Information Architecture for the World Wide Web
Designing Large-scale Web Sites
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Released: February 1998
Pages: 224

Some web sites "work" and some don't. Good web site consultants know that you can't just jump in and start writing HTML, the same way you can't build a house by just pouring a foundation and putting up some walls. You need to know who will be using the site, and what they'll be using it for. You need some idea of what you'd like to draw their attention to during their visit. Overall, you need a strong, cohesive vision for the site that makes it both distinctive and usable.

Information Architecture for the World Wide Web is about applying the principles of architecture and library science to web site design. Each web site is like a public building, available for tourists and regulars alike to breeze through at their leisure. The job of the architect is to set up the framework for the site to make it comfortable and inviting for people to visit, relax in, and perhaps even return to someday.

Most books on web development concentrate either on the aesthetics or the mechanics of the site. This book is about the framework that holds the two together. With this book, you learn how to design web sites and intranets that support growth, management, and ease of use. Special attention is given to:

  • The process behind architecting a large, complex site
  • Web site hierarchy design and organization

Information Architecture for the World Wide Web is for webmasters, designers, and anyone else involved in building a web site. It's for novice web designers who, from the start, want to avoid the traps that result in poorly designed sites. It's for experienced web designers who have already created sites but realize that something "is missing" from their sites and want to improve them. It's for programmers and administrators who are comfortable with HTML, CGI, and Java but want to understand how to organize their web pages into a cohesive site.

The authors are two of the principals of Argus Associates, a web consulting firm. At Argus, they have created information architectures for web sites and intranets of some of the largest companies in the United States, including Chrysler Corporation, Barron's, and Dow Chemical.

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


a classic for info architecture

By maybanks

from san francisco

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  • Accurate
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  • Well-written


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      Comments about oreilly Information Architecture for the World Wide Web:

      this is not a how-to book (for the most part), but more of a big picture book of information theory and management and what the professional IA brings to the table. it's not a light read, but as someone transitioning into info architecture (from the design side), i found it fascinating, and by far the most thorough of all the IA books out there. if you want a step-by-step, there are plenty others out there; but if you want a deeper understanding, this is your book.


      Information Architecture for the World Wide Web Review

      By Marc Hil Macalua

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Information Architecture for the World Wide Web:

      Every aspiring information architect should have the "polar bear book" in his or her library. This book defines the field, the architects and the processes and techniques they need to have to help bring order to this wonderfully chaotic world we call the Web.

      I can't wait for Book 2!


      Information Architecture for the World Wide Web Review

      By jiha

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Information Architecture for the World Wide Web:

      I bought this book three days ago, and just finished reading it cover to cover. I found the book to be an excellent source of material for designing and documenting the creation of a web site. It was also clear to point out the pit-falls that can occur and how to avoid them. The only negative I found was that the chapter on "Labels" was a little long-winded. A short paragraph explaining that labels should be clear and consistent would have sufficed. Otherwise this

      is an excellent book for anyone involved in the design and/or managment of websites on any size.

      (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)


      Information Architecture for the World Wide Web Review

      By redifuse

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Information Architecture for the World Wide Web:

      This Book Needs a Rewrite.

      Fine Scientific Theory Book. A little boring. Not very business practical. Seems like it's written by College Profs about an Abstract Library Science, rather than a real Job that has a real methodology with a checklist of things to do; like pre-flighting a plane before you fly it. They gave no bulleted ToDo list for job tasks.

      Yeah, it was definitely written by someone who would call their site "The Argus Clearinghouse" instead of "Yahoo!".

      NOT AT ALL GOOD on the day to day blood and guts business side of IA. !!!! WHERE IS THE SAMPLE "DESIGN DOCUMENT"? WHERE IS THE SIGNOFF? WHERE IS THE QA? Lifecycle? WHERE IS THE DEFINITION OF IN/OUT of SCOPE? Business is documents and signatures. No docs & sigs, no business. -Foolish to approach IA as an Ivory Tower science rather than putting a solid business head on it.

      Webmonkey's Online Tutorial was much better on putting together a "DD" even though it was too short and too general.

      This book could be more detailed and broad. IA and ID/UI can really overlap. In some environments, the needs assessment & Process Mapping side of IA becomes the exact same job as a Business Analyst. It would be smart to include that. Any good IA really should be part Business Analyst, anyway. MUST put in some basic Needs Assessment and Project Management Methodologies. -Can't do IA without them.

      Storyboards were not discussed. Sometimes you have to throw together a PowerPoint Storyboard to get management buy-in. Nor were Process Maps, apart from Site/Page Schematics. -Could have thrown in "Use Cases" and "Actors" instead of only using "Scenarios".

      Overall: okay, but very incomplete, naive,impractical and boring.

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