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Information Architecture for the World Wide Web
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Information Architecture for the World Wide Web

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  2,664 Ratings  ·  92 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

ebook, Third
Published November 2006 by O'Reilly Media (first published 1998)
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More fanatic than technical -- too much "why the world needs information architecture." More focus on prose than technical communication.
May 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 18, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
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Jan 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Jan 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Michael Economy
Jul 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mishaal M
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
Alper Çuğun
Apr 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

May 25, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Книга написана в академическом стиле, т.е. теоретических представлений больше практических обоснований. Есть противоречивые рекомендации... В книге заложено много, но чтобы вытянуть что-то нужно читать от А до Я. Короче книга для обучения, если для практики то только для уже состоявшихся архитекторов. В любом случае в своей нише книга дает исчерпывающие ответы, так что прочтение не пройдет зря.
Matt Vuk
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read the fifth edition of this book. I've seen some reviews about this book that say it doesn't go as in depth into methodologies as it could but rather focuses on the implications of IA and promotes it as a concept. I actually really like this aspect, and I think that teaching the fundamentals of "why" and "what can be done" have much bigger implications to the audience than being about a framework to "learn IA". Some of the first few chapters go into such great detail about the concepts arou ...more
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 bounc
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.
Mitchell Wakefield
A timeless classic!
Sam Frentzel-Beyme
Clear and well-written overview

A great book that provides a clear foundation around the key frameworks and terminology. Worth having on the bookshelf as a reference.
Dasha Badavi
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Книга охватывает описываемую область целиком, полностью и со всех сторон. Еще бы подсократить слегка половину глав, книга бы перестала вызывать желание отвлечься на что-то другое.
Sean Fishlock
The book gives some great insight into the fundamentals of information architecture, with plenty of great visual models and illustrations. Experienced IA professionals may feel short changed, as it does tend to linger on the basics and has a bit of an evangelical style. Although updated in each edition, sections of the book remain with outdated concepts. It is hard to tell whether their inclusion was or wasn’t intentional. There is certainly a bit of nostalgia between the pages. The new material ...more
One is not really supposed to sit an read an o'reilly book cover to cover, but I started to do this anyway. This was the last book of the "preparatory reading" and was worried that I was going to be in the position that I'd done all the reading for the term before it started, looks like I may indeed be in that boat! As it turns out this is the only book for the data information technologies architecture course, (though lots of e-resources will be used). I did actually stop reading this half way ...more
Jan 16, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: technical
A well-balanced and well thought-through introduction to the field of information management. Parts of this book, like how to optimize within-site search engines, aren't important to me right now, but lots of the ideas surrounding information architecture are of extreme interest to me.

Since it is such a new field, a decent amount of the book is about things like how to self-train as an information architect or how to sell the value of investing in information architecture to your corporate mast
David Parmelee
Feb 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ux
The "polar bear book" is a useful introduction to information architecture, with a good background on its ties to library science. It was usually pretty easy to follow. It also had good insight from a technical perspective on blogs and forums. I was reading the 3rd edition, published in 2007, and in 2014 it is now starting to show its age. I found it a bit odd that the book does address LinkedIn but not Facebook or Twitter. The authors' description of their ideal IA team was insightful, but I wo ...more
This book is well written, insightful, and logically organized. It helps web design professionals cover all the bases, and inspires new ideas for research. I appreciate the open attitude the authors take toward their subject matter. They do not fall into the trap of presenting themselves as authorities declaring that Information Architecture is now fully understood. They acknowledge that the field, the profession, and the tasks involved are still being defined. The book just works and it's a gre ...more
Dec 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ux
You know how when you're reading a book, you find one sentence that feels bigger than all the others?

I think it was where Morville and Rosenfeld mentioned the relationship between IA and UX as "the small IA (findability) and the big IA (UX)". The former gives you an immediate idea about heuristics, so and so forth, right?

