Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness
Information Architecture, or “IA” for short, is an over-loaded word that means many things to many people. I’ve found it helpful to think in terms of three flavors, summarized in the following table:
This helps me balance and address competing concerns and trade-offs, as well as think about the bigger picture. For example, who cares about a bunch of content types like Code Samples, How Tos, etc. if there’s no useful information in them, or if they are misused and abused? That’s where the Technical or Domain IA come into the picture. The Tech IA helps you dive deep into a particular technology or scenario. But who cares in either case, if you can’t even find the information or knowledge? That’s where the Site IA comes into play. The Site IA is about finding and browsing information on a page and connecting to relevant information in a simple way.
Examples are worth a thousand words so here is an example of each …
Content IA Here is an example of some parts of a content IA. Here is a simple example of a few content types:
Here is an example of a schema for the code example type above:
Tech Domain IA Here is an example of a domain IA for Windows native. It’s a simple collection of common topics and an organized set of product features:
The topics are derived by grouping customer scenarios into buckets or categories. For example, here is a set of scenarios for performance:
For more information on the Windows IA, see my related post, Windows IA (“Information Architecture”).
Site IA Here is a very simple pattern for a user interaction pattern with information that supports …
Here is an example using the Windows Dev Center:
See my related posts: