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Entries tagged "information architecture"

 

Information Architecture: Evaluate, Decipher, and Organize


June 17, 2008
 

There are many times in our lives that we look around and find ourselves overwhelmed. Occasionally those moments for me are when I am confronted with a lot of information at once. When these moments happen I tend to be reading directions or filling out forms.

Businesses spend so much of their focus on getting people to purchase their products but drop the ball when it comes to helping those customers use their products. Directions seems to be only an afterthought or at the most, minimally considered. There has to be a meeting of minds between businesses and designers about who needs to structure this information. While business should always keep their bottom line in mind, it benefits them to know their limitations. A good designer should be able to evaluate information given to them and decipher how to organize it so that users can follow it with ease.

We, as designers, need to remember that while creating posters and cd covers may be more fun than designing forms and directions, we have an opportunity to change tasks as frustrating as filling out forms and assembling furniture into an easy experience that people can walk away from with a smile. The tasks of a designer are expanding now more than ever. There needs to be an emphasis of the fact that the most successful designs are created with the smallest details in mind and to accomplish that you need a designer.

 
 

Building Websites with Effective Communication

By Nathan Moore
April 08, 2008
 

“The problem with communication… is the illusion that it has been accomplished.” -George Bernard Shaw

Communication is essentially what Anthology does. Sure, at the surface, we create some really nice designs and we develop functional websites - but websites function as communicative devices - and as I explored in The Anatomy of Great Design Part 01, great design starts with effective communication. So, the goal at the core of all of this is to communicate to your audience.

As simple as this concept may seem, it is overlooked far too often.

Let’s take websites for example. As companies explore building a website, the natural tendency is to make an attempt to impress potential customers. Too many times, the requests are filled with desires to hijack the user experience (not intentionally), create menus that move and sparkle, and bring attention to non-important items. These requests have the same goal as an executive that purchases a flashy sports car just to “show off” when meeting clients. At the end of the day, the car may be impressive, but whether the job is done effectively is what ultimately matters to the client.

When this tendency to impress is extended into web development, it cripples the ability to communicate effectively. Flashy design, gimmicky features, and unnecessary copy cloud the ultimate goals of the site. And, unfortunately, too many times, the web developer has to lay down and submit to the clients requests - and when that happens, the job is not being completed with excellence.

The problem is that when the site is finished and everyone has gone home, the company may be thrilled with the impressive new website, but if it does not communicate effectively and meet the needs of the users, it is ultimately a failure - it is the illusion that communication has been accomplished.

The next time you are building a new site for your company, keep these things in mind:

1. Deny The Desire To Impress - Users will only be impressed the first time they visit your site. After that, the only thing that keeps them coming back is functionality and ease of use. If you can say “that is coooooool,” it probably is doing more harm than good.

2. Develop A Site For Your Client, Not Yourself - Keep the user in mind when determining how you site will look and how it will function. The site may be about you, but it is more about your user.

3. Determine The Key Goals - And do not add anything to the site that does not directly or indirectly encourage the success of these goals. Stay focused.

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