Week 5: Lecture

Planning a conference schedule using notecards and dry erase markers on a white refrigerator.
Use the tools at hand to organize objects into topics or categories–in this case, notecards, dry erase markers, magnetic clothespins, and a white refrigerator.
  • Beginning of Class Writing
    • Click on the heading of this blog post title above–“Week 5: Lecture,” scroll down to the comment area, and write at least 250 words in response to this week’s readings. You can summarize the readings, you can relate the readings to your own experience or something else you have read or learned about, etc. Any writing of 250 words or more that are related to the readings are fair game for this weekly assignment at the beginning of class.
    • Post your comment after 20 minutes even if you don’t reach the 250 word minimum threshold.
    • Why we are doing this: It helps you organize your thoughts before discussion and it gives you regular writing practice.
  • Discuss this week’s readings.
  • Talk about site maps for websites and this week’s homework assignment.
  • Review homework and readings for next week.

11 thoughts on “Week 5: Lecture”

  1. TO: Prof. Ellis

    FROM: Naila Butt

    DATE: 6 March 2023

    SUBJECT: Principles of Information Architecture & WikiProjects

    Hello Professor Ellis!

    I hope you are doing well.

    Dan Brown’s Eight Principles of Information Architecture was a pretty straightforward read. I particularly liked how he talked about the assumption that information architecture is the practice of designing structures that are presumed to do certain things. Explicitly focusing on structure and user interface. I also enjoyed the first principle he discussed, “The principle of objects.” I found this principle rather interesting because he says to treat content as a living and breathing thing, and I had never thought of content in that way before, so it is a new perspective for me to think about.

     On another note, Noreen Whysel presents some ideas about Wikipedia’s information architecture (IA). As an information architecture, Whysel believes that Wikipedia is an overall mess and fails to meet quality standards. WikiProjects is a way to allow devoted editors to find articles on Wikipedia that needs editing and will enable them to help recategorize and improve the articles. When learning more about WikiProjects, I realized this would be a great way to hone my writing, editing, and IA skills; and possibly be a pointer on a resume or job interview. I also thought about how I don’t utilize Wikipedia as much as I should. My previous teachers and professors have drilled into me that Wikipedia is unacceptable. However, I can now understand how it can be an amazing tool if used properly.

    Unfortunately, I had trouble accessing the other assigned reading, so I’d like to close off my memo with a debrief of how the semester is treating me. Overall, I would say my semester is going pretty well. I find myself to be managing and turning in my assignments on time. Although I do find that I’ve been spending a lot of time in front of a screen, so I often forget to take breaks, stay active, and eat healthy meals. Moreover, I am excited to progress toward obtaining my degree in PTW, so I see it all as part of the process.

    Be well,


  2. I can’t find quite the right words to capture my feeling on reading “Information Architecture in Wikipedia.”

    For one thing, I’ve become extremely accustomed to the type of articles that normally get assigned in academic classes that mention Wikipedia. They’ve gotten less critical over time, with outright instructions to ignore it being replaced by more useful advice: don’t rely on it or quote it, but pull key terms and go to the footnotes for sources. Thus, at first, I couldn’t wrap my head around the introduction to this article. I had to stop, go back, and read the entire first page again once I realized that this wasn’t going to be another disparagement of the quality of Wikipedia as an academic source.

    Even more so than this, however, I’m completely thrown at the idea that experts in an academic field – those prominent enough to be gathered at conventions – would feel the need to spend time discussing, writing, editing, and updating a Wikipedia page.

    Obviously IA is a difficult field to define – we’ve been reading about this consistently – but for a group of established academics to recognize that the Wikipedia page for their field is an essential entry point for those seeking more information, and thus a key resource that should be carefully considered and maintained?

    I think it’s inevitable that people who spend any length of time in academia at some point recognize a gap between that world and what I might call the practical one. Information must be vetted and peer-approved to enter academia, which naturally creates a time delay, and by the time a consensus is reached on a new technological innovation, it might already be outdated. Academia, in my mind, is always more interested in reaffirming its own foundations, carefully triple-checking its groundwork before building anything atop it.

    But the truth is that, reliable or not, Wikipedia is the first stop for many in researching something new. Despite all its flaws, it’s the most easily accessible point of entry, and therefore representation on it matters quite a lot. Experts should take the time to consider how their fields are portrayed, in the same way that public figures care about their personal pages. So I’m thrilled to see that this was already happening in 2015, albeit in an already very forward-thinking field.

