Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Notes from A Practical Guide to Information Architecture by Donna Spencer

What is Information Architecture?

Information architecture is about organizing content or things, describing them clearly and providing ways for people to get to them.

There are three very important things to consider to design an IA that works well:

People : What they need to do, how they think and what they already know
Content : What you have, what you should have and what you need
Context : The goals for the site, who else will be involved and your constraints

If you don't know enough about people, you won't be able to group content in ways that make sense to them or provide ways for them to find it easily.

Without a good understanding of your content, you won't be able to create an information architecture that works well for current and future content.

If you don't know about the context, you won't be able to create something that works for people and the business.

An IA is made up of :

- defining the project and its goals
- researching people and content
- designing the IA, navigation, visual approach and content
- building and testing
- maintaining

The main IA deliverables are:

- The Information Architecture
- Navigation
- Metadata

Before You Start : Context

Goals : What are the goals of this project?
Technology : What are the technology opportunities and constraints?
Design : Are there design constraints you need to consider?
Culture : What sort of culture are you working within and how will that affect your project?
Stakeholders : Who is and who should be involved in the project?

Project Goals

Why are we doing this project?
What do you want to achieve when it's finished?

Clearly articulate the reason for doing the work, and the desired outcome. They are useful to help you:

- Set directions and priorities
- Make sure you are on track
- Access requirements and requests: When someone asks for a new feature, you can decide whether it will contribute to the project goals.
- Make decisions: Will this new design feature support the goal? Is one approach better than another?

Goals fall into three different types:

- Making more money
- Reducing costs
- Helping people make better decisions

How will we measure the impact of any changes?

- Overall visits to the site
- Purchases
- Shopping cart abondonment
- Time to complete a task
- quality of incoming data
- Number of calls made to support

Collect these data in the beginning and the end of the project.

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