Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, 3rd Edition
Designing Large-Scale Web Sites
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: November 2006
Pages: 528

The post-Ajaxian Web 2.0 world of wikis, folksonomies, and mashups makes well-planned information architecture even more essential. How do you present large volumes of information to people who need to find what they're looking for quickly? This classic primer shows information architects, designers, and web site developers how to build large-scale and maintainable web sites that are appealing and easy to navigate.

The new edition is thoroughly updated to address emerging technologies -- with recent examples, new scenarios, and information on best practices -- while maintaining its focus on fundamentals. With topics that range from aesthetics to mechanics, Information Architecture for the World Wide Web explains how to create interfaces that users can understand right away. Inside, you'll find:

  • An overview of information architecture for both newcomers and experienced practitioners

  • The fundamental components of an architecture, illustrating the interconnected nature of these systems. Updated, with updates for tagging, folksonomies, social classification, and guided navigation

  • Tools, techniques, and methods that take you from research to strategy and design to implementation. This edition discusses blueprints, wireframes and the role of diagrams in the design phase

  • A series of short essays that provide practical tips and philosophical advice for those who work on information architecture

  • The business context of practicing and promoting information architecture, including recent lessons on how to handle enterprise architecture

  • Case studies on the evolution of two large and very different information architectures, illustrating best practices along the way

How do you document the rich interfaces of web applications? How do you design for multiple platforms and mobile devices? With emphasis on goals and approaches over tactics or technologies, this enormously popular book gives you knowledge about information architecture with a framework that allows you to learn new approaches -- and unlearn outmoded ones.

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oreillyInformation Architecture for the World Wide Web, 3rd Edition

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Too much of how not to do thing

By Anonymous

from Norway

About Me Designer


  • Easy to understand


  • Not comprehensive enough
  • Too basic

Best Uses

  • Intermediate
  • Student

Comments about oreilly Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, 3rd Edition:

An overall good book. However, it is very irritating that the authors constantly needs to present what is not the correct way, wh ois not an informationarchitec, etc. Even making figures in the book of bad practices seems like a waste of the readers time. I would have liked a focus on how to do things and figures that actually explained good practices, instead of bad.

(8 of 8 customers found this review helpful)


The Third Edition has made a good book into a great book

By Esmeraldah

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, 3rd Edition:

I was familiar with the first edition of this book, and found it useful (mostly for the explanations of concepts), but not particularly compelling. This edition goes way beyond the first one. Not only does it explain concepts, but it gives extremely helpful suggestions for conducting effective research, getting quality information from customers, and turning that information into valuable deliverables. Theory is fine, but practical advice from acknowledged experts is gold.

Additionally, when hassled by those who want to "just build the darn site" without planning, I now have a set of best practices to point to. O'Reilly books are well-respected by techies, and thus this book has the power to help tame the cowboy coder. Not completely, of course, but every little bit helps.

I am very pleased with this book.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


A Classic That Covers It All

By C Masotti, Sacramento STC

from Sacramento

Comments about oreilly Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, 3rd Edition:

In "Information Architecture for the World Wide Web," Peter Morville and Louis Rosenfeld set out both to demonstrate the need for Information Architects, and to illustrate to believers what good successful information architecture entails. They succeed at both.

Rosenfeld, a founder of the Information Architecture Institute and the User Experience Network, and Morville, president of Semantic Studios, are well-established experts in their field. With this 3rd edition of their very popular 'polar bear book,' they address the issues related to information structuring in an era of collaborative sites (e.g., wikis) and varying devices and platforms.

The need for logical, useful information structure is real. As Jakob Nielsen writes in the book's Foreward, critics say users don't care about information architecture. They just want to perform their chosen tasks and get out. But, just as we pass without thought through a dozen green lights and complain when the 13th is red, users are only noticably affected by faulty architecture. Good architecture is rendered invisible by its very success.

Morville and Rosenfeld cover a lot of ground here, suggesting improvements not only in the behind-the-scenes organization of information, but in actual interface design as well. For example, in Chapter 8, Search Systems, they discuss the anatomy of a search system, what to make searchable, and how to present the results.