  3. To: Prof Ellis

    From: Jaida Clouden

    Date: March 6th, 2023

    Subject: Information Architecture Readings


    The first reading provides readers with information about how Information Architecture is a growing area of study. As years go by, Information Architecture has been a growing workspace for many individuals. The definition that Benyon uses to explain IA is that “it is how to structure the content of information space.” Information Info space is the mix of objects, displays, people, signs, icons, sounds, etc. Due to Information Architecture, we are able to communicate with others over the internet. We navigate through informative spaces from paper to the web. Individuals have advanced due to the web. The web is unmoderated so you can find and search for almost anything in the matter of seconds.


    The second reading explains how Information Architecture is not a common craft in society. As of right now, IA is not normalized, but in the span of a few years, IA will be well known. In Brown’s reading, they explain the principles that applies in our decision making. He states that objects, choices, disclosure, exemplars, front doors, classification, navigation, and growth are the principles used in Information Architecture. Brown states that users should treat content and information as a living thing.


    The third reading provides information about Wikipedia. Wiki requires many years of Information Architecture to find up-to-date information. Andrew Hinton states, “access to findable, usable information is a necessity.” Information Architecture is an essential resource in the modern world and in today’s technological society. I believe that without the use of Information Architecture, the web wouldn’t be as advanced as it is today.

  4. TO: Professor Ellis

    FROM: Khaled Akam

    DATE: March 6, 2023

    SUBJECT: Mapping our Space

    For information architecture websites try to serve as many commands as possible for the users. The information needs to be chosen correctly to be remembered by the audience. Ontology is the information behind the web sites brands, terms, language, and content. Navigation through information architecture is important because it helps users find what they need. Learning how a user will navigate through a site will either make the user leave the site and orient them in a way that has them come back. People see things differently when navigating through a web site. When navigating online instead of real life, individuals do not use their physical body but minds. Web site space gives meaning, and we must be able to map these navigation spaces to better understand the ideas. Navigation of information space is about fine design using maps.

    Building ourselves by practicing information architecture in Wikipedia is one-way individuals hone their skills. Thus, the IA community is consistently trying to improve the IA Wikipedia site. However, this is not the only site that individuals are nurturing. Wikipedian’s are people who have taken the fight to fix Wikipedia pages. They are growing larger and trying to teach people skills in editing on top of other things. Though anyone can edit these pages, your IP address will be tracked if you are not logged in. The main policy in place is being neutral when editing. Wikipedia is a collaborative effort that encourages individuals to pitch in, although what you post might be deleted. You can think of this as a web of everyone’s knowledge extracted and edited with tools and gadgets from the Wiki site. 

    Information architecture is constantly being rediscovered because we all have different ideas of what we believe to be the correct or best way to structure websites. The eight principles are objects, choices, disclosure, exemplars, front doors, multiple classification, focused navigation, and growth. Understanding the process of a principle is answering the how, who, what, and where it comes from. Although we pull all this knowledge from individuals in the disciplines, we should always be inquisitive in information architecture.

  5. To: Sandy Fougeres

    From: Professor Ellis

    Date: 3/6/23

    Subject: Weekly Readings

    One of this week’s readings highlighted the issues with the Wikipedia page for Information Architecture (IA). It talked about the Wiki page’s absences of IA thought leaders and theories, as well as described the unaddressed criticism of how the IA community is represented. It talked about the history of Information Architecture and how the wiki page does not reflect the 40+ years the field has existed. The article continues by expressing the need for change, starting with adding viable information on Information Architecture; Adding academic conferences and publications, and how verifying the claims will help bring more awareness of legitimacy to the field. The Wiki Project is introduced in the article as a way to preserve and elevate the IA community and to emphasize on the need for findable, up to date information.

    I found this article to be informative, it emphasized on the fact that the IA community is being underrepresented and that the information is out there, but is being added without verification. This article, along with the others we’ve read in class, shows me that the IA community are in what seems to be a state of uncertainty. There is uncertainty with how to describe or define Information Architecture, uncertainty with the theories that drives the design of structures in IA work, and uncertainty with what Information Architects actually do. I am interested to see how the community in the next few years define themselves and if it will be a definition used unanimously.

