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Information Architecture & Design Tuesday 6:30–9:30pm SZB 546 A. Fleming Seay. School of Information, Fall 2007 University of Texas. Course Overview. Syllabus Requirements & Preferences IA & Design Readings Group Projects Do’s and Don’ts IA Overview

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Information Architecture & DesignTuesday 6:30–9:30pm SZB 546 Fleming Seay

School of Information, Fall 2007

University of Texas

course overview
Course Overview


Requirements & Preferences

IA & Design Readings

Group Projects

Do’s and Don’ts

IA Overview

What is IA?

Information Architect as a Profession

syllabus and topics overview
Syllabus and Topics Overview

Weekly Work




Class Work

Discussions in class

Participation is the key to getting something out of this course

Cooperation & Collaboration with others in class



Class discussions


IA Topic

Site design (your final assignment)

IA Work

Small assignments due every other week

Site critique

Examine a Web site for information structure, design, navigability, general usability & underlying design technology

rules for assignments
Rules for Assignments

Assignments due at the absolute beginning of class

Do not be late to class

Late assignments are penalized 20% per 24 hour period

You are responsible for making sure the assignment is received

E.g. Due at Noon today, turned in tomorrow at Noon = -20%. Turned in a week later = 0.

Arrangements can be agreed upon for known issues

Travel, Serious Illness or Work

rules for assignments continued
Rules for Assignments (continued)

Do not mail attachments to me unless agreed upon

Make assignments Web accessible

When required, notify class of your assignment via class listserv

Posting or sent email times count as submission times

For Web pages, DO NOT use MS Word or FrontPage No “Save As…”

Learn to use Web markup tools & see the XHTML code

class work
Class Work

Mailing list (listserv)

Go to .

Log in or create an account

Click subscribe in left margin.

Follow instructions.

To post a message to the mailing list, address your email to:

ia course requirements
IA Course Requirements

Use Fundamental IA Tools

HTML Editors

Graphics Editors

Site Mapping Tools

Site Organization Tools

Learn and Use IA Methodology

Work Through the Phases of the IA Process

Create and Maintain a Design Specification

Use Structured Development Techniques

ia course preferences
IA Course Preferences

IA Technologies


Javascript and Databases

Innovative Design using:



Organization schemes (“architectures”)

Work on a Real Project

Developing Requirements

Defining and Implementing Designs

Dealing with changes & deadlines

do s and don ts for ia1
Do’s and Don’ts for IA1

Do turn in assignments at the very beginning of class.

Don’t be late for class.

Don’t use Microsoft Word’s “Save As…” feature or FrontPage to build any Web pages.

Do try new Web designs.

Do use Web dev tools you haven’t used before.

Do embrace different aspects of the IA roles.


Where are you from?

What program are you in and what year?

How much experience in building pages/sites?

information architecture overview
Information Architecture Overview

What is Information Architecture?

What Do Information Architects Do?

Approaches to Information Architecture

Information Architecture Process

Design and Information Architecture

Designers and Information Architects

Information as Product

what is information architecture
What is Information Architecture?

Builds on Skills, Methods & History of Architecture

IA is not just an analogy

IA is Process-Oriented

IA is both Art & Science

Built upon Theory (Knowledge & Experiments)

Realized in Practice (Skills & Experience)

IA is a Dynamic Discipline

Technologies are continually changing

People have accelerating needs & expectations

what defines info architectures
What defines Info Architectures?

Convey organization & information

Provide a logical, understandable structure for current (& future) information

Seem well-designed (perception)

Provide Just in Time information

Support reference & retrieval

A picture worth a thousand words

An architecture to find those 1,000 words & more

Not always a simple picture

Communicate structure

Where to go

Where you’ve been

How much is there

Site Maps

not just graphics
Not just graphics

Tables of content


Shelves of Books

List of links

what do info architects do
What Do Info Architects Do?

Use Tools and Methods

Apply Experience & Understanding of Users

Manage the IA Process

Roles Include

Application Development

Content Development




Product Management

what do info architects do1
What Do Info Architects Do?

Work through an IA Methodology







Iterate the process

Adapt to technology, information & customer needs

aka ia

Experience Design

Experience Modeling (X-Mod)

User Modeling

Usability Engineering


Interaction Design

Multimedia Developer

Instructional Designer

Web Developer

The Visio job search…

information architecture is
Information Architecture is …


Strategic for Information Systems

Tactical for Technologies

Profitable for the Organization

Central to Business

Applicable to Any Endeavor

Not just Web sites

Information & Process



ia in context
IA in Context


Information Seeking

Information Architecture

Information Retrieval





approaches to ia
Approaches to IA

Mediator of the Design Process

Interpreter of User Needs and Uses

Applying Theory to Practice (Top-Down)

Designing & Extending from Examples (Bottom-Up)


Producer, Director

Artist or Scientist

Objective / Subjective

Project Lead – IA – Designer – Usability - QA

what about design
What about Design?

Design as Problem Solving

View of the world as an information space

Improving the information space

Products that solve these problems

Information as Product

Connections & Organization as Product

Processes that solve problems

Education (eLearning)

Business Transformation (Web 2.0)

Information Architecture is critical for good Application Design

design ia
Design & IA

Creating & managing information

Visualization alone isn’t enough

Users. Content. Context.

design is an attitude
Design is an Attitude

View of the world as a problem space

Improving the problem space

Solving problems that no one even knew existed

Creativity put to use

Applying solutions from one domain to another (synthesis)

designers information architects
Designers & Information Architects

Focus on the Users

Apply Theory

Understand the system

Use tools proficiently

Extend the system

Create new systems

Solve problems

our ia methodology
Our IA Methodology




Technology Independent

Technology Dependent




ia methodology
IA Methodology







principles of ui design ia
Principles of UI Design & IA

Allow feedback control

Expose the UI functionality

Make functionality clear & distinct

Reduce working memory load

Show progress & context of task

Support experts & novices

Let user select the right interface

Reveal UI & system functionality in phases

Amount of information shown, preferred

what about visualization ia
What about Visualization & IA?

Interactive GUIs are a good start

Graphical views of information can provide an overview

Is a picture (of an action) worth 1000 words?

Is a picture of a dataset worth more?

Graphics help with abstraction, how can they represent specifics?

Visual metaphors may be one key

Navigation as a mechanism for interpretation

types of visualization interaction
Types of Visualization Interaction

Windows, Icons, Menus & Pointers

Desktops, dialogs & forms

Colors & Highlighting

Panning & Zooming

Focus-plus context

Magic Lens, Fisheye lens

guis are good for users
GUIs are good for users

But let’s not go overboard.

“Although intuitively appealing, graphical overviews of large document spaces have yet to be shown to be useful and understandable for users. In fact, evaluations that have been conducted so far provide negative evidence as to their usefulness.”

Jef Raskin’s Humane Interface

Well architected information makes GUIs better

The information structure(s) should guide the interface

deliverables for next week
Deliverables for next week

Sign up for the listserv

Course readings & discussion

Tools Tutorials & Review in two weeks

Using your iSchool account (FTP)

Visio & OmniGraffle