Sunday, May 26, 2024



Intro to IA
Defining The Site's Goals
Defining The Audience
Content and Functionality
Site Structure
Visual Design
Design Document


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Information Architecture

Intro   Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   Part 5


Defining The 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 think.

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 functions.

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!


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.


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