Information Architecture

The Value of Content, Part 2: Nobody’s Perfect

Melissa Rach

Get 7 tips for making your content measurement plan perfectly … imperfect.

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Is Your Metadata Miles Away from Complete?

Clinton Forry

Duplicate content and inaccurate or incomplete metadata creates a poor user experience. And sends me into a JAZZ RAGE.

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Shrink to Fit

Lee Thomas

Your web content looks really good in those jeans.

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Improving Your Content’s Signal-to-Noise Ratio

Christine Anameier

Even good content can be "noise." Here are a few tips on how to cut out the static.

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Ask Yourself: Will Anyone Care About This Content?

Christine Benson

Will this information add to the experience? What if you just got rid of it?

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Content User Experience

Christine Benson

Check out this example of content user experience. You know, content. Like, in the happy sense.

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The Value of Content, Part 1: Adam Smith never expected this

Melissa Rach

Brace yourselves, content folks. We're going to talk economics. I promise there will be no math involved.

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Attention information architects: That IS your job

Christine Benson

For a really great website, give your web writers a roadmap.

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"About Us" doesn't have to be all "Ugh."

Julie Vollenweider

Rather than using the "About Us" section of a site like a congratulatory press release, consider approaching it like a magazine’s Editor's Letter. And a little like a middle schooler.

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The John Hodgman Approach to Web Content

Angie King

We take a page from John Hodgman’s fictional reference book and apply it to a client’s website.

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Know Thy User

Meghan Casey

"I always open your emails because I know they'll contain something I can actually use." Ahh, music to our ears. How can we make that happen for every website and e-mail?

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Embrace Your Limits

Christine Benson

Don't get bogged down with what can't be done. Move past the problem and learn three ways to deal with project constraints.

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This Just In: The New York Times is Way Smart!

Elizabeth Saloka

The best interactive graphics are the simplest. No bells and whistles, please.

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What I Learned About Information Architecture From Watching Bad Movies

Christine Benson

Unsuccessful web experiences typically happen because there are somehow barriers between the users and their goals. And some of these barriers are similar to what makes a bad movie bad.

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Response to 10 Most Common Misconceptions About User Experience Design

Christine Benson

The other day I posted Whitney Hess' article 10 Most Common Misconceptions About User Experience Design on Twitter, along with "'User experience is not user interface design' and other good tidbits." Then I re-read the article ... and my response ended up being much longer than 140 characters.

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Here Be Content

Melissa Rach

I have always liked the idea of medieval mapmakers using the phrase "Here Be Dragons" to denote unexplored or dangerous territories.  Sticking a fire-breathing reptile in documentation when you run out of facts? That's panache.

Unexplored and dangerous territories, indeed

These days, people aren't so stylish. When an information architect (or user experience designer) doesn't have the time (or the talent) to document content requirements, they stick a "page stack" on their site map.  It looks like this:

Don' t get me wrong: I'm cool with the stack if there is accompanying documentation that provides content details.  But when an information architect uses the stack in place of content requirements, they are leaving the client in unexplored and dangerous territories (without even a dragon to warn them).

A little dragon goes a long way

So, I have an idea. If you're a web professional doing information architecture and you're not documenting content requirements, stick a dragon on your site map instead of a page stack. This will be a nice heads up for your client and particularly fun for those of you who used to be designers.

If you're a client and you see a dragon on your site map, consider why your information architect is not worried about the information.  Then, call Brain Traffic.

P.S.: Unfortunately, that here-be-dragons bit is mostly a myth. Only one medieval artifact, the Lenox Globe

(ca. 1510), actually has the phrase "here be dragons" on it. Well, technically, there's also the Borgia map (ca. 1430), but it doesn't really say "here be dragons." It says (over a dragon-like figure), "Here are men who have large horns of the length of four feet, and there are even serpents so large, that they could eat an ox whole."  Put that on your site map.

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Every Doc(ument) Has Its Day

Jason Kleckner

Documentation rarely takes the spotlight. Much like good user experience, if it’s doing its job properly, you don’t even notice it.

Also like bad user experience, bad documentation will make the process painfully inefficient.

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The History of IA and Other Tales

Melissa Rach

The web industry, like any other, has its own language. The difference between a good information architect and a great one is often the ability to communicate with clients.

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