  6. To: Professor Ellis

    From: Tiana Beatty

    Date: March 6, 2023

    Subject: Weekly Readings

    This week’s reading was an informative read but I found it interesting in the “Eight Principles of Information Architecture” that there are different approaches and ways to look at the scope of information architecture. I know that everyone has their own style of working whether it be in the workplace or an academic setting, but Dan Brown not only gave his personal opinions but in-depth information on how and what makes an informational architect good. He presented a list of principles and thoroughly explained them further into the article. What I liked is that there wasn’t any hard to read or difficult to understand language he used when further discussing these principles. Sometimes messages and information can be too wordy or the words that I’m reading are not resonating with me or I won’t know the meanings of those words. So, for that I commend him on trying to make his article more readable and maybe enjoyable as well.

    He also provided examples to break down the information he was providing. He used examples of things that are deemed relatable and that’s why his He was the interesting read this week. For example comparing the creation of a website to a recipe. Both need structure or ingredients to be put together in order to produce the final product or dish. In a way, he is right. This made sense to me as I never thought about it in this way.

    An important takeaway from that reading was that there aren’t any journals, articles, and books that could be describe information architecture and an informational architect. Because this field or rather because this job is “new,” there seems to be little no training at all. That there seems to be no communication and establishment of what an informational architect is and how their role plays a pivotal role when creating and collaborating on the creation of a website.

  7. In Information Architecture and Navigation Design for Web Sites David Beynon discusses information architecture in general and information architecture in webs site design. Most information architectures prefer to deal with the design of the information layout separately while some include it into information architecture. I think it’s interesting how information architectures do not consider design of lay out a part of information architecture. Based on the reading and previous readings in the class design of layout appears to be a bulk of their job. He also discusses navigation of the geographical world and what ideas he believes can be applied to navigation.

    In Eight Principles of Information Architecture Dan Brown provides an overview of the eight principles of information architecture he uses. Brown derived the eight principles from his own personal work and other fields. The eight principles of Information architecture seem like a great starting point for technical writing projects.

  8. Benyon mentions the two key issues of Web site design; information architecture and the design of navigation support. IA was coined by Wurman in 1975. Peter Morville discusses how IA concerns how to structure the content of an information space.The first is the theory of information spaces and secondly, the theory of human interaction (HCI). 

    “Information spaces allow people to plan, manage, and control their activities.” Ontology is important because it classifies items into categories, if not done properly then it is poor ontology. 

    I was interested in other definitions of the word, in my search I found that in Greek it means “being” and logia means “study” – put together, it is the study of being alive and existing. Some terminology noted were: 

    Fine-grained ontology: fewer instances of each type of object

    Coarse grained ontology: easy storing, difficult retrieval 

    Volatility: how often the types and instances of the objects change (choose one that keeps the objects stable) 

    Size: indexes, clustering, categorisation, tables of contents, and so on. 

    Topology: conceptual and physical objects. 

    Rosenfeld and Morville have three categories: 1) alphabetical, 2) chronological 3) geographical 

    Navigation includes object identification, exploration, and wayfinding. There should be good signage – informational signs, directional signs, and warning and reassurance signs and one sign can serve multiple purposes. “Breadcrumbs”  show the trail of categories that someone has visited to get to the current location. The two main problems while searching a Web site are knowing exactly what sort of documents the search engine is searching. Second, how to express the combination of search criteria. 

    When building/creating content for a targeted audience typically people use google to find what they are looking for and if the landing page on the hyperlink clicked doesn’t tend to their questions/concerns – more often than not, they move on. 

    The eight principles of Information Architecture, discussed the principles of objects, choices, disclosure, exemplars, front doors, multiple classification, focused navigation, and growth. The principle of object is to treat it as a living thing. The principle of choices is to create meaningful choices for users. The principle of disclosure provides enough information so people can understand the type of information as they look further. The principle of exemplars shows examples of the contents. The principle of Front doors is to help the person understand the purpose of the website because half the time they don’t go through the homepage but a side door. The principle of multiple classification provides schemes for the site’s content for inclusiveness. The principle of focused navigation is to find a strategy for finding content on the website. The principle of growth is thinking larger by splitting responsibilities. These different principles help us understand the ideologies behind the creation. 

    The last reading discussed Wikipedia which consists of multiple components. It doesn’t have a two way linking via category tagging. Wikipedia is a free knowledge base anyone can edit. Wikiprojects allow collaboration. I was always told I shouldn’t use Wikipedia because anyone can edit and write their views but there are upsides as mentioned in this article as well that have been left out of conversation. I can use this concept to formulate new content while working alongside others.

