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Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web [Paperback]

Christina Wodtke
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 16 2002 0735712506 978-0735712508 1

All web sites have an architecture, whether you design one or not-just as every building has an architecture, from the lowly shanty by the railroad track to Chicago¿s tallest skyscraper. Unfortunately, most web sites are shanties, not skyscrapers. Companies that hastily threw up a web site in the dot-com boom days were visited by building inspector Jakob Neilsen, who told them their site should be condemned. But now we are entering a time of rebuilding, and we¿ve got a chance to get it right.

Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web introduces the core concepts of information architecture: organizing web site content so that it can be found, designing web site interaction so that it's pleasant to use, and creating an interface that is easy to understand. This book will help designers, project managers, programmers, and other information architecture practitioners avoid the costly mistakes of the past by teaching the skills of information architecture swiftly and clearly. Use this book and you will pass the usability inspection with flying colors!


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Product Description

From the Back Cover

All web sites have an architecture, whether you design one or not-just as every building has an architecture, from the lowly shanty by the railroad track to Chicago's tallest skyscraper. Unfortunately, most web sites are shanties, not skyscrapers. Companies that hastily threw up a web site in the dot-com boom days were visited by building inspector Jakob Neilsen, who told them their site should be condemned. But now we are entering a time of rebuilding, and we've got a chance to get it right.

Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web introduces the core concepts of information architecture: organizing web site content so that it can be found, designing web site interaction so that it's pleasant to use, and creating an interface that is easy to understand. This book will help designers, project managers, programmers, and other information architecture practitioners avoid the costly mistakes of the past by teaching the skills of information architecture swiftly and clearly. Use this book and you will pass the usability inspection with flying colors!

About the Author

Christina Wodtke has been an information architect for four years and is a leader in the growing field of information architecture. She founded Boxes and Arrows, an online magazine of information architecture; chaired the fourth annual ASIS&T summit on information architecture; and has spoken on the topic of information architecture at conferences ranging from Seybold to Web World.

Christina is a partner at Carbon IQ, a user-experience agency in San Francisco, where she designs information architectures and conducts user research in the quest to create more usable, effective, and profitable products. Clients have included Shockwave.com, Wells Fargo, Sprite, and Houghton Mifflin, as well as nonprofits such as BraveKids.org and UrbanSchool.org.


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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars insight into a true leader July 4 2004
Format:Paperback
this volume is an extremely valuable lesson from a true leader in the field. Wodtke provides insight into the thinking behind some of the most-used services on the Internet today.
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Format:Paperback
This book won't present shocking facts about IA but it puts in writing many things that come in handy when you have to work in this field. The author includes good examples and the book can be read from cover to cover without feeling overwhelmed. Overall, it's worth taking the time out to read a book like this.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Another book on usability Dec 31 2003
Format:Paperback
Three first chapters are quite original. But nothing new in the rest of the book. Good ideas. But I won't say that is a basic book or a must read. Is interesting for people who builds websites or deeply interested in them. Is a mixture of usability, test, architecture. And you cannot say the last word on every topic in the world in 300 pages.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Wake up the editor! Aug. 28 2003
Format:Paperback
I suppose Wodtke knows everything there is to know about IA, but I not so sure about her book writing skills...
Given that she claims that "yes, it's a short book" (false modesty at 350 pages?) it's surprising to notice the number of digressions - into some pretty lame issues, perspectives and tips:
- How she got the idea of writing a book.
- What the book is not about.
- A 30 page discussion of guidelines she does not support.
- A comprehensive guide to the pros and cons of different ways to draw people, e.g. stick people.
- A note that you need a big notebook or a whiteboard and some markers if you want to do some topic mapping.
- A tip that when receiving guests you might break the ice by asking if it was easy to find the way.
Actually, I learned quite a few things by reading this book, but I call for the editor to wake up and give Wodtke some decent advise if she decides to go for a follow up. Any half decent editor could take a hundred pages out of this book in an hour, ending up with a much better read.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Lack of focus May 12 2003
Format:Paperback
When reading the book I was briefly enthralled by her critical take on the standard (guru) guidelines for good site design - but it should have been a warning on what was to come: a mixing of usability, design and information architecture. Off course the three disciplines mingle in every site development, but in a book called Information Architecture it should dedicate all its pages to that subject - but all too often I find myself halfway through a chapter before realizing that it is mainly about design and usability (or even project management) and only secondly about information architecture.
Another thing that seriously degrades the focus is what I see as a shameless attempt to make the book thicker by including non relevant material. On pages describing the organizing of content she manages to use up half a page with a picture of her husband with the caption "Looks cold, doesn't he?".
She could also have spent more time organizing the book's content. With chapters named "Making It All Up, Writing It All Down", "All Together Now" and "Eat Me, Drink Me, Push Me" it is impossible to navigate in, impossible to look for some kind of principle behind the organizing of the content.
The book should have been called "Site Development: IA, Design and Usability for the newcomer".
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must for those in e-learning. May 5 2003
By "sonus"
Format:Paperback
While most people reading this book do so for Web development, it has absolutely amazing tenets for use in e-learning. Information architecture, as with usability are to be studied and emphasized over and over again. Wodtke does an excellent job of creating a personal and compelling set of arguments. A must have resource.
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Format:Paperback
While well written and entertaining, the author fails in this book to present a volume with any real depth. If one is in search of a book that explains information architecture and provides some really good guidelines, this is, however, such a book.
The reader is directed to carefully plan the Web site, to commit it to paper first and to do a prototype which should then be shown to others for their input as users.
All this is fine. But she seems to thumb her nose at credible usability experts (while not naming them one senses one is Jakob Nielsen) by attempting to prove that the rules don't really matter all that much.
That would be obvious when you visit her personal Web site, ... You'll find locating links a considerable task.
I am sure she's very professional and very good at what she does. But this book did not speak to my desire to better understand usability and information architecture in a manner that I could adapt to my own work immediately. It was more of a survey of IA.
I much prefer the work and exhaustive studies of Jakob Nielson and others who provide workable ideas that have proven themselves over time. The author of this book doesn't seem to hold with their findings. And indeed, one must know the rules and then set about to improve on them. So I have no argument with her here.
My argument is that she puts no stock in the "rules" yet she fails to offer any alternatives. Had she done so, the book would have been a breakthrough read. It was not.
Susanna K. Hutcheson
Owner and Executive Copy Director
Powerwriting.com LLC
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4.0 out of 5 stars very good Feb. 7 2003
Format:Paperback
After having seemingly slagged off every book I read these days, I was delighted to pick up a new book and enjoy it - particularly on a subject as seemingly done-to-death as Usability/ Information Architecture/ Experience Design.
Wodtke manages to make a rather tedious subject interesting - even exciting, like her blogs are. She writes in a very readable manner; neither trite like Steve Krug, pompous like Jakob Nielsen nor buttock-clenchingly academic and dull like Jesse James Garrett. Thoroughly recommended
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