De v e l o p i n g a mi ni we b s i t e

tiredbeginnerInternet and Web Development

Dec 8, 2013 (3 years and 7 months ago)

67 views

INF440

Information Architecture for the Web
Developing a mini website
Christopher Franks (11390956)
Website is available at
http://csusap.csu.edu.au/~cfrank06/

1
Figure 1: Site map
2
Figure 2: Plone/OmniGra￿e page design mockup
3
OmniGraffl
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Plone
INF440 information architecture tool evaluation
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Add your comment
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#inf440evaluation
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Information architecture of site
￿e INF440 information architecture tool evaluation site consists of three pages
(see
￿gure 1),
with a home page leading to separate pages containing evaluations of the
Plone content management system and OmniGra￿e diagramming so￿ware as
information architecture tools.
￿e two evaluation pages follow the design indicated in
￿gure 2; the
main
body of the page contains a written evaluation of the tool, while t
he
bottom section provides Web 2.0 functionality for users to comment
on the
individual
information architecture tool
evaluation
s
, view
and contribute to
the Twitter
conversation about the site and its content, and share links to the site through various
social media,
blogging

and bookmarking
services
or access an RSS feed of the
comments thread for both the Plone and OmniGra￿e evaluations.
￿e primary navigational element of the site is a global navigation bar,
present on all
three pages
and providing links to the Plone and OmniGra￿e pages.
Although a link
to to the home page of a web site is
usually
included in a global navigation element
(Morville & Rosenfeld, 2010, p. 122)
, in this instance it was not considered necessary
as the home page is
intended as a
‘landing page’ which introduces
the
IA tool
evaluation
site but does not provide any unique content or navigation options
which a
user is likely to want to revisit
– if this is required the site header, also present on every
page, provides a link back to the home page. As the Plone and OmniGra￿e pages are
self-contained and do not link to any sub-pages a local navigation element is not
required,
although
depending on the ￿nal visual design of the page and how it displays
in common browser setups a ‘Jump to comments’ contextual link near the top of the
4
page could be desirable, to allow users who have previously read the tool evaluation
text to skip quickly to the comments section towards the bottom of the page.
As
the site features only three pages in total
and an essentially ￿at rather than strongly
hierarchical structure with
only
one level below the home page, a site ma
p
is not
necessary
(Morville & Rosenfeld, 2010, p. 132)
as it would not contribute any
additional navigational functionality beyond

that already provided by the global
navigation bar
.
If the site had featured sub-pages below the Plone and OmniGra￿e
pages
and additional levels of structure and navigation a supplemental navigational
system such as a site map would have been considered
to
provide a
n overview of the
site structure complementary to the major global and local navigation elements.
T
he Plone and OmniGra￿e pages each have a separate
comments ‘
thread’
containing
posts concerning the written evaluation of each IA tool.
￿e comments functionality
follows an established model for which users are likely to be familiar from other sites
and services including YouTube, newspapers/news services, blogs and online message
boards/forums;
u
sers can post a comment in response to the IA tool evaluation itself
or reply to a comment already posted by another user, creating a hierarchical tree of
comments and conversations. To help prevent ‘comment spam’ and encourage
constructive
participation rather than frivolous
or undesirable
postings
made behind a
cover of anonymity it is desirable to implement
a
registration or authentication system
to link
user comments to a username or established online identity
(Grohol, 2006).
OpenID was selected to implement this authentication system as it provides a
decentralised and distributed infrastructure for users to maintain an account with an
OpenID identity provider and use this account to sign in to
a
site supporting OpenID
5
authentication
; many users of the IA tool evaluation site will already have an OpenID
account through popular online services such as Google/Gmail, Yahoo, Blogger and
Flickr (OpenID Foundation, 2013)
.
Users will likely be more willing to take the extra
step of authenticating/logging in before posting a comment if it uses an
account/credentials they already have, and if posting a comment to the IA tool
evaluation site is linked to and can potentially enhance an online identity established
through their OpenID account.
In addition, u
sing OpenID as an external
authentication system avoids the need for the IA tool evaluation site to develop
technical infrastructure for registering, authenticating and maintaining user accounts
and ensuring the

