"The structural design of shared information environments"
A combination of organization, labeling, search, and navigation systems within web sites & apps
Almost all from "Information Architecture: for the Web and Beyond"
Underpins the reasons behind a specific interface design
Helps provide conceptual model for "how it works under the hood" to users
What is the right information model to describe the user's intent?
Can't just black-box the research process and user's query
The Perfect Catch: I need the single right answer
Lobster Trapping: I need the best of a group of possible answers
Indiscriminate Driftnetting: I need all of the possible answers
Moby Dick: I need to find something I've found before
Challenge with this model is that complex queries and modern web use do not have a single desired result
Marcia Bates (1989): Instead of a monolithic query type, it's a process
"Five Hat Racks" - Richard Saul Wurman in Information Anxiety (1989)
Card-sorting: provide categories and see how people organize
Free-listing: don't provide categories and see wording of people's organizations
Search log analysis: read directly from customer searches
Flat structure - typical small business sites, simple ecommerce sites
Narrow & deep - Longform content, books, deep categories, complicated ecommerce
Core elements of any page:
The goal is to try to have users navigate using the "natural" navigation
HTML Site Maps are ultimate failure state, full list of all pages
Site search is usually a failure state, because users can't find using "natural" navigation