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Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web (2nd Edition) [Paperback]

Christina Wodtke , Austin Govella


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Book Description

Jan. 22 2009 0321600800 978-0321600806 2
Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web, Second Edition introduces the core concepts of information architecture: organizing web site content so that it can be found, designing website interaction so that it's pleasant to use, and creating an interface that is easy to understand. This book helps designers, project managers, programmers, and other information architecture practitioners avoid costly mistakes by teaching the skills of information architecture swiftly and clearly.

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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Information Architecture defined...(2nd Edition review) March 24 2009
By John McSwain - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wodkte and Govella do a good job in outlining their definition of the basic principles of IA:
- Design for Wayfinding
- Set expectations and provide feedback
- Design ergonomically
- Be consistent / consider standards
- Provide error support (Prevent, Protect, and Inform)
- Rely on Recognition rather than on recall
- Provide for people of varying skill levels
- Provide contextual help and documentation

While the illustrations that drive home the subject matter can be a little clipart-ish at times, the concepts are presented in a non-technical and non-jargon based way. Each topic is explained clearly using an outline / numbered bullet format to ensure that each section can be clearly understood independently and collectively. Items such as `Who are the users?' may seem trivial at first, but imagine how many interpretations of `who are users' exist with an organization and the problems that arise when the user begins to morph throughout the product lifecycle. Wodtke and Govella decompose several non-obvious items such as persona creation and navigational types (structural, associative, and utility) into chunks that are comprehensible (Hrair Limit). I was genuinely surprised to find a section for Social Architecture which exposed me to topics such as Kurt Lewin's formula for understanding human behavior and the elements of social architecture: identity + elements, relationships + elements, and activity + elements.

The book can be read from cover to cover, if time permits. However, most of the world will probably use this book as a reference guide for completing IA related tasks as they arise. I would strongly recommend that all aspiring and current IAs give the book a once over to spawn new thoughts about the discipline or to renew the interest in keeping things usable and findable.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Bit Ironic - But Recommended Nontheless May 23 2011
By Von - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have a degree in Information Science - but its been a few years so I was looking for an overview of the field to refresh my memory, and also to get up to date on any advances in the field of information classification, methods for subject matter breakdown, application of taxonomy, etc ...

So, overall I'm rating this four stars as a good overview of Information Architecture. They manage to cover a vast and advanced field in a reasonably sized space. They do it pretty well, considering. I don't regret the purchase and I do recommend it for the beginning / intermediate user.

However (caveats):

I can't help but see the irony in the presentation. ie ... in covering the subject matter that concerns itself with the science and methods behind classifying information simply and clearly for human consumption?:

The book is all over the map.

Headers for key subjects are not always clear, simple, and consistent at all. Key concepts that are essential to understanding a core subject - are at times buried in colloquial verbiage that serves more to make the subject more confusing that it should. At times I expected the authors to throw in little smiley faces and cute picture of puppy dogs and flowers to make the subject less intimidating and more appealing.

Not necessary - simplicity and clarity are the hallmarks of good IA, and in trying to make the book 'feel' more friendly, they break the rules inherent in what they are trying to teach you to do - and what not to do. In doing so they make it more difficult to learn, and harder to find what you are looking for ... which is exactly what they are trying to teach you not to do!

Like I said: 'Blueprints' is so ironic that it inspired me to take the time to write and post this review. In addition:

The authors are associated with an IA site called 'Boxes and Arrows'. I took a look at the site and my first impression was that it was way more difficult to navigate and understand the hierarchy than it should be: especially for an IA and content management career site.

Then - at one point in the book - they address this. They discuss a redesign of the site that will make it easier for users to find what they are looking for, and get involved with the site.

But the work was never done on the site! It's an IA site, about the field of making information clear and findable, that is not clear and the information is not findable. And they discuss this in the book that they wrote about learning good IA. Then ... they never implemented the fixes they discuss as an illustration in their own book!

Huh?? I am laughing right now because I find irony very funny :) Especially when its so cool and circular like this is. They do seem like nice people and I did get a lot out of the book however. With a bit of tweaking a new edition of the book could be a whole lot more effective (and fix the damn site!!)
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great intro to information architecture May 16 2010
By Ghaida Zahran - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is not meant for specialized Information Architects, rather it is aimed at Designers who need to perform IA tasks as part of their job. The book touches on key points such as creating personas and user-flows. This easy-to-read book carries a light-hearted tone, and charming illustrations by Michael Fleming are used as humorous visual aids for the concepts.

Concepts such as usability basics, user-centered design, and social web design are explained, and there is even a chapter with a case study on the Boxes & Arrows website. The book is a great addition to any interaction designer's library.
14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three Information Architecture Heroes... March 9 2009
By EFFETTI - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Now I have three information design heros - Tufte, Wodtke & Govella. "Information Architecture - Blueprints For The WEB" SECOND ADDITION by Wodtke & Govella is exactly what the title suggests - a guide to effective form, structure and organization of information on the web. A quick glance at the table of contents reveals essential topics like; Principles, Balance, Search, Navigation, Flow, and Social Spaces. Graphic illustrations abound to give the reader concrete examples of the principles the authors set forth. Anyone considering upping their game and thinking relative to web building should get two ( 2 ) copies of this book; one to read, reference and literally carry around, and a second one to replace the first one when it wears out.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book on IA and UX May 26 2014
By eric Roberts - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a definite "Go-To" for all your IA and UX needs.
I found the information in this book very insightful and enlightening as a newcomer to the IA and UX world.
My recommendation is confirmed to others interested in this topic.

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