Mikal's Reviews > A Practical Guide to Information Architecture

A Practical Guide to Information Architecture by Donna Spencer
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really liked it
Recommended for: design professionals; beginning IAs; web project managers

While there are and will be IA experts who are available to tackle the really wicked challenges, this book is like putting Industrial Strength Information Architecture in the hands of everyday practitioners. While I feel this book is valuable for any business professional working on a redesign. I think individuals that are already familiar with user-centered design will find the most value.
I rated this book four stars but five stars is unatainable for this subject area. Any further in scope or depth and this book would not have been accessible to newcomers to IA or it would have become a textbook vs. a practical guide. The author wisely ends the book without going into too much depth regarding the design. Ultimately the further intricacies of site design are better covered elsewhere.
Donna structure's the book through the complete lifecycle of the IA process. I was in the middle of an IA project when I picked up this book. It was incredibly useful and a few of the myths this book dispelled (myth: people either search or browse they don't do both) in addition to its message that the best topic labels are those that are clear (even if somewhat lengthy or boring); came very much in handy.
The short chapters are easy to peruse or keep you focused if you're reading linearly. I completed this book within a week during an IA project. And the clarity it provided me probably saved my working group two weeks of progress (with a more satisfactory outcome).
Another great book by the publisher Rosenfeld Media. I highly recommend this book for any project managers on web redesign (or intranet redesign projects) as well as any newcomer or intermediate design professionals.
After reading this book I feel I have a good foundation of the methodologies and thinking of IA; and it sparked my apetite to find out more.
The one draw back of this book is it is entirely anecdotal and based on Donna's rules of thumb from over a decade of expertise. I would have appreciated if it cited peer reviewed research vs. the author's personal experience regard some of the rules of thumbs. Specifically when talking about what navigational elements are most usable.
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Reading Progress

May 29, 2012 – Started Reading
June 4, 2012 – Shelved
June 4, 2012 – Finished Reading

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