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Information Architecture for the World Wide Web: Designing Large-Scale Web Sites

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  3,569 ratings  ·  125 reviews
The post-Ajaxian Web 2.0 world of wikis, folksonomies, and mashups makes well-planned information architecture even more essential. How do you present large volumes of information to people who need to find what they're looking for quickly? This classic primer shows information architects, designers, and web site developers how to build large-scale and maintainable web sit ...more
Paperback, 528 pages
Published December 4th 2006 by O'Reilly Media (first published February 1998)
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Jun 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
Over the course of my seven year career as a full stack developer, I've had this book on my bookshelf. I'd tried to get through it a few times and each attempt stuttered out after a few chapters. This in and of itself should stand as evidence of something, at least to me and those who know me, but moving on...

I can't recall why I bought it - or requested it as a gift - but I finally got around to reading it recently. I always had the nagging feeling that there *must* be meat in here, somewhere.
Oct 02, 2008 rated it it was ok
More fanatic than technical -- too much "why the world needs information architecture." More focus on prose than technical communication. ...more
May 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Often referred to as 'the Polar Bear book' (because of the polar bear on the cover), or the IA bible. I read a library copy of this book in 2006, and then went through my own copy of the 3rd edition again in 2007. It is a very in-depth book into IA and how it applies to the web. There's a lot of material to cover, so it takes a while to read if you want to absorb it all, especially if you never heard of the ideas before. But it's a very useful book, and also serves as a good as a reference while ...more
Bernie Noel
A good book to read for any coder. The ratio of time SPETN reading vs. writing is well over 10:1.
Alper Çuğun
Apr 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Probably interesting enough for the new practicioner or the aspiring librarian but I found this to be an exceptionally dry read (even compared to the admittedly very detailed About Face).

I'd recommend skimming content, skipping chapters and focusing most probably on part III (Process and Methodology) of the book.

Still a must probably in this field, so better just get it over with.

Rachel Peters
Jan 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ux
Read this book for an information design class. It was the first time I'd ever heard of IA and I chose this book on a whim, because it looked interesting. Little did I know how hooked I would get on IA. It's a great resource for anyone wanting to learn about IA or get into a usability field. ...more
Book Calendar
Jan 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michael Economy
Jul 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who are involved in making websites
Recommended to Michael by: steve krug - don't make me think
Shelves: work-related
Pretty great book about information architecture. If you build websites and don't know what information architecture is, I'd recommend reading it.

Some of the info is really about what to do if you're an information architect, dealing with company politics, budgets, etc. If you only work on very small projects, or if you're the primary decision maker, you could probably skim all of that stuff. Most of the meat of this book is early on.

The only reason I'm not gonna give this book 5 stars is becaus
Robert Bogue
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes the obvious isn’t obvious. The “Polar Bear” book is a classic work for Information Architecture. Information Architecture for the World Wide Web: Designing Large-Scale Web Sites by Peter Morville and Louis Rosenfeld was written in 2006 but is often cited at the book to read for Information Architecture. Be sure it’s a good book and — to counter an argument raised for another review I did – it’s still mostly relevant today. Sure some sections are long in the tooth in terms of the exampl ...more
Oct 13, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm on the team responsible for a major website redesign at our library, and my particular area of responsibility is the content and organization of the site. In preparation for this massive undertaking, I picked up this book as I was told it's one of THE canonical texts in the area of information architecture. I read the first edition, so some of the specific recommendations were dated, but the general concepts are still very applicable. I'm looking forward to picking up the 2006 edition and se ...more
Arnold Saputra
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book are BORING. I struggle to read chapter by chapter. Both of the author are too much reminding us about “why we need IA” and their old school intranet project. The problem of the intranet project are, We as a non employee of that intranet can't look how good the IA in the intranet.

If you want to learn about IA, its better to learn online or watch youtube. It's more time effective.
Aug 09, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was interesting, but so dense. Couldn't read through it, so skimmed a few times over the years and then put it down. Lots of great advice. ...more
Jun 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Great resource (lengthy, yes!) and there are some excellent resources provided to compliment the topic. I was surprised to learn that I had already been dabbling in IA in my work as a UX designer and business analyst without even realizing it. The sections on Search, Thesauri, and Part III (research, strategy, and design) of the book are quite informative, regardless of your role at your organization. The case studies presented are timeless, particularly surrounding pitfalls in the design stages ...more
Jordan Jackson
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book should be a youtube video or a one pager.

500+ Pages and over 50 Dollars for this book is a bit of a joke.

