CSE3325: Information Architecture

In the previous lecture:

Clear presentation of information enables a viewer to easily locate data required to complete a task.

In this lecture:


What is Information Architecture?

Information architecture refers to the process of organizing information.

This is vital to enable:


Suppose all the books, CD's, magazines etc. in a library were arranged in alphabetical order by title.

Suppose all the sculptures, paintings and drawings in an art gallery were arranged in alphabetical order according to the artist's name.

What questions must an information architect ask?

Pitfalls and Difficulties of Classification

Organization systems consist of:

Organization schemes - shared characteristics of content items governing the way they will be grouped.

Organization structures - types of relationships established between (groups of) content items.

Organization Schemes


Tate gallery-browse


Tate gallery-Picasso


Vic. National Parks,
Citysearch, M&M's



Apple Computers




Yarra Valley Water


National Geographic


Organization Structures

Sequential (Linear)

terminating sequence


looping sequence with a "digression"


Hierarchical (Tree)


Deep style hierarchy

Broad style hierarchy


Grid-based Wheel



The database model requires data to be sectioned into strictly defined records. It is therefore most suitable for homogeneous data.

This can then be accessed via user queries.

Choosing an Appropriate Structure

Where might the 'web' and 'database' arrangements sit on this graph?

What arrangement might you use for explaining how to bake bread? Why?

What arrangement might you use for describing how to fix a broken-down car? Why?

What is an example of an instance when the grid might be useful?

This lecture's key point(s):

CSE3325 courseware | CSE3325 lecture notes

©Copyright Alan Dorin 2005