Friday, September 7, 2007

Information Architecture is Key

Information Architecture (IA) is more noticeable by its absence than its presence. For this reason, some define IA by what is lacking when IA is weak—a site map, a navigation system, or search. But IA is more than this.

IA is the blueprint and foundation for the site. It is essential to the site map, navigation system, and search, as well as, for a consistent strategic message. But merely building a site with these features will not produce strong IA.

Solid IA provides a framework, not only for developing these features, but also for the evolution of the site—enabling the site to weather the inevitable changes to message, content, design, and navigational structure—thus providing long-term sustainability for the site.

Without a good IA, we risk deploying an aesthetically appealing, technically sophisticated site with great content which will not grow with us.

Yes, but what exactly is IA? And how will the re.web project address IA within the new W&M web presence? Read what we're thinking...

Posted by Andrew Bauserman

2 comments:

Gene Roche said...

Andrew,

This is a great, very helpful introduction. One other resource that I've found useful in communicating about IA is was written by the web development folks at Princeton. It's a PDF that takes a department through the process of thinking about their own information architecture. Sort of an itty-bitty baby version of what you're doing with this project.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that a strong search function is going to be incorporated. Currently, it's far easier to go to google to search for a specific page than it is to try to locate it though the current architecture.