  9. The effort of the user to efficiently navigate progress, through data, in a logical sequential way is paramount to the information architect. A website can be construed as the archetypal information space. Information architecture is concerned with the design of information spaces. The general ontology, a set of concepts and categories in a domain that shows their properties and the relations between them, affects all the characteristics of the website. The ontology includes conceptual objects and physical and perceptual devices; clickable links, clustering etc. Clustering is the task of grouping a unique set of objects in such a way that objects in the same group are more similar than objects in other groups. The website also has a task organisation structure which tells of activities that users may want to do. Always remember that audience is key.

    Task-based: “Buy a Motor-Car”

    Audience: “Prospective buyers of Motor-Cars”

    Topic-Based: “Motor-Cars”

    Department: “Sales Department”

    I like Dan Brown’s 8 principles of information architecture. I really like the following 3:

    1. The principle of front doors–Assume at least half of the website visitors will access the site through some page other than the home page. I am one of the aforementioned website visitors.
    2. The principle of focused navigation–Don’t mix apples and oranges in your navigation scheme.
    3. The principle of exemplars–Show example.
  10. TO: Professor Ellis

    FROM: Khemraj Persaud

    DATE: 3/6/23

    SUBJECT: Weekly Readings

    “Information Architecture and Navigation Design for Web Sites,” by David Benyon, introduces the concept of information architecture as the process of structuring the content of an information space and designing information spaces. It emphasizes the importance of navigation support in enabling people to find their way through the information space. The chapter explores the theories of information spaces and navigation in urban spaces to provide practical features of web sites design. Overall, the text highlights the significance of information architecture and navigation support in effective web design.

    “Eight principles of information architecture,” by Dan Brown, discusses the fact that information architecture is a field that is still in its early stages of development and lacks a well-established theory to drive the design of website structures. While graphic design has a set of universal principles, such as typography and color theory, information architecture has yet to settle on a standard theory. The author provides a set of principles that guide their design decisions, which they developed to help a client justify their design to stakeholders. The principles cover topics such as treating content as a living thing, offering meaningful choices to users, showing only enough information to help users understand the content, and assuming that visitors will enter the website through various pages. Overall, the author’s principles offer a framework for designing website structures that are user-friendly, easily navigable, and scalable. While there may not yet be a universally accepted theory for information architecture, these principles provide a good starting point for anyone designing website structures.

    “Information Architecture in Wikipedia,” by Noreen Whysel, discusses the inadequate coverage of information architecture (IA) on Wikipedia and proposes a WikiProject to improve the quality of the IA page.. The author suggests that an editathon at the 2015 Information Architecture Summit could jumpstart the WikiProject and enlist new editors to improve the IA page. The author explains that editing a Wikipedia page is open to all but requires adherence to policies, rules, and guidelines. The author also mentions the DBpedia database, which underlies all Wikipedia pages, and the Wikidata knowledge base, which enables linked, open collection of information. The author invites readers to improve the IA page by strengthening and tagging the content, adding references, and building links. Overall, the text emphasizes the importance of collaborative efforts to improve the quality and accuracy of information on Wikipedia, particularly in specialized fields such as IA.

  11. To: Prof. Ellis

    From: Bria Glenn

    Subject: Week 5 Readings

    Date: March 6, 2023

    With Information Architecture, those who call themselves Information Architects must pay attention to detail just like other people in their designated professions. You cannot do something to the best of your ability if you are not able to see through the lines to fix something that may need improvements. In “Eight Principles of Information Architecture” by Dan Brown, he gives us these pointers because they can help narrow down what we are trying to accomplish when attempting to create something. The principles provided to us take a closer look at what we are actually creating because this allows the architect to make something concise. 

    Information Architecture is something that was new to me, but for people who had an idea of it or have had a career in this area they have a definition for it and what its use is. With the Wikipedia site, Noreen Whysel makes it clear that it is a nightmare. This seems to be an issue with the Wikipedians who edit the page because they don’t exactly know what they are editing and therefore create a confusing site. Whysel’s solution was to create a Wikiproject to help change the look of the Wikipedia page. This is important because people who know and those who are not knowledgeable on this topic should have a place to get a solid definition, its origins, and more. 

Leave a Reply