Identifying Content and Function Requirements

One of the biggest challenges in information architecture design is that of trying to get your arms around the intended content and functionality of the web site. For a large site, this can be absolutely daunting. The first step to success is realizing that you can’t do it all at once. The identification of content and function requirements may involve several iterations. So just roll up your sleeves and get started.

Identifying Content in Existing Web Sites

As the Web matures, more and more projects involve rearchitecting existing web sites rather than creating new ones from scratch. In such cases, you’re granted the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of those who came before you. You can examine the contents of the existing web site and use that content inventory as a place to begin.

Rather than pointing and clicking your way through hundreds or thousands of web pages, you should consider using an automated site mapping tool such as SiteMap (see Figure 7.2).[21] These tools generate a text-only view of the hierarchy of the web site. If the original architects structured the hierarchy and labeled page titles reasonably well, you should get a bird’s-eye view of the existing architecture and a nicely organized inventory of the site’s content. At this point, you’re way ahead of the game. However, it’s almost certain that the site redesign will involve the addition of new content and the integration of new applications, so don’t think ...

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