The field of Information Architecture is young enough for there to still be some debate about the Best Practice. This site has been created to describe the approach that I have used and continue to refine.
All systems have an information architecture but very few have an Information Architect. There are some that believe the topic is either an unnecessary distraction or should be understood by everyone, either group would claim that employing an specialised information architect is a waste of resources. And indeed for many systems this is probably true, however there are enough potential systems which are both too complex to be trivial and too innovative to be well known. For these systems a systematic approach to the shape of the information will pay dividends in the long run.
Of course it is possible to take any Subject Matter Expert and train them in Information Architecture. That is part of the reason for creating this site. However like any new skill this will take time to master and, in my experience the best practitioners have an intuitive feel for the topic that cannot be taught. Unfortunately many consumers of IA inherently consider that since it is easy to use good IA designs it must be easy to create them, and hence it is not worth investing in their creation.
The main practical elements of Information Architecture are:
Implementing Information Architecture
The picture above divides the task into five levels of detail that can be implemented:
Each of these must be documented, reviewed with the stakeholders and validated. This usually requires an iterative process, for example an attempt to classify one of the aspects might reveal that the underlying concept is flawed, or a deduction may demonstrate that a classification is too simplistic.
Links to this page