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Lesson 4 Site Planner
Objective Describe how the Site Planner assists information architecture planning.

Site Planner assists Information Architecture and Planning

Site Planner

The Site Planner includes several questions that focus on the navigation and architecture of the site. In particular, the creative questions for the Design phase focus on site navigation and architecture. If you have not yet looked at the Site Planner, you should download it now from the Course Resources page.

What is the goal?

An information architect's goal is to organize information in a way that helps users find information and move around a site easily. If your site is well organized, your user will feel able to control his or her interaction with the site. Well-designed information architecture should promote intuitive navigation.
The following Slide Show will show you a series of questions taken from the Site Planner. After you read the question, make a guess as to how the answers to those questions will affect the planning for information architecture.

Question: Where do you see your business in 90 days, 1 year, 2 years?"
Answer: Indicating company growth over time, perhaps a flip chart / sales chart with increasing numbers for consecutive months.
What business problem will the site address? What do you want it to accomplish?
A variety of simplified home pages designed to reflect different goals. These are suggestions - maybe just need 3 different types. Brand awareness page: with a logo very large and bright.
  1. Generate sales page: with an order form placed prominently on the main page, with visible text "Order now!"
  2. Develop partnership page: with a series of partner logos, link to "Become a partner."
  3. Be useful to users page: a list of news items, Web search engine, To Do list, calendar (kind of like a portal page, i.e., my.yahoo.com.
Question:
  1. What is the general level of expertise and experience of the end user?
  2. Graphics: suggest the idea of different users with vastly different levels of ability on the Web.
  3. A few faces (2-4): one with a worried, anxious look, another with a confident look (a smug teenager?
  4. Or a suited up business woman?), an elderly person (assume they are not web-savvy)

Question: "Are there integration requirements with legacy systems and is there a budget for them?"
Answer: A cluster of employees standing protectively around a database server could perhaps include streams of information coming into that database server from customers to indicate a whole process.
The flow of information that is to be established will be restructured for the sake of the web site. Perhaps information of a GUI being overlaid upon the existing systems, represented by a cluster of servers and databases.


Business Evolution
Information Architecture

Planning for the long term

Clearly, the Site Planner is an extremely useful job aid that will help your team to discover many factors that are contingent to the long-term success of the site. There are many more questions in the Site Planner that will help your team to identify key issues in planning for information architecture. Some of the questions may appear to overlap, but if you use the planner thoughtfully, you will prevent problems later in the deployment stages of the process. You may even discover and add further questions that are useful as you work through the process yourself.
In the following lesson, you will be learning more on the topic of organization architecture.