Review: Information Architecture for the World Wide Web: Designing Large-Scale Web Sites, 2nd Edition (Paperback)

5 Star, Information Technology
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sensible, Scalable, Essential, Valuable,

October 25, 2005
Louis Rosenfeld
I read “Ambient Findability” first, and then bought this book. Both are excellent. This one is more focused on carefully orchestrating an approach to an enterprise architecture that makes content usable to end-users in context.

As the world gets ready to move toward exobyte scales of information sharing, at machine speed, this book becomes very relevant. While the authors are careful to point out the fallacies in cost calculations for informaiton access design flaws, I for one find the factors compelling–the cost of finding information, of not finding information, the value of rapid access, visualization and integration, the value of ease of use. I find the rough figure of $100 per employee per year to be a conservative estimate of opportunity costs–I think it is close to $1000 and in some instances $10,000.

Over-all I found this to be a superb reference for self-study, one that breaks down complex issues like different kinds of navigation systems, and one that also shows the value of offering end-users multiple means of access, both search and browsing.

Chapter 19 was especially valuable to me, since I am not even close to being a technical person or even a librarian–the itemization of the functions associated with information architecture and implementation, and why they might benefit from centralization, was a very helpful vehicle for getting a sense of the challenge when thinking of the scale of say Google, where thousands of hits are returned and thousands of relevant documents are NOT found. Google is great, but in this context, Google is in the second or third grade, at best.

I like this book, which does not claim to make anyone an information architect, because it helped me see, in a logical easy to read manner, just how *much* is involved in making tons of information accessible and usaable in time lapses and at costs that both people and organizations can afford.

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