Sunday, 31 August 2014

Blog 2

Define what Information Architecture is, and describe what role an Information Architect plays in the development of a web site. Be sure to use images if possible and provide references to the literature. (Minimum of 500 words.)

Information architecture is the structural design, labelling and organising of environments where information is shared such as web sites, intranets, online communities and software applications. The implementation of Information Architecture is to aid in the usability and find-ability of the information in these environments. (What is IA?, 2013)

Figure 1: 
Information Architecture (Morville and Rosenfeld, 2007)
Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville explain Information Architecture with a simple Venn diagram (figure 1), it shows that information architecture is at the centre of a environments context, content and users. All of these facets need to be understood and researched in order to achieve successful information architecture. There is no single formula for creating an environment with great information architecture. (Morville and Rosenfeld, 2007)
The type of environment that the architect is designing will often dictate the practices performed as the needs of both the organisation and user always greatly vary with every project.

Information Architecture is becoming more important to more companies as they have an increased reliability on online information. There are a variety of things to consider when considering if implementing formalised Information Architecture into your web environments, they are as follows...

-  The cost of finding information
-  The cost of not finding information
-  The value of education
-  The cost of construction
-  The cost of maintenance
-  The cost of training
-  The value of brand

(Morville and Rosenfeld, 2007)

An information Architect uses a variety of practices to design information sharing environments. Usability testing is usually performed to determine how users interact with the environment, from there the architect will design strategies for successfully designing the information for those users.
(Information Architect: Job Description, 2013)

There is no formal qualification that you are required to have in order to practice information architecture however there are courses are becoming more common. An Information Architect could use any or a variety of the following fields in order to create a successful information architecture…
Figure 2
Information Architecture  Concepts (Morville and Rosenfeld, 2007)

· Info design
· User experience
· Knowledge management
· Experience design
· Interaction Design
· Content Management
· Customer relationship management
A diverse background is often an asset for Information Architects as many different disciplines can aid in designing the architecture of an environment.
(Morville and Rosenfeld, 2007)

The most important aspect of being an Information Architect is understanding the users needs and behaviour. The connection between the users and the information is the key and by using Information Architecture concepts (figure 2) the basic website can become a portal of easy access information, giving your users exactly what they need. (Morville and Rosenfeld, 2007)

Take a screen capture of the main page of web site of your own choice and post it on your blog.


a) Create a table (similar to page 101 of Morville - Chapter 6) describing the navigational labels. The table should present the name of the label, the destination page’s heading label, and the destination page’s <TITLE> label. 

Label Destination’s heading label Destination’s <TITLE>label
Top-of-page 
Home
About
Web
Design
Print
Portfolio
  -Brand/Logo
   -Graphic Design
   -Infographic Design
Blog
Links
Contact
-
-
About
Web design and development
Branding graphic design
Printing
Portfolio 

portfolio#identity-logo-portfolio
portfolio#graphic-design-portfolio
portfolio#infographic-design

Us posts
Links
Contact
-
The Creative Agency & Roundhouse
The Creative Agency & Roundhouse
Web Design Gold Coast & Roundhouse — The Creative Agency & Roundhouse
Design — The Creative Agency & Roundhouse
Printing & Offset and Digital & Signage — The Creative Agency & Roundhouse
Portfolio — The Creative Agency & Roundhouse 

Portfolio — The Creative Agency & Roundhouse Portfolio — The Creative Agency & Roundhouse Portfolio — The Creative Agency & Roundhouse 
BLOG — The Creative Agency & Roundhouse
Links — The Creative Agency & Roundhouse
Contact us Today — The Creative Agency & Roundhouse
Body navigation
Learn More
Get Started
-
Printing
Contact
-
Printing & Offset and Digital & Signage — The Creative Agency & Roundhouse
Contact us Today — The Creative Agency & Roundhouse
Bottom-of-page
Home
About
Web
Design
Print
Portfolio
Blog
Links
Contact
-
-
About 
Web design and development 
Branding graphic design 
Printing 
Portfolio #web-design-portfolio
Us posts 
Links 
Contact
-
The Creative Agency & Roundhouse
The Creative Agency & Roundhouse
Web Design Gold Coast & Roundhouse — The Creative Agency & Roundhouse
Design — The Creative Agency & Roundhouse
Printing & Offset and Digital & Signage — The Creative Agency & Roundhouse
Portfolio — The Creative Agency & Roundhouse 
BLOG — The Creative Agency & Roundhouse 
Links — The Creative Agency & Roundhouse 
Contact us Today — The Creative Agency & Roundhouse


b) Describe what labels you do not like and why, and suggest improvements. 
The majority of the labels are appropriate for the site. The blog label could be changed to articles instead as the content is more like articles you would see in a magazine rather than the mixed bag of news, articles and links that is common with blogs. The Brand/Logo label could use the addition of the word design on the end to make it 'Brand/Logo Design'. The other portfolio labels have the word 'design' as the companies main field of work is design, the Brand/Logo label lacks this making it inconsistent.


c) Describe whether there are any inconsistencies in the labelling system between the pages (in terms of style, presentation, syntax, granularity, comprehensiveness and audience). 
Due to the one page nature of the portfolio section of the site there is an inconsistency in layout with the second tier navigation items. When entering portfolio you are actually taken to the first tier item, Brand/Logo which could be confusing for the user. Also all the headings are the same for the portfolio second tier items which is inconsistent with the other pages.
The headings and <title> labels on this site vary and are very large, this is a SEO strategy that the designer is using but could be confusing for users.
The labels use the appropriate language for the audience that would be using the site.

d) Describe what type of navigation is used? 
The main navigation system for this site is a global system along the top of the site. There are also breadcrumbs on pages with second tier navigation and the use of tag clouds and category lists on the blog pages which are quite messy and confusing.

e) Describe what type of search system is used? 
The search system used in this site is only available for the blog articles. It can be found on the blog page and searches for key words only within the articles. The search bar is very hard to find and has limited functionality and could be improved by including it on every page and increase its search range.

3. Examine at least two other similar or competing web sites and undertake the following tasks: 

Site 1
a) Provide screen shots of these competing web sites. 

b) Describe how similar the labelling systems are? 
The main navigation items are very similar to the Roundhouse site however this site breaks down the sections further down in the menu so it is easier for the user to find exactly what they are looking for. The language used is more complex than the Roundhouse site which makes you feel as if it is for a more upmarket/corporate audience.

c) State whether you think any particular site is clearly the winner (and if so, why)? 
I feel like the Emotio site is more comprehensive and easier to navigate however it could be to complex for users who arent in the creative industry.

Site 2
a) Provide screen shots of these competing web sites. 



b) Describe how similar the labelling systems are? 
The labelling system between this site and the Roundhouse site are very different. This site has no global navigation and you can only navigate through the body. This site uses question based labels which works well as it is used consistently.

c) State whether you think any particular site is clearly the winner (and if so, why)? 
I believe the Roundhouse sites labelling is more affective than this site, although this site uses its question based navigation well it is restrictive and could be confusing for some uses.

References

Information Architect: Job Description 2013, viewed 30 August 2013, <https://www.freshgigs.ca/blog/information-architect-job-description/>

Morville, P & Rosenfeld, L 2007, Information Architecture For The World Wide Web,
O’Reilly Media, California.

What is IA? 2013, viewed 30 August 2014, <http://iainstitute.org/en/learn/resources/what_is_ia.php>.

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