security of private
user information including email addresses and
passwords.
￿e text area to enter a comment and ‘Post’ button will appear on the page
once the user has clicked the ‘Log in with OpenID’ button and successfully
authenticated.
Discussions and content from popular microblogging service Twitter about the IA tool
evaluation site is integrated into the site
through an ‘embedded timeline’ widget using
code provided by Twitter (2013) and displaying the latest tweets using the hashtag
‘#inf440evaluation’.
￿is widget dynamically updates
to
display new tweets using this
hashtag as they are posted
and also
features a ‘
Tweet box’ which when clicked spawns
a
window
to post to Twitter with the #inf440evaluation hashtag pre-included, allowing
users of the IA tool evaluation site to quickly
tweet
their comments and have them
seen by other users of the site.
Integration with
online services
other than Twitter
is achieved
through a free
‘share/save’ widget provided by AddToAny
(2013)
, which when clicked allows the user
6
to save or
add
a link to the current page to
numerous
social media, blogging and
bookmarking services
including
Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, Digg, Reddit and
Delicious,
or to add the
page URL
to their local browser bookmarks or export
it
to
their email client.
To enable users to remain
in touch with the ongoing comments
threads for both the Plone and OmniGra￿e pages
without requiring them to regularly
re-visit the IA tool evaluation site, RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds
are provided
containing the latest comments are they are posted and both evaluation pages feature a
‘subscribe’ widget also provided by AddToAny which facilitates access to both the RSS
feed URL and directly adding this feed to various web-based RSS readers such as
Google Reader.
References
AddToAny (2013).
Share button and Subscribe button generator
.
Retrieved 1 June 2013
from
http://www.addtoany.com/buttons/

Grohol, J. M. (2006). Anonymity and online community: Identity matters.
A List
Apart
,
214
. Retrieved 1 June 2013 from
http://alistapart.com/article/identitymatters

Morville, P. & Rosenfeld, L. (2007).
Information architecture for the World Wide Web

(3rd ed.). Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media.
OpenID Foundation (2013).
Get an OpenID
. Retrieved 1 June 2013 from
http://openid.net/get-an-openid/

Twitter (2013).
Embedded timelines
. Retrieved 1 June 2013 from
https://dev.twitter.com/docs/embedded-timelines

7
Information architecture tool evaluations
Plone
Plone is a popular
and actively developed
open source web content management
system,
used to deploy intranets and
public
sites by
companies and organisations
including Nokia, Amnesty International, the government of Brazil, the Free So￿ware
Foundatio
n
and MIT and Harvard universities (
P
lone Foundation, n.d.).

Adding, removing, editing and organising content in a Plone site is performed through
a web browser interface.
C
ontent is
added

based around a number of content types,
ranging
from Page which creates a new HTML page to specialised types for images
and binary ￿les which allow these content elements to be integrated into pages
. ￿e
special
Folder content type creates a
container for grouping together content elements
including additional sub-folders, establishing a hierarchical organisational and
navigational structure for the pages and content of the site. Plone supports multiple
user accounts and access controls to
restrict
individual or certain
groups or types
of
user
in

their ability to modify the site and its content
;
for example, a group of users
with responsibility for a particular area of the site could
be able to
only add and
edit
pages and ￿les

in this folder or section
.
Fernández de Alba (2010, pp.
8, 11
) argues
Plone’s emphasis on
computer desktop-
style
folders and a hierarchical
site
structure
and its
granular
functionality to control
accessing and editing site content makes it highly suitable
for intranets
and portal-style
sites
which aim to centralise
hosting and access to
collections of web pages, ￿les and
business knowledge and information developed and shared in a business or other
8
organisational environment. Morville and Rosenfeld (2010, p.
393) note a common
issue in enterprise information architecture is
management structures, competing
interests and internal politics resulting in
separate
organisational units maintaining
independent
mini-sites with
little
consisten
cy in

