On what assumptions do you base your thinking? Contextual challenges and strategic possibilities


  • Thom Haller

    Associate Editor for Information Architecture, Teacher, Speaker, Writer and User Advocate
    1. Teaches principles of performance-based information architecture and usability. Since 1998, Thom has taught classes on architecting usable web/Intranet sites. As a teacher, Thom enables students to structure information so people can find it, use it and appreciate the experience
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Editor's Summary

The author's experience over years shows how the transience of shifting contexts and the desire to rush into new information structures can easily lead to failure. In one instance, midlevel managers understood the value and possibilities of structuring information to serve end users, but they were overridden by executives who insisted on developing a portal, the current trend, at the expense of a public facing website. Strategic decisions made without full understanding of the problem are doomed. Information architects must take an active role helping clients navigate the structure of information. They must communicate the importance of asking strategic questions to understand the audience, purpose and context of a website under development and then clarify the priorities and necessary actions to achieve the goal.