| Lesson 2 || Roles and responsibilities |
| Objective || Identify how team members contribute to information architecture. |
Roles and Responsibilities
Developing information architecture is an increasingly important and distinct task in the Web development process. In the early days of website development, this task was performed in a somewhat improvised, instinctive manner by people in other job roles, such as graphic designers or programmers. Now, there is a specific field of training for Web professionals in information architecture or information and library studies.
A Growing Field
The field of information architecture is an amalgam of cognitive psychology, library science, and knowledge of various high-end, robust website applications such as Active Server Pages (ASP) and database applications and structures. Information sharing of distributed objects is a crucial part of the Web, and this form of information sharing differs significantly from simple client/server data processing.
Who creates Information Architecture?
As with signs and metaphors, team members in the creative roles play the central part in defining the information architecture of the site. However, the business roles, in particular your marketing professionals, are likely to want significant input
into how the site is perceived and experienced by users. The information architecture, along with the signs and metaphors that are used, are the principal determinants of a user's experience of the site (assuming that the technology functions as desired).
A Team Effort
Information architects work with
- content developers,
- marketing directors,
- business strategists,
- end users, and
- the technical staff
to design and develop a site's navigation and architecture.
Using Team Resources
To meet the needs of both the organization and the site users, an information architect works with a variety of roles. For example, the Business role provides marketing information regarding audiences and purposes for the site.
The Creative role provides designs that complement and support the information architecture (and vice versa). The Technical role provides crucial descriptions of the technical capabilities of the site, such as whether a particular database structure will serve the content or how sophisticated the search function can be. To review the roles and responsibilities of WebTeam, click the desks on the blueprint below. You can start with the Information Architect’s workspace to understand how the roles are organized. In the following lesson, your task is to learn how the needs of the site users determine the choices regarding information architecture.
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