Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web introduces the core concepts of information architecture: organizing web site content so that it can be found. Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web, Second Edition introduces the core concepts of information architecture: organizing web site content so that it. Introduces the core concepts of information architecture: organizing web site content so that it can be found, designing web site interaction so that it’s pleasant to.

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Formerly a chrsitina at Carbon IQa user-experience firm in San Francisco, Christina now leads the user experience efforts on Yahoo Search and Directory and has been a practicing information architect for four years. She is also the founder of Boxes and Arrows. Despite her pedigree, Wodtke does not want to be mistaken for a web guru.

Dictating rules is risky, she implies, because inexperienced site planners cyristina designers tend to take them at face value. They operate under the mistaken assumption that following those rules is all they need to do to create a good site.

Wodtke argues that good site design is complex, nuanced, and context-specific. You have to look at the problem fundamentally and create a plan that serves the needs of your specific users. You have to create a blueprint based on solid thinking.

Information Architecture, Blueprints for the Web

Use as little writing as possible. At first glance, some of these principles bear resemblance to the rules Wodtke is so eager to debunk. They are also general enough that they are unlikely to be confused for specific, one-size-fits-all solutions.

After introducing her principles, Wodtke provides a nicely succinct definition of the role wpdtke the information architect: She then discusses how to tackle the first part of that mission: Here she goes over the basics of conducting user research: Skipping ahead ardhitecture bit in the process, she also gives an overview of prototyping and usability testing techniques. Another key aspect of building an effective site is to understand how its architecturs will wodtkr it—what their mental model of the site will be.

She contends users have three fundamental questions when they arrive at a website: Do they have what I am looking for? From there, you architecgure begin figuring out how to present your content in a way that will make sense to your users. Wodtke discusses several effective, user-oriented classification schemes and the importance of clear, consistent labeling.

Many inexperienced site designers overlook these key issues, so it is reassuring to see their value emphasized here.

Having introduced how to approach the problem itself, Wodtke launches into the real meat of the book: Instead, she recommends starting from the bottom up—from users to page design to system architecture. Wodtke offers several methods for determining what metadata your users will need.


Here again, she does an impressive job of conveying the value of a step that inexperienced information architects often skip. To design the most pleasing experience for your users, Wodtke recommends thinking in stories, specifically scenarios wkdtke personas.

Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web by Christina Wodtke

Personas are becoming an increasingly common tool in the interaction design field, yet the process of creating and using them effectively has not been widely documented. Wodtke then provides a quick, clear description of how to use scenarios to visualize your personas using the various functions of your site. Throughout this section, Wodtke illustrates her text with numerous examples of existing websites, often presenting nicely parallel, but different, applications of a given principle.

Refreshingly for a book of this type, and in keeping with her non-guru stance, Wodtke delivers all of this as a collection of guidelines and suggestions, rather than a decree.

She evenly lays out the pros and cons of the various design solutions she offers, and makes it clear that the best solution is always the one that is most appropriate for your particular situation. Finally, after a healthy discussion of site navigation principles and concepts, Wodtke comes to the core of the website: Appropriately, she goes into some depth in this area.

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She provides helpful definitions and examples of the techniques, and encourages readers to try both blueprintss see which works best for them. She even provides a handy sidebar on how to draw iconic people for sitepath diagrams. To do so, Wodtke recommends several visual and textual techniques: For instance, site maps have eleven pages devoted to them, while wall diagrams and functional specifications get only three.

But Wodtke addresses them all sufficiently for readers to at least use them as a starting point. Having covered the site planning and design process from bottom to top, Wodtke employs a clever gambit to sum it all up: Perhaps there will be a arhitecture.

Information Architecture, Blueprints for the Web – Eleganthack

Finally, Wodtke shares some general techniques for getting your work done: She closes with some ruminations on the future of information architecture: Novice IAs will find good ideas and techniques flowing into their heads, while experienced designers will find themselves nodding theirs in agreement.

And the clear, well-labeled organization of the material makes it a handy reference for both audiences as well. Blueprints for the Web. Ryan Olshavsky has nearly five years of experience in interaction design and design documentation. He is currently an Interaction Designer at Yahoo!


Previously, he worked as a design consultant at Cooper. Prior to joining Ebay, he was Interaction Designer working on messanger for Yahoo! You can learn more about Ryan on his personal website— designjerk.

Nice review, but, you could have helped by mentioning how large the sample chgistina would be- it took me nearly thirty minutes to download on a dial-up connection. Surprising that Boxes and Arrows fails in this simple element of information design.

Also, I noticed the mention about the re-designed Audi site with the right navigation and how it reduced scrolling etc. But, would the experience be the same for left-handed users?

I daresay they would find the left-navigation more comfortable. I added it to my Amazon wish list iformation before it was published: Do left handers keep their mouse on the left hand of the screen?

Handedness does not always apply to mouse behavior. I mouse left carpal tunnel in my right arm and I and others in the study find right hand navigation more comfortable because of the reduced travel between the scrollbar and the menu. Sorry if this was less clear in the book, and so very glad you are enjoying tge As a pronounced lefty, I mouse with my mouse on the right of my keyboard.

One reason, I presume: I believe one would call that adaptation…. My libertarian leanings wodtks that I just deal with it and not mythologize my injustice. Would that modern ergonomics folks could remove handedness from computers. And for the record, I detest laptops with versaglide pads square in the center, as well as the stupid blue eraser head mouse. Skip to content Authors About Us Contact us. Then for a few more. And a few more. While there are many fine books that go into great depth on various aspects of the information architecture and design process, I was unable to think of a single one blue;rints provides a concise, 10,foot blurprints of what we do.

Simplicity and Elegance Proximity and Relevance Focus and Feedback A Hierarchy of Chrisstina, a Hierarchy of Task The Right Tool for the Right Job Throughout this section, Wodtke illustrates her text with numerous examples of existing websites, often presenting nicely parallel, but different, applications of a given principle. Blueprints for the Web Christina R. View all posts by Ryan Olshavsky.

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