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Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web

4.2 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 075-2064712503
ISBN-10: 0735712506
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"...a significant, clear and useful port in the increasing data storm..." -- Richard Saul Wurman, Author of 80 books, including Information Architects, and creator of the field of Information Architecture

"Finally, a book about the technical topics of web architecture and usability that is fun to read, informative and authoritative." -- Don Norman, Northwestern University and The Nielsen Norman Group, Author of The Design of Everyday Things

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 Webintroduces 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 Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders (October 26, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735712506
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735712508
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,405,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback
Christina Wodtke has done for Information Architecture what Steve Krug did for usability - produce a practical and accessible introduction to the field. 'Blueprints' provides a pragmatic look at the practice of information architecture, illustrating a solid "toolbox" of techniques and methods useful for web designers, producers, developers, and others involved in the creation and evolution of web sites.
Wodtke's quirky humor and light tone make the book an easy read, but don't let the fresh style convince you that the content is lightweight. Behind the breezy prose is solid instruction in methods that hit the sweet spot of effective tools that still work with limited budgets. The "How-to" coaching is coupled with reasonable explanations about why and when to apply the techniques...Ms. Wodtke doesn't just prescribe methodology, she informs the reader with enough theory behind the practice to explain and justify it to management, clients, or other team members.
The tools taught in the book all center on creating a web site with great usability and findability - where things are easy to use and content is easy to find. While the "toolbox" isn't complete, it's a great foundation for pursuing a user-centered approach to creating web sites.
The book's biggest shortcoming is inevitable - IA is a complex field, and there could be so much more detail on some of the topics. Sometimes I felt that I wanted more on a particular subject, and it wasn't there. But to keep the book readable and accessible, some things have to be left out. The book's recommended reading list does go into more depth on many of the topics, providing an avenue for people to learn more once they've absorbed the lessons here.
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