Never the less, it content is very useful. Don't waste your time buying the book though, just look at the table of contents and search the web for those topics and you will get all that you are looking for.
Shravan  Kumar
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Information is the key that is going to change the fate of the world in the upcoming years. The age of engineering has gone. Now it's the age of content and information. He who has information he is the king of this age.
This is the book that will take you to the frontier of information knowledge.
Kennedy D
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really technical. I just finished a class on information architecture and this was a required book. The professor didn’t have us read the whole thing but I read it to go over concepts learned in class. If I weren’t familiar IA I think it would be a lot of info to digest. I do find this book very helpful and a great resource so I give it 5 stars!
Hillarie (Hillareads)
I read this book for a class. I wish I could say it was a great experience, but this book is about a hundred pages too long. Get. To. The. Point.
Eva Therese
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great book for everyone with an interest in information architecture as it pertains to web design, but also works great as an introduction to a lot to do with information handling an librarianship.
The last part has a lot of practical advice on how to use the knowledge gained in the first parts of the book to actually get to work building the information architecture. I'm not currently about to do that, so I can't vouch for how useful it in reality, but I appreciate them getting into the detail
Priscilla Then
If you're building a large, complex website, then this book is for you. If you're building a web application, as I had assumed the name "and Beyond" implied, then it's not as useful. I had a lot of pushback at work about the need for IA when building a web application, but the book doesn't explicitly state the essentiality of IA for web apps (it does for websites, but not web apps).

Some parts are outdated (e.g. old/oudated tools likes Visio, Balsamiq, Illustrator, or uses the term "Web Master").
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: professional
I really appreciated the depth of technical detail in this book. While dense, it's a great resource for an IA or UX practitioner with existing knowledge of the theoretical. The third part especially is incredibly useful, with real life tips and examples for "Getting IA Done," including research, strategy and, my personal favorite, documentation.

If I was reading this again, I would start with that last section for immediate impact to my work, and then go back into the more detailed explorations
Michael Sypes
Feb 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: web-development
Well deserves its status as a classic in the field. A very good overview to get you started when it comes to building good IA.
The books starts off stronger than it ends, with much of the third section being mere one-off examples of good work, rather than solid descriptions of what's good with multiple examples showing different approaches. Also, I found a fair amount of the information to be intuitive, and have been performing a lot of the actions on my own for quite some time. It was reassuring
As a technical writer, I'm great with details, but terrible with vision and planning. After reading Information Architecture, I feel like I have a better foothold on that side of things. I really appreciate the authors' Research > Strategy > Design model, and plan on putting it into practice. It's no small undertaking, but I think will be well worth the effort.

I read through this book with a discussion group at work. All of us had different applications in mind, but it was helpful to bounce idea
Gregory Reshetniak
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was ok
This is one of those books where every page is perfectly reasonable and there's nothing you can criticize about it. But then you realize you've spent half a day reading a story of someone's last project at work, in it's unfiltered, unprocessed state that won't do you any good - mostly because by 10 pages in, you've already forgotten what they were saying.

Some basic useful concepts that are nearly indistinguishable from common sense. Perhaps an introduction to IT for someone. Not for professional
Bryan Sebesta
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had just finished reading Donna Spencer's introductory book on IA published by UX Mastery, and while it was good, I still left feeling like I didn't quite understand IA like I was supposed to. This book was a godsend. As an introduction to Information Architecture, it was comprehensive, clear, and accessible without overwhelming me. I filled it with notes and highlights and will be referencing it again and again in the coming years, I'm sure. ...more
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A worthwhile companion covering the broad range of topics typically associate with Information Architecture. Will likely be returning to this one for years to come as a solid resource. Grateful for the edition updates as well, keeping the material fresh and applicable.
Andres Moreira
Interesting book. However there is a lot of know stuff if you are a developer, and maybe just a internet citizenship. Don't take me wrong, i like it and there are very good chapters, overall I don't think is a book I would rather buy again. ...more
I wish I had read this book 7 years ago when I began working as an IA. I was basically going in blind and have been fighting the process ever since. Now I have a much better understanding and foundation from which to begin cleaning up the mess I helped create.
Sharon Lam
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business-design
As far as textbooks go this was eminently readable. Easy to skim, but interesting enough to read slowly in places. Makes you think about why things make sense sometimes and don't make sense other times. ...more
Aaron Byers
Dec 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: technical
This books was really useful and down to earth. It isn't really a how-to, but more of a 'how-come' kind of book. It gives lots of explanations and examples of the planning and evolution of information architecture. I needed this for a graduate class, but I'm keeping it because it was so useful. ...more
Hernan Espinosa
Jan 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: design-methods
A must for anybody looking to get into UX and information architecture. For experienced practitioners can be a great reference and source of inspiration.

Even if it is not the absolute, definitive, all-and-beyond guide, it is definitely worth having in your design library.
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Peter Morville is a pioneer of the fields of information architecture and user experience. He's been helping people to plan since 1994. Clients include AT&T, Cisco, eBay, Harvard, IBM, Macy's, the Library of Congress, and the National Cancer Institute. He has delivered keynotes and workshops in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. His work has been covered by Business Week, T ...more

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