University Web resources

A couple of useful websites pointed out to me by a member of the Information Architecture Institute:

  1. University Web Developers
    A social network for anyone involved with implementing and maintaining web sites in a University environment. Mostly US-based, but still a good resource.
  2. eduStyle
    Inspiration for Campus Web Designers. Again US-biased but collects together all the .edu website designs into one place.

Information Architecture Institute

Just over six months ago I signed up to be a member of the Information Architecture Institute. It only cost me US $40 for the year and since I already have “Information Architect” in my job title I thought … it couldn’t hurt to be a member!

There are a number of benefits to being a member, such as

  • networking opportunities
  • the opportunity to collaborate on IAI projects
  • post and view jobs
  • access the IA Library
  • get involved in the mentoring programme
  • free monthly newsletter

But the thing that I appreciate most from it is the email discussion group. Usually about once a week I trawl through the 200+ emails that I get from the IAI group and I’m never disappointed with some of the gems that it unearths.

The discussion is interesting, relevant and up-to-date. Quite often I’ve been made aware of recent developments out there in Web-land before they go live, or hear from the IAs and designers of particular sites as to why they chose a particular design strategy or UI element.

I posted a question asking if anyone could tell me what the difference was between editions 2 and 3 of the O’Reilly published book Information Architecture for the World Wide Web. Within half-an-hour I had two replies. From the authors themselves! Seemingly the third edition was simply to raise cash for their kids’ college funds! 😉

Kidding!

I’m sure there’s more that I could be doing with the Institute, there’s probably more that I could be getting out of the website, but to be honest the quality of the email posts alone is worth the annual subscription fee.

If you’re involved in information architecture

[The Information Architecture Institute] define information architecture as the art and science of organizing and labeling websites, intranets, online communities and software to support usability.

then you too many benefit. I thoroughly recommend it.

Gareth J M Saunders @ St Andrews

The Architects of the Information Age

Spotted on the Information Architecture Institute February 2008 newsletter: “This month’s Fortune magazine has an advertising feature about information architecture and the Kent State IAKM program: “The Architects of the Information Age”.”

Online, information architecture is everything. If a site doesn’t understand that users searching for “pensioner” really want information that’s been filed under “retiree,” it’s not going to return the best results. And that’s just one of many pitfalls.

“If users aren’t achieving their goals when they visit your site, you can be sure you’re not going to achieve your business goals, either,” says Eric Reiss, president of the Information Architecture Institute, a nonprofit group that supports more than 1,500 professionals and organizations specializing in the design of shared information environments.

You can download the article in PDF format: The Architects of the Information Age (PDF, 159 KB)