| Lesson 5 || Organizational architecture |
| Objective || Identify common Web organization schemes and structures. |
Web Organization Schemes
Website Organizational Architecture
In this lesson, you will be learning more about key components and concepts of information architecture
Question: How are web organization schemes used to organize systems?
Web organization schemes are used to organize systems by providing a structure for organizing and categorizing information, making it easier for users to find what they're looking for. The various web organization schemes include:
- Hierarchical Structure: A hierarchical structure organizes information into a tree-like structure, with main categories branching into subcategories and sub-subcategories. This structure is commonly used for large systems with a lot of information, as it makes it easy for users to navigate to the information they need.
- Flat Structure: A flat structure organizes information into a single level, with no hierarchy. This structure is commonly used for small systems with limited information or for systems where the user needs quick access to information.
- Matrix Structure: A matrix structure combines elements of both hierarchical and flat structures, organizing information into categories and subcategories, but also allowing users to access information from multiple entry points.
- Alphabetical Listing: Alphabetical listing organizes information by the first letter of each item, making it easy for users to find what they're looking for. This structure is commonly used for reference materials and systems where users need to find information quickly.
- Chronological Structure: A chronological structure organizes information by date, making it easy for users to find information based on when it was created or updated. This structure is commonly used for systems where information is regularly updated and users need to find the latest information.
- Task-Oriented Structure: A task-oriented structure organizes information based on the tasks or activities that users need to complete. This structure is commonly used for systems where users need to navigate through various steps to complete a task.
- Tag-Based Structure: A tag-based structure organizes information based on tags or keywords, making it easy for users to find information based on specific topics or themes. This structure is commonly used for content management systems and systems where users need to find information based on specific topics.
These are some of the most common web organization schemes used to organize systems. The choice of structure will depend on the type and volume of information, the goals and objectives of the system, and the needs and preferences of the target audience. A well-designed and well-organized system makes it easier for users to find the information they need, improving their experience and making it more likely that they will use the system again in the future.
Whether on a website or in a thesaurus, information needs to be organized in order to be meaningful and accessible.
The best organization systems are transparent, meaning they are so easy to navigate that users focus on the content rather than struggling to understand how it's organized. One of the benefits of the Web is that architects can apply multiple organization systems to the same site content. Organizing information relies on schemes and structures.
What are organization schemes?
Organization schemes establish a logical grouping and ordering of content items based on one or more shared characteristics.
For example, the phone book is based on a simple organization scheme. In the Yellow Pages, items are grouped and ordered by at least two shared characteristics: topic and the alphabet. Organization schemes can be exact, such as alphabetical or chronological schemes, or ambiguous, such as topical, task-oriented, audience-specific, or metaphor-based schemes.
What are organization structures?
Organization structures define relationships between individual content items and groups.
The structure provides the pathways that users follow to move from one information item or group to another item or group. There are three main organization structures that can be used in Web architecture. These three approaches are often used simultaneously in complementary ways:
- Database - Oriented organization
Principle Based Structure
Hierarchical organization is a top-down approach that places broad categories at the top with increasingly detailed items branching out into sub-categories, such as the traditional company organizational chart.
Hypertext organization allows for hyperlinked connection of information chunks in either a hierarchical or non-hierarchical way.
Most sites now use hypertext-based organization to some extent. However, a reliance on hypertext organization without a clear hierarchy can cause users to get lost.
Database-oriented organization provides all the benefits of databases: access to vast records, field-specific searching capabilities, content management, and security. If used alone, however, the database model has drawbacks such as the rigidity of search rules and poor handling of heterogeneous content.
Question: What is the difference between an organizational scheme and an organizational structure?
Answer: An organizational scheme is the criteria by which the information is sorted and categorized (for example, alphabetically, by target audience, geographically, sequentially, or by topic,).
An organizational structure refers to how the information is stored and presented (a top-down hierarchy, through hypertext linking, or database-oriented).
In the next lesson, you will read about more key components of information architecture: navigation and labeling.