·cum n a small amount, especially of something abstract, such as a particular quality Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Developed for Microsoft by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

2 Defining Information Architecture If a website is difficult to use; most people leave it If an Intranet site is difficult to use; most companies will suffer productivity issues Low intranet usability costs the world economy up to or more than $100 billion/year in lost employee productivity. ~ Jakob Nielsen,

3 Defining IA Although design is always important, if you ignore IA --- you do it perilously… –Jakob Nielsen When users look for answers (on your website) and find them in the right place you have better… …sales (e-commerce); service (marketing); and productivity (good Intranet usage). ? Useit.com

4 Define the Terms Usability engineering Thesaurus design Ethnography Information retrieval Technology evaluation Information ecologies Knowledge economies Digital libraries Virtual communities Ethnography (from the Greek θνος ethnos = nation and γράφειν graphein = writing) refers to the genre of writing that presents qualitative description of human social phenomena, based on fieldwork. Ethnography presents the results of a holistic research method founded on the idea that a system's properties cannot necessarily be accurately understood independently of each other. The genre has both formal and historical connections to travel writing and colonial office reports. Several academic traditions, in particular the constructivist and relativist.

5 Defining IA We shape our buildings therefore they shape us. ~Winston Churchill

6 Why is it so hard to define IA? Challenges with language and representation Pitch Bad design Bill Bryson, The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got that Way.

7 Why is it so hard to define IA? What is Information? –Data - facts and figures –Database - Highly structured…answers to specific questions –Knowledge - what is in peoples minds (tacit knowledge) –Metadata - Content objects representing: documents, people, processes and organizations So, information is what R&M call the messy middle

8 Structuring, Organizing and Labeling SOL = Its what IA is Defining granularity* and deciding how to relate them to one another Grouping into meaningful categories Labeling means what to call those categories How then to decide on the navigation from those choices Granularity refers to relative size or chunks of information; varying levels could be journal issue, article, paragraph or sentence

9 Finding and Managing Findability is a critical success factor for overall usability. Users have the option of: …Searching …Browsing …Asking …and if they cant find it then the site fails.

10 Finding and Managing IA must balance the needs of the user and the goals of the business (ROI). Efficient content management in terms of clear policies and procedure are essential… But this hardly ever happens

11 Finding and Managing Defining: Dewey Decimal System and the Library of CongressLibrary of Congress Assignment: Find a website that you think has great Information Architecture

12 Art and Science IA must rely on experience, intuition and creativity. You must be willing to take risks and trust your imagination --- It is difficult to explain IA to others in that it is hard for some people to understand --- its one of those either you get it or you dont

13 What IA Isnt It is not… –Graphic design –Software development –Usability engineering With many classification systems there are many classifications within classifications, such as FISH = sharks, skates, eels, and sea horses --- are they really fish?

14 What it is ….sort of…. Graphic design Usability engineering Experience design Software development Content management Knowledge management

15 Why IA matters? ROI = return on investment Cost of finding information Cost of not finding information Value of education Cost of construction Cost of maintenance Cost of training The value of the brand

16 Controlled vocabularies IA brings good things to life… A key to the craft of IA is understanding how to shape your message for your audience. Target Audience Skilled Interviewing


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