Blog 2 – Part 1 (IA)

IA

A Information Architect cannot be described in one or a few sentences. It is rather a art that is mastered over time, each individual website has different goals and objectives. Depending on the scope of the website the role of a IA can vary. These four short definitions found in Morville & Rosenfeld’s IA book portray a IA well:

1. The structural design of shared information environments.
2. The combination of organization, labeling, search, and navigation systems within web sites and intranets.
3. The art and science of shaping information products and experiences to support usability and findability.
4. An emerging discipline and community of practice focused on bringing principles of design and architecture to the digital landscape.

In layman’s terms a IA designs the infrastructure of information on a website. This creates a more user friendly environment where users can navigate, search, label and organise their information. Similarly so, maintenance of the website will also be cleaner and more cost effective to sustain. An elevator pitch found in Morville & Rosenfeld’s IA book describes this even clearer.

“I’m an information architect. I organize huge amounts of information on big web sites and intranets so that people can actually find what they’re looking for. Think of me as an Internet librarian.”

ebayThink of a massive website that needs a great foundation of IA to be effective. Ebay for example, can you image the vast amount of data stored on this website? Without great IA a e-commerce website such as Ebay could not function efficiently, it would more than likely fail in a couple of months without solid IA. So why does IA matter? Simply because IA brings costs benefits and significant value to your website/intranet. These may or could include:

  • The cost of not finding information
  • The value of education
  • The cost of construction
  • The cost of maintenance
  • The cost of training
  • The value of brand

In my opinion having a good IA for a large organisations is a must, but if you are a small business it is not necessary as you would not hold enough information to reap the full benefits of a IA.

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