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Practical Information Architecture: A Hands-On Approach to Structuring Successful Websites Paperback – November 9, 2000
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From the Back Cover
you how to create an underlying structure so your site communicates your ideas, promotes your services, and sells your goods. In many ways, this structure is like an architectural blueprint - but instead of showing the builders where to put the kitchen, the structure maps out the location of the information you want to share with those who visit your site. The structure is the "blueprint" of the information architect.
"A well-designed structure helps the designer create more effective graphics and navigation. It helps the programmer write the code. Most important of all, it keeps your visitors from getting lost, frustrated or bored.
"Unfortunately, most people don't think about the structure; in fact, most people don't even know such a thing exists. Instead, they plunge ahead with the more entertaining parts of a web project, like the graphics and typefaces, and let the structure grow naturally - like weeds in a garden.
"It doesn't have to be that way "
Practical Information Architecture is a concise, step-by-step guide to this vital but all too often neglected aspect of website creation. Author Eric Reiss draws on his extensive experience in the field to guide you through the information architecture process, from defining your goals to fine-tuning your site. Supported by a wealth of illustrations and examples, Practical Information Architecture is an invaluable source of hands-on advice to help you:
o set meaningful website goals
o determine what information needs to be on the site to achieve these goals
o incorporate useful browser-based features that enhance the user experience
o produce easily understood diagrams to guide programmers and graphic designers
o define menus that visitors will immediately understand
o segment a site to meet the needs of widely divergent target audiences
o understand the impact of wireless technologies such as WAP.
Practical Information Architecture is written for web marketing professionals, site-owners, designers, webmasters, copywriters, consultants, students, and anyone else involved in building a website.
About the Author
Eric Reiss has been actively involved in the creation of multimedia and web projects for over a decade. Following a long career as a senior copywriter for one of Europe's leading business-to-business advertising agencies, he now heads The FatDUX Group (fatdux.com), which provides specialized business services for on-line and off-line ventures. A Texan by birth, Mr. Reiss has lived in Copenhagen, Denmark since 1976.
Top customer reviews
Still, I found the content didn't match my needs at any level. For example, there was little in terms of "wisdom mcnuggets" or information architecture theory that I could apply broadly in my work. Also, Reiss relied too often on the "I know it's obvious but it's still worth mentioning" approach. As a result, I was skimming the later chapters having lost faith that the book had anything new to offer.
My biggest frustration, however, is that the book doesn't seem to cover anything completely. (This is a fault I find with many books.) I need an author to say "I know my topic, and in my opinion, you need to master these six things". Or perhaps "I know my topic, and it's too big to cover in a single book, so I'll focus on what is (in my opinion) the most common and devastating error people make". Instead, I got what seemed to be stream of consciousness writing - whatever appeared in the book was whatever Reiss could think of at the moment. Therefore, the book comes off as a collection of "should do's", most of which are obvious, even for people who are new to building and managing websites.
As for my rating, one star would suggest the book is completely worthless. I'm not prepared to go that far, but I'll give the next worst rating. I suspect that Reiss has valuable things to say, but this book didn't get them across.
About me: I'm neither an expert nor a total novice in this area. I have basic business, technical, and project management skills. If someone has *none* of these skills, maybe they'll think this book is worthwhile.
This is one of the few books for web designers written by a communications expert (Reiss started out as a business writer) that effectively explains information architecture as a means to achieve business goals, which so many web people fail to grasp. I thought Chapter 6 and Reiss's discussions of shared references and customer trust were particularly valuable.
Some of the reviews I've read think this book is far too simple and doesn't cover anything in depth. Maybe it's because Reiss discusses basic GENERIC issues. For example, his discussion of hyperlinks only runs about 8 pages. But the point is, if you understand the principles layed out in these 8 pages, you'll be able to arrive at good solutions on your own, without having to look them up in a 300-page Nielsen's Guide to the Use of Hyperlinks. (How nice that Reiss assumes that the people who read this book will actually THINK FOR THEMSELVES once in a while!)
Is this book for beginners? By all means! It's easy to read and gets right to the point and walks you through the process from A to Z. Is is for the pros? Maybe not everyone, but to dismiss it as "heard it all before" is grossly unfair. (I wonder if some high-priced professionals are scared this guy gave away too many of their little secrets!) Personally I'm not too proud to acknowlege a few holes in my education and am glad when someone helps set me straight. I think this book has real and lasting value and I'd give it 6 stars if I could!