Intro Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5
Site's Goals - Part 1
Information architecture is the science of figuring out what you want your site to do and
then constructing a blueprint before you dive in. It's more important than you might
Defining The Audience - Part 2
Here we dig into a crucial step in the IA process: figuring out who the heck your audience
is going to be.
Crash Course in Information Architecture - Part 3
It's time to start organizing your future site, with a focus on page content and
Content And Functionality - Part 4
Here's where you start to build the beast: form a skeleton, pick your metaphors, and map
out your navigation.
Visual Design - Part 5
Time to break out the graphics program and come up with layout grids, design sketches, and
mock-ups. Then you're ready to build!
INTRODUCTION to IA
Information architecture (also known as IA) is the
foundation for great Web design. It is the blueprint of the site upon which all other
aspects are built - form, function, metaphor, navigation and interface, interaction, and
visual design. Initiating the IA process is the first thing you should do when designing a
site. This series of articles describes specific methods and processes for developing a
site's information architecture.
The development of an IA is sometimes considered to be impractical, both in terms of the
time it takes and the skill needed to do it effectively. But this mentality is slowly
changing. A good IA is incredibly effective, and knowing the basics of the IA process can
save both time and money in the long run.
This series demonstrates power and effectiveness of the IA process. We'll present two ends
of the design continuum, which can be thought of as either the difference between
developing a small and a large site or the difference between having a little time and
having lots of time to design a site.
Each section presents a portion of a design document. Upon completion of this series, you
will have the template for a comprehensive IA design document; the record of the decisions
made in designing the site. It serves as a road map for the site's construction. Additions
and revisions are made easier by the presence of this document.
Everyone these days is a proponent of ease-of-use. Well, ease-of-use starts here. It's
practically guaranteed if you have a solid information architecture at the outset.
Compiled by Emerson Morrison from an article
by John Shiple leader of Squishy Designs, an Internet
consulting company in Venice, California, specializing in information architecture,
collaborative system strategies, and advanced user interfaces for Internet-based content.