The other good thing about this book is that introduces the reader to controlled vocabularies and metadata dictionaries in general. In certain settings (e.g. eCommerce), both c
It seemed a bit dated. Good overview of what IA as from the authors' perspective; however, in my extensive professional experience, IA is a term that can mean different things at each company where it is applied. For example, the IA Strategy document is a good idea -- but I've never heard of anyplace that uses it! Also, the documents they refer to as blueprints, I've more often heard referred to as sitemaps and flows (though I have heard of them as blueprints too -- maybe it is the more general ...more
Bryan Sebesta
Jan 26, 2016 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.
Kathryn Downing
Apr 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just finished the fourth edition of this book in ebook format, and I read it cover-to-cover. I think most people will get good use of using it as a reference book when needed. I might even buy a hard-copy for that purpose. Although it was a bit tedious to get through, there's a lot of great information that I will put to use right away. I especially like the documentation examples towards the end. The writing style is clear and concise -- not overly academic.
Nov 30, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tech
I read this book in order to achieve a basic level of understanding information architecture for usability and SEO purposes. It certainly contains very useful information, but is presented in rather boring way - too wordy and yet still dry. It's also targeted at people aspiring to become information architects or at least develop large-scale websites - Section IV and V were rather irrelevant for someone who dabbles in information architecture as side effect or side job.
Kathy Bateman
Jun 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ux
Information Architecture for the World Wide Web by Louis Rosenfeld is a very dense book. If IA is your job or you want to throw yourself into it head-first, this is the book for you. It contains many examples and detailed information about integrating IA practices into your website design and maintenance process. You'll find applicable information for new sites as well as for existing sites, including a whole chapter on enterprise solutions.
This book contains a great knowledge for anyone new to web development or even people with experience. It has a lot of the "real world" scenarios that you will encounter. I recommend it to anyone in web development/design, it provides good core methodology for many of the processes you'll encounter regularly.
Alma Vētra
The impression I got is that the author and seemingly others in his field are more concerned with defending why their profession is necessary and talking about how complex and valuable it is instead of giving some convenient, insightful knowledge. A book on information architecture yet itself it isn't well structured
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  • Communicating Design: Developing Web Site Documentation for Design and Planning
  • Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web
  • The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web
  • Designing Web Navigation
  • Designing Interfaces: Patterns for Effective Interaction Design
  • Handbook of Usability Testing: How to Plan, Design, and Conduct Effective Tests
  • Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks
  • Prioritizing Web Usability
  • A Project Guide to UX Design: For User Experience Designers in the Field or in the Making
  • Card Sorting
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  • About Face 3: The Essentials of Interaction Design
  • Designing Web Interfaces: Principles and Patterns for Rich Interactions
  • Observing the User Experience: A Practitioner's Guide to User Research
  • Content Strategy for the Web
  • Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works
  • Sketching User Experiences:  Getting the Design Right and the Right Design
  • Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems

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Peter Morville is a pioneer of the fields of information architecture and user experience. He advises such clients as AT&T, Cisco, Harvard, IBM, Macy's, the Library of Congress, and the National Cancer Institute. He has delivered conference keynotes in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. His work has been covered by Business Week, The Economist, NPR, and The Wall Street ...more
More about Peter Morville...
“And yet, unlearn we must, for technology relentlessly transforms the playing field, changing not just the answers but the questions as well.” 3 likes
“A minister was walking by a construction project and saw two men laying bricks. “What are you doing?” he asked the first. “I’m laying bricks,” he answered gruffly. “And you?’’ he asked the other. “I’m building a cathedral,” came the happy reply. The minister was agreeably impressed with this man’s idealism and sense of participation in God’s Grand Plan. He composed a sermon on the subject, and returned the next day to speak to the inspired bricklayer. Only the first man was at work. “Where’s your friend?” asked the minister. “He got fired.” “How terrible. Why?” “He thought we were building a cathedral, but we’re building a garage.”9 So ask yourself: am I designing a cathedral or a garage? The difference between the two is important, and it’s often hard to tell them apart when your focus is on laying bricks. Sometimes” 0 likes
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