Brinck, Gergle & Wood (2002). Usability for the Web: Designing Website that Work. Morgan Kaufman.
After last week post on contextual design and prototyping. Information Architecture seen to be the nature concept to master. How to organize the all the information in a website, this is a question we want to find out. In life we usually have different ways to start approach the same question, create a information architecture for a website are the same. Are we start to organize the information in designer’s way or a more user-centered way? The answer is the clear from the reading, website should put information to help the user do their job better instead of forcing the user to match designer’s mental model.
As soon as the user visit a website first time, the user will immediately form a mental model about what is this site about and how can I find what I need from it. The user will start getting frustrated if the site architecture is totally different than he or she expected. But many times website organize information like a site map, just put every possible information out there for the user to lost in it.
Card sorting is a very useful way to help website better organize information with user oriented goal. Interestingly bringing in both bottom up and top down approach can help find all the categories and find a better way to group each categories. But he top down close card sorting can be a great way to save cost and time.
And thinking of another way to organize information to help user better find important information. Tagging is a great way to use weighted content to allow designers and users understand information in a personal way. But tagging also can mean more than just important information, it can help user and designer to find predictable tend and relationship in a field or person. For example, the team evaluation we received from Dr. V. really help me to identify many strength and weakness in the class. Create your own beautiful word cloud in Wordle.net
Help user to find what they need, eventually help designer to find their way to success. Think Google!