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Information Architecture


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Web Design & Information Architecture

Users can feel lost even in a relatively small information space that is not well organized. The problem becomes even greater when you consider the possibility that people can arrive at any given web page from any other page on the web. They may not always enter your site from your home page. Web Site Design Services

Information architecture focuses on designing effective navigation, organization, labeling, and search systems. It is an interdisciplinary field that draws upon the research and practices of information and library science, computer science, graphic design, and psychology. The role of the information architect is crucial to the planning and conceptual design/redesign stages of web development, as good information architecture lays the foundation upon which a website is built.

The steps to take in coming up with an architecture for your website include:
Finding out what the mission or purpose of the website is--why will people come to your site?
Determining the immediate and long range goals of the site--are they different?
Pinpointing the intended audiences and conducting a requirements analysis for each group.
Collecting content and doing inventory.

Determining the organizational structure of the website, which can include:

narrow and deep
broad and shallow

Creating an outline of the site, which can include:

site maps: maps that reflect navigation and main content areas. They are usually constructed to look like flowcharts and show how users will navigate from one section to another.
content maps: detailed maps that show what exists on each page and how content on the pages is related.
Creating a visual blueprint of the site, which can include:
page schematics: black and white line drawings or block diagrams to hand off to a visual designer. These may or may not reflect layout and are used mostly to inform the designer and the client exactly what information, links, content, promotional space, and navigation will be on every page of the site. Schematics help illustrate priority.

Defining the navigation systems

Tips for creating usable navigational systems:
Navigation should:

Be easy to learn.
Be consistent throughout the website.
Provide feedback.
Use the minimum number of clicks to arrive at the next destination.
Use clear and intuitive labels.
Support user tasks.
Have each link be distinct from other links.
Group navigation into logical units.
Avoid making the user scroll to get to important navigation or submit buttons.
Not disable the browser's back button.

Orange County Web Design Resources Overview

Orange County Web Design: Web Design
This page discusses principles of usability for design and includes lists of Dos and Don'ts for usability in design.

Orange County Web Design: Web Design Writing
This page offers writing tips for making web content more readable and comprehensible.

Orange County Web Design: Web Design Information Architecture
This page discusses practical information architecture for website design, including steps to take for coming up with an information architecture for your site and tips for creating usable navigation systems.

Orange County Web Design: Web Design Quality Assurance
This page discusses the importance of incorporating quality assurance into your production processes and offers some areas to cover in your own quality assurance checklist.

Orange County Web Design: Website Design Links
This page provides some recommended links to other website design sites with a usability focus.

Orange County Web Design: Web Usability Bibliography

This is a list of published books, papers, and websites discussing usability issues in website design.

Web design services in Orange County

Los Angeles Web Design Services | Los Angeles Web Design Directory

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