LIS-S 532 Information Architecture for the Web
- Prerequisite(s): LIS-S 500, LIS-S 507
- Delivery: Online
- Semesters offered: Fall (Check the schedule to confirm.)
Information architecture is focused on the practice of maximizing “findability,” or the ease with which users can find information on websites and in other digital interfaces (e.g., apps) according to their needs and expectations. While related to user experience and interface design, information architecture is distinct in that it focuses on the curation, organization, and placement of information; it also concerns the strategic deployment of waypoints, maps, and other tools to aid information seeking. Successful information architecture is supported by using quantitative and qualitative user research methods to better understand user-information interactions and expectations.
Program Learning Goals Supported
Instructors map their courses to specific LIS Program Goals. Mapped program goals drive the design of each course and what students can expect to generally learn.
- Facilitate Engagement in the Information Ecosystem
- Organize and Represent Information
- Conduct Systematic Research to Inform Decisions
- Innovate Professional Practice with Information Services and Technology
Instructors develop learning outcomes for their courses. Students can expect to be able to achieve the learning outcomes for a given course after successfully completing the course.
- Characterize information seeking needs in order to plan for information architectures.
- Evaluate information systems and organizational structures using information architecture concepts and strategies.
- Build information architectures according to user needs to maximize findability of content.
- Use quantitative and qualitative research methods to test and iteratively develop information architecture products.
- Install, manage, and optimize an open-source content management system to maximize information organization and findability using information architecture concepts.
Instruction is in Canvas. Lessons are organized into Modules whose length may vary.
Module 1: Understanding the Work Information Architecture Does
- Recognize how information architecture informs the design of information systems
- Summarize the relationship of the elements in the context-content-user triumvirate
- Identify resources and information from the information architecture profession
Module 2: Designing for Information Seeking and Use
- Differentiate between different information seeking strategies in common information environments, like websites, for varying purposes
- Execute information seeking strategies according to specific information needs
- Reflect on the match and mismatch between preferred search strategies and information environments
Module 3: Foundational Concepts
- Summarize the difference between top-down and bottom-up information architecture
- Discriminate among different content structures and their relation to larger information architecture goals
- Analyze different information systems (e.g., websites, mobile apps) using both top-down and bottom-up information architecture heuristics
Module 4: Organization Systems
- Identify various organizational schemes and structures, including traditional taxonomies and social folksonomies
- Reflect on the role of politics and their influence on information architecture designs
- Judge the relevance and usefulness of a given organizational scheme in context
- Build various organizational structures into a website
Module 5: Labeling Systems
- Interpret labeling systems for the purposes of navigation
- Differentiate between the use of labeling systems
- Critique a given labeling system for its ability to promote findability
Module 6: Navigation Systems
- Identify how global, local, and contextual navigation systems are used in various information architectures
- Assess how different types of co-existing navigation systems supplement each other
- Create co-existing navigation systems in a website
Module 7: Search Systems
- Determine whether or not your information architecture benefits from the addition of a search tool
- Summarize the main components of a search algorithm
- Combine search results with contextual information to improve the finding process
Module 8: Establishing Structure with Controlled Content
- Summarize how thesauri, controlled vocabularies, and metadata lead to findability
- Analyze how websites apply metadata to content to controlled content types
- Develop a semantic relationship term map for a thesaurus using broad, variant, preferred, related, and narrow terms
Module 9: Researching and Strategizing
- Develop a research context/content/users framework for finding out user needs
- Choose a research method to meet data collection needs
- Use prototypes to iteratively build on research findings
Module 10: Sitemapping
- Interpret multi-level sitemaps
- Design a simple high-level sitemap of a basic website
Module 11: Wireframing
- Test wireframing tools
- Design low-to-medium fidelity wireframes
- Assess the efficacy of a wireframe for its ability to demonstrate common and expected information architecture components
Module 12: Card Sorting
- Critique the card sort method for strengths and weaknesses
- Plan an open and closed card sort
- Conduct an open and closed card sort
- Reflect on the process of running a card sort
Module 13: Conducting Remote Research
- Summarize the components shared by and different between moderated and unmoderated remote research designs
- Run a moderated remote research session
- Assess the efficacy of a remote research design and session
Policies and Procedures
Please be aware of the following linked policies and procedures. Note that in individual courses instructors will have stipulations specific to their course.