Site Mapping

·         Site Mapping is a representation of the architecture of a web site.

·         It can be either a document in any form used as a planning tool for web design, or a web page that lists the pages on a web site, typically organized in hierarchical fashion. This helps visitors and search enginebots find pages on the site.

Benefits of sitemaps

Site maps can improve search engine optimization of a site by making sure that all the pages can be found. This is especially important if a site uses Adobe Flash or JavaScript menus that do not include HTML links.

Most search engines will only follow a finite number of links from a page, so if a site is very large, the site map may be required so that search engines and visitors can access all content on the site.

 
 
  Information Design

  • Information Design is the detailed planning of specific information that is to be provided to a particular audience to meet specific objectives. The output of Information Design consists of visually delivered information which is highly designed for the benefit of the user.
  • Its mandate is to optimize the layout of information which facilitates navigation, readability and immediate understanding of what the information communicates. The purpose of Information Design is to Simplify, Integrate, Filter and Selectively Emphasize information.
  • Information Design is all about the psychology and physiology of how user’s access, learn, and remember information; the impact of colors, shapes, and patterns, learning styles.
  • Information Design takes pride in analyzing and identifying what works, what doesn't and why, in those situations where information is to be easily understood and comprehended.
  • Information Design usually encompasses many different responsibilities and tasks, including
 
 
  Web Design using Dreamweaver

Conducted by Prof. Anthony Martin Ducepec
January 10, 2009

  Information Architecture                  

  ·         Information Architecture is the art of expressing a model or concept of information used in activities that require explicit details of complex systems.

·         Information architecture is the term used to describe the structure of a system, i.e the way information is grouped, the navigation methods and terminology used within the system.

·         An effective information architecture enables people to step logically through a system confident they are getting closer to the information they require.

·         Information architecture is most commonly associated with websites and intranets, but it can be used in the context of any information structures or computer systems.

·         Among these activities are library systems, Content Management Systems, web development, user interactions, database development, programming, technical writing, enterprise architecture, and critical system software design. Information architecture has somewhat different meanings in these different branches of IS or IT architecture.

·         Most definitions have common qualities: a structural design of shared environments, methods of organizing and labeling websites, intranets, and online communities, and ways of bringing the principles of design and architecture to the digital landscape.

·         Organising functionality and content into a structure that people are able to navigate intuitively doesn’t happen by chance. Organisations must recognise the importance of information architecture or else they run the risk of creating great content and functionality that no one can ever find.

History

The term “information architecture” was first coined by Richard Saul Wurman in 1975. Wurman was trained as an architect, but became interested in the way information is gathered, organised and presented to convey meaning. Wurman’s initial definition of information architecture was “organising the patterns in data, making the complex clear”.

The term was largely dormant until in 1996 it was seized upon by a couple of library scientists, Lou Rosenfeld and Peter Morville. They used the term to define the work they were doing structuring large-scale websites and intranets.

In Information Architecture for the World Wide Web: Designing Large-Scale Web Sites they define information architecture as:

  1. The combination of organisation, labelling, and navigation schemes within an information system.
  2. The structural design of an information space to facilitate task completion and intuitive access to content.
  3. The art and science of structuring and classifying web sites and intranets to help people find and manage information.
  4. An emerging discipline and community of practice focused on bringing principles of design and architecture to the digital landscape.
Today Wurman’s influence on information architecture is fairly minimal, but many of the metaphors used to describe the discipline echo the work done by architects. For example, information architecture is described as the blueprint developers and designers use to build the system.

Common problems

The most common problem with information architectures is that they simply mimic a company’s organisational structure.


Although this can often appear logical and an easy solution for those involved in defining the architecture, people using systems (even intranets) often don’t know or think in terms of organisational structure when trying to find information.

How to create an effective information architecture

An effective information architecture comes from understanding business objectives and constraints, the content, and the requirements of the people that will use the site.

Information architecture is often described using the following diagram:


Business/Context Understanding an organisations’ business objectives, politics, culture, technology, resources and constraints is essential before considering development of the information architecture.



Techniques for understanding context include:


  • Reading existing documentation
  • Mission statements, organisation charts, previous research and vision documents are a quick way of building up an understanding of the context in which the system must work.
  • Stakeholder interviews
  • Speaking to stakeholders provides valuable insight into business context and can unearth previously unknown objectives and issues.
  • For further information about stakeholder interviews.
Content

The most effective method for understanding the quantity and quality of content (i.e. functionality and information) proposed for a system is to conduct a content inventory.

Content inventories identify all of the proposed content for a system, where the content currently resides, who owns it and any existing relationships between content.

Content inventories are also commonly used to aid the process of migrating content between the old and new systems.

Effective IA must reflect the way people think

Users

An effective information architecture must reflect the way people think about the subject matter. Techniques for getting users involved in the creation of an information architecture include:


  • Card sorting involves representative users sorting a series of cards, each labelled with a piece of content or functionality, into groups that make sense to them. Card sorting generates ideas for how information could be grouped and labelled.
  • Card-based classification evaluation is a technique for testing an information architecture before it has been implemented.
The technique involves writing each level of an information architecture on a large card, and developing a set of information-seeking tasks for people to perform using the architecture.

