erica cheng

Friday, January 27, 2006

Notes on Information Architecture

In “Blueprints for the Web: Organization for the Masses”, the author provides the method for a designer to organize the contents based on how people think about those contents, so as to make people easily get access to the information they need. Meanwhile, in “Hierarchy And Contrast: The Basis of Good Design”, the author suggests several techniques that can be used to grab viewers’ attention and make them see what the designer wants to present. Both of the two articles aim to reach the target audiences but their bases are reverse. The method provided by the former article is based on what viewers want to see; while the techniques used in the latter article are based on what do designers want viewers to see. In short, the first article can be viewed more user-orientated; while the second one seems to be more designer-orientated.

Furthermore, both of the two authors assert the importance of organization in a content design but the methods they suggest are different. In “Blueprints for the Web: Organization for the Masses”, the author aims to track viewers’ minds so as to collect their ways of organizing. The author suggests that to understand viewers’ preferences or habits on organizing, can help a designer determine how to facilitate the ways for the viewers to seek information on the designed website. Nonetheless, In “Hierarchy And Contrast: The Basis of Good Design”, the author emphasizes more on optical design of contents display. For instance, to add contrast and exaggeration of word sizes, text styles, and colors can grab viewers’ attention effectively. In my opinion, the organizing methods provided by the two articles can be complementary. The method presented in the first article helps to understand the target audiences’ way of perception; while the techniques offered in the second article is useful for attracting the audiences’ attention. The combination of theses methods can be helpful to effectively convey the designer’s message to the target users.

It is noticeable that the two articles both mention about the idea of grouping related elements. This concept of categorizing different contents can make it easy for people to find what they want; at the same time, it can emphasize and make the message the designer wants to convey coherent and comprehensive to the viewers.

To me, the method for organizing presented in “Blueprints for the Web: Organization for the Masses” is more inspiring. I think all designers must know who their target audiences are and understand what the audiences want. I always believe that this kind of interactivity between designers and viewers is essential for the success of a website or a product. Therefore, the step of “user testing” in the procedure of organizing is especially important. This is helpful for designers to understand people’s ways of organizing, what they are most interested, and how they may perceive the designed website/product. Not only can the step of user testing enhance the designed website/product in advance, but it can also prevent some errors or inconvenience that might happen to the use of the designed website/product. At last, there is one phrase in “Blueprints for the Web: Organization for the Masses”—“If you do your work right, no one will ever notice your taxonomy”, that makes me think of what Andrea mentioned last week, which is “The best design is no design”. I think a good design should be simple but impressed. If a design can make it so easy for people to use that they don’t know they are using a design, it is a success.


  • At 1:28 AM, Blogger sakina said…

    I really enjoyed your perspective! You helped me connect some thoughts, ideas that I was initially looking at as separate pieces. It'll be fun to finally put all these ideas together in our class website!


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