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Information Architecture for the World Wide Web: Designing Large-scale Web Sites Paperback – February 11, 1998

ISBN-13: 063-6920922827 ISBN-10: 1565922824 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In Chapter 6 of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, the authors discuss the details of good search-engine design. In a bitingly humorous segment, they analyze a Web site's search-page results: "Let's say you're interested in knowing what the New Jersey sales tax is.... So you go to the State of New Jersey web site and search on sales tax. The 20 results are scored at either 84% or 82% relevant. Why does each document receive only one of two scores?... And what the heck makes a document 2% more relevant than another?"

With a swift and convincing stroke, the authors of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web tear down many entrenched ideas about Web design. Flashy animations are cool, they agree, as long as they don't aggravate the viewer. Nifty clickable icons are nice, but are their meanings universal? Is the search engine providing results that are useful and relevant? This book acts as a mirror and with careful questioning causes the reader to think through all the elements and decisions required for well-crafted Web design. --Jennifer Buckendorff

From Library Journal

Saul Wurman first used the term Information Architecture in his book of the same name. His book was mostly lots of really pretty pictures of media and webs compiled from a graphic design perspective; they were beautiful but never really dealt with the information end of things. Rosenfeld and Morville get it right. They show how to design manageable sites right the first time, sites built for growth. They discuss ideas of organization, navigation, labeling, searching, research, and conceptual design. This is almost common sense, which is often overlooked in the rush for cascading style sheets and XML. Essential reading for librarians and information managers who deal with the World Wide Web in any parts of their jobs.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (February 11, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565922824
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565922822
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,487,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Easy reading and very clear.
Karla Yadira Marroquin Lop
There *are* problems here - it's a tad out of date, there's rather too much low-end padding and there's little in the way of practical advice.
Mr. R. Horberry
Most books on web site design are really about user interface design.
John Leo Mencias

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Jure Kodžoman on March 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
What this book does is show you how librarians fit into 21st century. The book does very good promotion of IA itself, and shows why it's important.

The first half of the book is somewhat theoretical and hard to read. However, it's really worth reading. It will explain some concepts (thesaurus, categorization,...) librarians have used for a very long time, and how to easily used them while designing web sites.

The second part is where the book gets more practical and actually shows how to use IA in practice, which was, at least for me, the more interesting part. If you are in any way connected to web development, you should read this book.

The entire book is exactly what it says it is - "Designing large-scale web sites". Although some concepts can be applied to smaller sites, you will hardly find resources to make use of some of the things authors talk about.

There are many books on usability out there, but this one is dedicated to findability. If these terms are new to you, I recommend you read Steve Krug's "Don't Make Me Think" and Jakob Nielsen's "Prioritizing Web Usability" before reading this book. It might make it easier to read, and the book will definitely make more sense to you.
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By John Leo Mencias on March 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
I had been looking around for a book like this for some time now: one that guides me through the crucial conceptual design phase of web site development. Most books on web site design are really about user interface design. This book offers a top-down planning approach to getting from the recognition of a need for a web site through to the final working design. It plugs up a lot of the gaping holes that topic-specific design texts leave open.
The over-riding concern and emphasis in the first section of the book is on how to organize the information on the web site in such a way that the target audience can readily get at it. To this end, the authors focus on three 'systems' that need to be developed, implemented and coordinated on a web site: a navigation system, a labeling system and a searching system. Once these systems are thought through and designed then the rest of the work becomes a matter of filling in the information content, functionalities and the bells and whistles.
Clear, concise and even a bit humorous, this book will definitely give you a peace of mind if you find yourself a bit overwhelmed at times when deciding on just how you will approach building a web site.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By K. Mohnkern on October 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
A book on web design written by librarians. Skeptical? So was I. But darned if they don't hit the ol' web design nail right on the ol' head. (Okay, they're not really librarians - but both authors come from a Library Science background.) When I started on my Interaction Design masters degree, there wasn't anything written sepcifically about it. So my education was based on other fields - architecture, rhetoric, psychology, graphic design. Now we're starting to see some good Interaction Design books coming from experts in those other fields.
The strength of this book is its emphasis on defining a navigable structure for a site. It covers structure, navigation, searching/browsing, and this is the first book I've seen that spends a whole chapter on button and link labelling systems. It's added labelling to my ID vocabulary.
I do agree with another reviewer who wanted more in-depth examples, but with enough web experience it's easy to come up with examples on our own. So I gave the book the fifth star.
This and Jennifer Fleming's Web Navigation (both O'Reilly books) are must-haves for web designers.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book can easily be divided into 2 sections. The first is an overview of how and why information is organized. The second is how to apply that information when planning and designing a large website. To the author's credit, they took a potentially dull topic and actually made it interesting. I would have appreciated less background and theory and more practical advise on how to plan a website though. There are some gems in this book, but you really have to dig to find them. Since there is really no "hands on" advise this is a good book to read while traveling. If your designing a large enterprise website you would be wise to read at least the second half of this book...especially if you are in management.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Jenifer Wells on February 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
The basics of information architecture must be understood by anyone designing a web site. Granted, some people intuitively know these basics, but for the rest of the world, this book will introduce you. Coming to IA from the highly organized world of library science, the authors know the ins and outs of making information available in an easy to use organizational system. Obviously, anyone going into IA should read this book; it's considered a standard. It's not a bad idea to loan it to your content developers and coders, too, though. If they know a little better where you're coming from when you suggest ways to organize information and pages, they may be more receptive to your suggestions. The only drawback is that the sites used for examples are a bit dated now, and there are some innovative things being done currently with navigation that aren't covered here as a result. Get this book now, and if they come out in a year or two with a revised edition, take a look at the new examples.
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