Styles of information architecture

There are two main approaches to defining an information architecture. These are:


  • Top-down information architecture - this involves developing a broad understanding of the business strategies and user needs, before defining the high level structure of site, and finally the detailed relationships between content.
  • Bottom-up information architecture - this involves understanding the detailed relationships between content, creating walkthroughs (or storyboards) to show how the system could support specific user requirements and then considering the higher level structure that will be required to support these requirements.
Both of these techniques are important in a project. A project that ignores top-down approaches may result in well-organised, findable content that does not meet the needs of users or the business. A project that ignores bottom-up approaches may result in a site that allows people to find information but does not allow them the opportunity to explore related content.

Creating an effective information architecture in 9 steps
The following steps define a process for creating an effective information architectures.

  1. Understand the business/contextual requirements and the proposed content for the system. Read all existing documentation, interview stakeholders and conduct a content inventory.
  2. Conduct cards sorting exercises with a number of representative users.
  3. Evaluate the output of the card sorting exercises. Look for trends in grouping and labelling.
  4. Develop a draft information architecture (i.e. information groupings and hierarchy).
  5. Evaluate the draft information architecture using the card-based classification evaluation technique.
  6. Don’t expect to get the information architecture right first time. Capturing the right terminology and hierarchy may take several iterations.
  7. Document the information architecture in a site map. This is not the final site map, the site map will only be finalised after page layouts have been defined.
  8. Define a number of common user tasks, such as finding out about how to request holiday leave. On paper sketch page layouts to define how the user will step through the site. This technique is known as storyboarding.
  9. Walk other members of the project team through the storyboards and leave them in shared workspaces for comments.
  10. If possible within the constraints of the project, it is good to conduct task-based usability tests on paper prototypes as it provides valuable feedback without going to the expense of creating higher quality designs.
  11. Create detailed page layouts to support key user tasks. Page layouts should be annotated with guidance for visual designers and developers.
Developing an information architecture in this way enables you to design and build a system confident that it will be successful.

  Products from the information architecture process Various methods are used to capture and define an information architecture. Some of the most common methods are:

  • Site maps
  • Annotated page layouts
  • Content matrices
  • Page templates


 
 
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The Internet is taking over the world of business. The present generation has witnessed the evolution of the corporate community from the traditional way of commerce to the technology-driven business transactions. Moreover, the continuous development of different computer softwares and online applications has also introduced several innovative techniques of earning money without needing a degree in business or management.

One of the most popular ways of earning money through...
 
Email Marketing 07/29/2009
 
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E-mail Marketing

E-mail Marketing is a form of direct marketing which uses electronic mail as a means of communicating commercial or fundraising messages to an audience. ln its broadest sense, every e-mail sent to a potential or current customer could be considered e-mail marketing. However, the term is usually used to refer to:

• Sending e-mails with the purpose of enhancing the relationship of a merchant with its current or previous customers and to encourage customer loyalty and repeat business.

• Sending e-mails with the purpose of acquiring new customers or convincing current customers to purchase something immediately.

• Adding advertisements to e-mails sent by other companies to their customers.

• Sending e-malls over the internet, as e-mail did and does exist outside the Internet.

Terms to Know
 
 
BASIC PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN

(US AUTO PARTS INTERNET MARKETING BOOTCAMP)

START FROM SCRATCH

1.        PURPOSE  It is essential to identify the purpose of your site. Businesses developed their websites in order to:

·                     build brand awareness
·                     save money
·                     sell products
·                     provide improved customer support

Remember:

What you want the website to accomplish and what your visitors require from the site may differ. You may be concerned about the visual aspects of the site, while your visitors probably care more about how quickly they can find information.

2.        CONTENT After identifying your purpose, establish a good content that will support the objectives of the site and how this should be presented.

3. AUDIENCE

Know your target audience. Classify the audience you are trying to reach. Understand what your audience will want when they visit your site, how you can initially attract them, what will encourage them to return, and what type of computer and connection speed they are likely to have. [1]

HIERARCHY (Break down your ideas)

Attract your audience by creating a strong, consistent visual hierarchy that shows the structure and logic behind the content, presentation and navigation you propose to use. Utilize the tools of page layout, typography, and illustration to lead the reader's eye through the page. [2]

FONTS (Main Ingredient of Style)

In using fonts, you have to recognize the problem that a specified font is not available on the client’s computer. Therefore you have to determine fonts that are commonly available and recognize by other computers.

 Top 10 Fonts for Web Designing

1.       Arial
2.       Frutiger
3.       Futura
4.       Gills Sans
5.       Helvetica
6.       Lucida
7.       Optima
8.       Palatino
9.       Agfa Rotis
10.    Univers
 
 
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According to Internetworldstats.com, as of June 30, 2008 there is a total of 1.4 Billion internet users across the globe and out of this, 875 Million of our world's online population has used the Internet to make a purchase. Businesses engaged or are using the Internet to sell their goods and services use different strategies to target audience and compel them to buy from their online store. One of these strategies is Web Marketing.