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Categorization doesn't work for large amounts of information

According to Clay Shirky, the ways we apply categorization to the electronic world are based on bad habits. In his opinion tagging (free-form labelling, without regard to categorical constraints) is a better fit for large amounts of information.

Categorization can work for a limited information space that is based on formal and stable entities organized by small number of expert cataloguers. But it doesn't work for a large amount of information that has no formal categories and a non-expert user base.


  • The article Ontology is Overrated: Categories, Links, and Tags

Henrik Olsen - May 22, 2005 - via InfoDesign

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See also: Search engines (7)  Navigation (44) 



Online edition of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web

O'Reilly has made the 1st edition of the book Architecture for the World Wide Web by Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville freely available online.


Henrik Olsen - February 13, 2005 - via Column Two

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See also: Online books (5)  Books (32) 



How to make a faceted classification and put it on the web

Faceted classifications are increasingly common on the web, especially on commercial web sites. In this article Willian Denton suggests a seven-step model for the creation of a faceted classification, and gives advice on when to use one, how to make it, how to store it on a computer, and how to design the web interface.


  • How to Make a Faceted Classification and Put It On the Web

Henrik Olsen - March 20, 2004

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The myth of 7 +/- 2

Periodically, we hear about the rule of 7 +/- 2 from inexperienced interaction designers: Users can't handle more than 7 bullets on a page, seven items in a form list, or more than seven links in a menu. According to James Kalback, this has no evidence in reality on the contrary. The psychologist George Miller's conclusions apply to what we can memorize not what we can perceive.

Current research strongly supports that broad structures perform better than deep structures. Users can more easily cope with broad structures, they have a greater chance of getting lost in deep hierarchical structures, and new visitors are able to get a better overview of sites offerings from a broader structure.


  • The Myth of Seven, Plus or Minus 2

Henrik Olsen - June 23, 2003

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See also: Research (88)  Links (10)  Navigation (44) 



The power of metadata-based web content

Brett Lider and Anca Mosoiu have written an eye-opening article on the benefits of using metadata to organize web content and separating the content aspect of web sites from the presentation layer.

One of the big advantages of separating content and presentation is that relations between content entities, for example a product and its related services, isn't trapped a in a proprietary system, such as a traditional content management system (CMS). In traditional CMS, relations between content are created by cross-reference hyperlinks. Using metadata to establish such relations, important relations can be preserved and reused in different contexts.


  • Building a Metadata-Based Website

Henrik Olsen - April 29, 2003

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Information Architecture for Dummies

Using a lost-in-the-woods analogue, John S. Rhodes explains information architecture in a very simple and clear manner. Print plenty of copies and use them as handouts at family parties.


  • The article Information Architecture for the Rest of Us

Henrik Olsen - February 26, 2003

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See also: Primers (8) 



An interview with Peter Morville and Lou Rosenfeld

Since reviewing "Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, Second Edition" (AKA the Polar Bear book) we decided it would be of interest to our readers to interview the authors of this book to see how the role of IA has changed since the first edition was released. Meryl K. Evans conducted the interview.


  • An interview with Peter Morville and Lou Rosenfeld, Information Architects
  • Book Review: Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, Second Edition

Nick Finck - December 12, 2002 - via Digital Web Magazine

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See also: Interviews (9) 



User-Centered Design and more acronyms: UCIA and CCD

Two new article are up on Digital Web Magazine about User-Centered Design. Both articles make some good points when it comes to UCD and how the Web industry is handling it.


  • The myth of User-Centered Information Architecture
  • Client Centered Design

Nick Finck - October 24, 2002

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IA and usability

Digital Web Magazine interviews Jeffrey Veen and Jesse James Garrett of Adaptive Path


  • interview

Nick Finck - August 14, 2002

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See also: Interviews (9) 



Introduction to controlled vocabularies

Controlled vocabularies are predetermined sets of terms that fit together to describe a specific domain such as specific product areas or Yahoo-like catalogues. People use different terms to say the same thing, and with controlled vocabularies you can minimize the negative effects that variants and synonyms can have on your site and its users. This article gives a brief introduction.


  • The article: Cuisinarts, E-Commerce, and ... Controlled Vocabularies

Henrik Olsen - March 27, 2002

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