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Information Architecture/Organization (CGT 512)

Today, information can be organized in any way imaginable. Which do you choose? Well there are various ways to organize your information when it comes to websites. We’ll call this a sites information architecture. This posts relates/builds off of a post I wrote last week for my Social Internet class.

Information can be organized based on tasks, user types, organizational structure, topics, life events, and implementation. The one that stands out to me as a bad design is when the information architecture is based on the organizational structure of the company. That does not make sense to me. Why would someone organize based on positions? Do those positions do a lot of things, some of which may not even be under their specified department.

The actual architecture of the site can be organized by a typology. Some of which include: linear, hybrid, etc. The excerpt below describes these very well. The one I had a problem with when the site navigation (link structure) is set up as an arbitrary network. I do understand that people may start out with one page and continually add different things, but isn’t there some thinking when people construct these?

I liked how the two research articles were about top-down organization and bottom-up organization. In class we related this to taxonomy v. folksonomy respectively. We went even further to say that top-down is when the organization decides the information architecture and bottom-up is when the users decide. This really brought it all together for me, as we talked about this last week in my social internet class.

Lastly, an information architecture can be set up relating to breadth v. depth. Breadth seems to be the better of the two (from the authors) for various reasons. Some of them include: the user is initially closer to their end goal and if the information architecture is too deep, then it might not make sense to people. This makes it easier to lose people when they traverse navigation.

So how do we decide what to use. Well we use our personas, scenarios, use cases, and design requirements. An information architecture should emerge from these, yet it may be hard to decide which one is the right one to use. I am experiencing this in a project I am doing right now for this class involving nanoHUB.

Relating the navigation/information architecture using topics from personas, tasks from use cases, etc


I am a life-long learner, adventure seeker, and front-end developer for @ExactTarget