In Navigation Systems (chapter 7), the authors discuss the unique purpose of each of several types of supplemental navigation systems, and point to the recent developments in social navigation systems (e.g., Amazon's 'Customers who bought this book also bought,' Epinions' recommendation engine, and Flickr's tag clouds) as a positive turn for visualization attempts, where tools such as sitemaps have fallen short.

This book (in its first and second editions) didn't become a classic without reason. With extensive treatment of everything from classifying data, to content mapping, to building an IA team, the authors have built a lasting reference for novices and sophisticates alike. Here is a guide to consult repeatedly as you come across specific problems that the book addresses.

In Making the Case for Information Architecture (chapter 17), technical communicators will hear a familiar message from the authors to fellow information architects: You must sell the value of what you do. Although information architects face a slightly different strain of the ROI issue. Information architecture is unknown to most people, and Rosenfeld and Morville present their brethren with a basket of pro-IA arguments and a Value Checklist (one of which is "reduces reliance upon documentation").

In the end, the authors achieve their dual objectives of teaching good information architecture practices, and helping the architects illustrate their worth to the unconvinced.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


Eye opening

By ueberhund

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, 3rd Edition:

This book really opened my eyes, as I haven't really thought about Information Architecture as a discipline, which is probably a natural thing for me, as I am a programmer. What I found intriguing about this book is the "take a step back" approach by the authors to analyze a business's overall strategy for user experience. This forces the product owner to ask: how should users find things on this site? What kind of things would I want to find as a user? How can the site's navigation be improved to promote easier searching? The answers to these types of questions and help your Information Architect begin to formulate on overall architecture strategy.

After a good introduction to what IA is, the authors take the reader through the basic principles of this discipline. In this section, the authors discuss organization and labeling of systems, navigation, and searching. In the third section of the book, the authors go into the practice of actually implementing the principles in the previous section. Finally, the authors examine case studies from two different sites, where they examine how IA fit into the overall goal of the application.

I felt this book gave me a basic understanding of what Information Architecture is, and what types of things to look out for in developing an IA strategy. I would recommend this book if you have large amounts of data you want web users to have access to.

(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)


Information for web design!

By Frank Stepanski

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, 3rd Edition:

What is information architecture? Actually that is a question that I never really knew until I came across this book. Information architecture (as defined by the author) is the structural design of shared information environments. It is the combination of organization, labeling, search and navigation systems within web sites and intranets. IT is also the art and science of shaping information products and experiences to support usability and findability.

Does that definition make it any clearer? Maybe a little, but basically it means how to properly design the architecture of medium to large websites (kind of).

Unless you're a senior developer of a large company that has a large website, or are in the process of doing so, you probably never had the first hand experience of how to set the foundation of properly displaying large amounts of data to customers.

The beginning of the book the author explains the importance of Information Architects and how one can gain the experience to be one since there is really no degree or certification at this point in time. The author explains the backgrounds one may need to have to gain the necessary knowledge: journalism, library science, product management, technical writing, etc. To be an "AI", does not mean you have a computer background, it means that you have an understanding of how to use information to convey the meaning they are trying to get across to the customer. Indexing data, organizing data, structuring data are some of the tasks that are needed. It seems to me that it is one of the "unknown solders" disciplines in web development, but it is necessary for a successful site design.

The book also discusses the niches of AI that are popping up recently such as:

Metadata Specialist

Content Manager

Director, User Experience

Search Schema Content Editor

The first part of the book focuses on the anatomy of information architecture. The author goes through many web page examples of showing how to visual information architecture. Showing each sites home page and going through categories such as navigation systems, search systems and labeling systems shows you how important small bits of information can convey a particular question to the user.

The questions could be:

How do I get around the site?

What's important and unique about this organization?

What's available on this site?

How can I contact a human?

What's there address?

Later in the book the author describes different browser aids, search aids, content and tasks and invisible components that an AI can use to help the user get the information they need.

Examples would be:

Browser aids:

Sitemaps, site guides, site wizards, contextual navigation systems, local navigation

Search aids:

Search interface, query language, query builders, search zones, search results

Content and tasks:

Headings, embedded links, lists, sequential aids, identifiers

"Invisible" components:

Retrieval algorithms, categorizing data, specific vocabularies

All of these are discussed throughout the book in an easy-to-read manner so that when you design or re-design a site you can keep these in mind if you can't afford to hire an AI yourself.

A really interesting book that makes you re-think the design of your site!

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