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

4.3 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0321600806
ISBN-10: 8131755002
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 2 edition (February 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8131755002
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321600806
  • ASIN: 0321600800
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,102,602 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 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.
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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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