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Information Architecture IBE312. Ch 3 – User Needs and Behaviors & Ch 4 The Anatomy of IA 2013. Information Architecture. The combination of organization, labeling, and navigation schemes within an information system.

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information architecture ibe312


Ch 3 – UserNeeds and Behaviors


Ch 4 The Anatomyof IA




  • The combination of organization, labeling, and navigation schemes within an information system.
  • The structural design of an information space to facilitate task completion and intuitive access to content.
  • The art and science of structuring and classifying web sites and intranets to help people find and manage information.
  • An emerging discipline and community of practice focused on bringing principles of design and architecture to the digital landscape.

Some notes from Morville

things that information architects do
Things that Information Architects do…
  • Understand user and system requirements
  • Design (and build) organization, navigation, and metadata systems
  • Evaluate the user experience

Figure out if it works

Figure out what’s needed

Build it

Design it

(compare with physical architects)

why is ia important
Why is IA Important?
  • Cost of finding(time, frustration)
  • Cost of not finding(bad decisions, alternate channels)
  • Cost of construction(staff, technology, planning, bugs)
  • Cost of maintenance(content management, redesigns)
  • Cost of training(employees, turnover)
  • Value of education(related products, projects, people)
  • Value of brand (identity, reputation, trust)
why is ia important examples
Why is IA Important? (examples)
  • Employees spend 35% of productive time searching for information online. Working Council for Chief Information Officers
  • The Fortune 1000 stands to waste at least $2.5 billion / year due to an inability to locate and retrieve information. IDC
  • Poorly architected retailing sites are underselling by as much as 50%. Forrester Research
  • 50% of web sales are lost because customers can’t find content fast enough. Gartner Group
  • Content on a typical public corporate website grows at an 80% rate annually. The CMS Report
Vividence Research
  • The Tangled Web
  • Vividence found poorly organized search results and poor information architecture design to be the two most common and serious usability problems
ch3 user needs behaviors
Ch3 UserNeeds & Behaviors
  • Howinformationneedsvary
  • Howinformationseekingbehaviorsvary
  • How and why to learn more about info seekingbehaviors
misconception finding information can be addressed with a simple algorithmic approach
Misconception: findinginformationcan be addressedwith a simple algorithmicapproach
  • So wethinkwecanmeasuretheexperienceoffinding by howlong it takes, or howmanymouseclickts it takes, or howmanyviewedpages it takes to findthe ”right” answerwhenthere is no right answer. (p.32)
  • SearchAnalytics – should have bothquantitative and qualitativeapproaches. Web stats + userprovided (taskanalysis, surveys, focusgroups)
information needs fishing metaphor
Informationneeds – fishingmetaphor
  • The perfectcatch – looking for a specificfact
  • Lobster trapping – looking for more than just a single answer. Hope whateverambles in will be useful.
  • Indiscriminate driftnetting – leavenostoneunturnedon a topic. Exhaustivesearch.
  • I’veseenyoubefore, MobyDick…-tag it so youcanfind it again. Bookmarking (
type of needs fishing metaphor
Type ofneeds – fishingmetaphor
  • The perfectcatch – know item seeking – know whatyouarelooking for
  • Lobster trapping – exploratoryseeking – learnsomething from theprocess – a fewusefulitems – openended – springboard for newsearches
  • Indiscriminate driftnetting – exhaustivesearch-wanteverything
  • I’veseenyoubefore, MobyDick…-need it again – refinding a piece ofusefulinformation - tagging
precision vs recall
Precision vs. Recall


= Recall-oriented Searching

Orthogonal concepts:

A few good things

Exploratory seeking

Known-item seeking

Users’ Needs



Page Layoutand Design

The right thing

= Precision-oriented Searching

information seeking behaviors
  • Integration – do searching, browsing and asking in the same findingsession
  • Iterations – do it in severalcycles to refine findings
berry picking search and browse and search
Berry-picking: search and browse and search…
  • Aftersearch – youcanbrowse a sub-category
  • Afterbrowsing – youcansearch
ch 4 anatomy of ia
Ch 4 Anatomyof IA
  • Visualizing IA & categorizingcomponents
    • Organization systems
    • Navigation systems
    • Search systems
    • Labeling systems
  • Welldesigned IA is invisible to theusers
ia components
IA components
  • Organization systems – contentcategories –categorizeinformation (subjects, chronologically)
  • Navigation systems – helpusersmovethroughthecontent –browse or lookthroughinformation
  • Search systems – allowusers to searchthecontent (query, index)
  • Labeling systems – describecategories, options and links to languagethat is meaningful to users (controlledvocabularies, thesauri)
  • Browsing aids – organization systems, site-wide and localnavigationsitemaps/TOC, siteindexes, guides, and wizards, contextual links.
  • Search aids – searchinterface, querylanguage, retrievalalgorithm, searchzonesand results
  • Content and task – headings, embedded links and metadata, chunks, lists, sequential aids, identifiers,
  • ”Invisible” components – controlledvocabularies, thesauri, rulesets.

Wheream I

  • How do I search for it
  • How do i getaroundthissite
  • What’simportant
  • What’savailable
  • What’s happening here
  • Do theywant my opinion
  • Howcan i contact a human
  • What’stheiraddress
a different type of page bulk of the page points to content elsewhere
A different type ofpage – bulk ofthepagepoints to contentelsewhere


  • Whereweare
  • Helpsusmove to othersrelatedpages
  • Helpsmovethroughsitehierarchy
  • Helpsmanipulatecontent for betterbrowsing
  • Gettinghelp






Bottom-up IA – contentstructure (e.g. recipe format), sequencing, tagging – helpanswerwheream I, what’shere, where to og from here.. Findwhat I need from middlewithoutlearningthetop-downorganization.


“Findability will eventually be recognized as a central and defining challenge in the development of web sites, intranets, knowledge management systems and online communities.”

Peter Morville, The Age of Findability

  • “A case of librarians trying to muscle into the usability field with their own spin…findability is just a subset of user-centered design.”

ambient findability
Ambient Findability

surrounding, encircling, enveloping

the ability to find anyone or anything

from anywhere at anytime


David Rose