Some Steps to Information Architecture

February 10, 2007

Since we are in the processing of working on a web site project for my ILS-656 Information Architecture, anything about IA catches my attention (especially if it is written by Louis Rosenfeld). In a post entitled The No-Knead Approach to Information Architecture (#1 of 5), Rosenfeld asks “Why can’t information architecture be as simple and straightforward? And even as enjoyable?[as simple, etc. as kneading bread]” You can bet that this caught my eye. I want it to be straightforward and enjoyable. I know that I always think about information architecture as a massively complex procedure – and maybe this is why it becomes some difficult. If we think of it as a complex concept then any end result must therefore be some type of complex structure of information. Isn’t that what we want to avoid?

In advocating a simpler approach, Rosenfeld suggests four easier steps to take to information architecture. These include

Step #1: Ban the word “redesign” from your meetings.
Step #2: Determine who your most important audiences are.
Step #3: Determine each primary audience’s 3-5 major needs.
Step #4: Make damned sure your site addresses each of those needs.

In the course of my project, I’m going to try to keep these steps in mind. I think these are some great guidelines to go by. Hopefully, every time I start getting bogged down (and start making things overly complicated), I’ll look back at these steps and reassess the situation.