design and that don’t ￿t together as a
consistent whole, or conversely a
rigidly imposed top-down approach to
standardisation that restricts the ability of units
or teams
to manage content in their
area of the intranet/site in the way that best suits their needs. Plone or another
intranet-oriented content management system would allow for a
n overall site design
with an emphasis on e￿ective information architecture to be centrally implemented
and managed
, with
adding and updating
content within individual sections of the site
delegated to speci￿ed teams or groups of users.
An ‘out of the box’ Plone installation
and site
design
provides a number of features that
support e￿ective information architecture practices.
￿e default layout places links to
items in the top/￿rst level of the site’s hierarchy in a horizontal global navigation bar
just below the site header at the top of the page, providing one-click access to the
major sections
of the site from any page. As a user navigates around the site a
‘breadcrumb trail’ appears indicating their progression through the hierarchy from the
top to current page with text links to each level, visually indicating the location of the
current page within the site and allowing the user to quickly jump to any higher point
in the structure. When the user navigates to a folder/section of content a local
navigation element appears as a le￿-hand menu listing and linking to the
sub-pages
and content within that folder – as with
most
page
elements or ‘portlets’ the behaviour
of this local navigation element can be con￿gured on a per-folder or global basis,
such
as to
con￿gure the number of hierarchy levels displayed or to disable/
hide
this
element
9
for certain sections
of the site
.
Plone also by default generates a site map,
linked to in
the footer of each page,
providing a hierarchical overview of the site’s structure.
References
Fernández de Alba, V. (2010).
Plone 3 intranets
. Birmingham: Packt Publishing.
Morville, P. & Rosenfeld, L. (2007).
Information architecture for the World Wide Web

(3rd ed.). Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media.
Plone Foundation (n.d.).
Plone CMS: Open source content management
. Retrieved 24
May 2013 from
http://plone.org/

Om
n
iGra￿e
OmniGra￿e
is a commercial diagramming application available for Ma
c
OS X and
iPad
that
can be used to create technical illustrations such as diagrams, ￿owcharts,
process maps, organisational charts and
visual
design wireframes or mockups.
Garrett
(2002)’s popular and in￿uential visual vocabulary for diagramming user interaction
with web sites and web-based applications is shipped with OmniGra￿e as a built-in
‘stencil’, and a number of freely available stencils such as
Konigi
(n.d.) provide template
icons
and graphical elements
for use
in developing
web page
wireframes/
mockups
showing

features

such as
headers, text areas, graphics, and selectable
items
such as
buttons and checkboxes.
A diagramming application such as OmniGra￿e can be used in the
planning and
design of a web site and its information architecture
at both the macro and micro level,
to
prototype or ‘sketch out’

blueprints or site maps that visually represent

the structure
of the site
,
process maps which show
user navigation
paths
and interaction with a web
10
site or
web-based
application
,
and
wireframes/
mockups of individual pages showing
the placement of headers, text, graphics and navigational elements.
Developing a map
of the hierarchical structure of a site can assist in ￿nding an optimal balance between
depth and breadth in the number of options at each level,
so users are not required to
click through too many pages and levels of navigation to ￿nd the information they
desire, or presented with an excessive and potentially overwhelming number of
options at any point (Morville & Rosenfeld, 2010, p. 70). As hypertext links means
navigation around a web site is not limited to

up and
down
movements through the
‘tree’ of the hierarchical structure of pages
(Morville & Rosenfeld, p. 120–121)
, visually
plotting
more ￿exible navigation paths
on a
site
map

can help ensure these paths aren’t
convoluted and potentially confusing to the end user and complement the overall
structure. Where a site will feature navigational elements that are common across
multiple pages, such as a global navigation bar present near the top of every page and a
le￿-hand menu or other local navigation element used on
pages below the top level
,
these could be established as part of
a
OmniGra￿e
template
document
which is used
as a basis for designing
individual pages with unique features or content.
Brown (2002) notes wireframes or design mockups
can be used by information
architects and web designers to
present their concept for a site
in a way that is visually
engaging and easily understood by the client for whom the site is being developed,
and
agrees with Morville and Rosenfeld (2010, p. 309) that
wireframes can form the basis
for
e￿ective
communication and collaboration with web and visual designers tasked
with implementing the site, particularly if they are an entirely separate team or
company
. However, they caution tha
t mockup
s

dev
e
loped
around information
architecture and navigational features can hinder creativity and innovation in the
11
visual design and implementation of the site, and ‘lock in’ design
s
developed on paper
before they are tested for usability on a fully or partially implemented
live
version of
the site.
References
Br
own, D. (2002).
Where the wireframes are:
S
pecial deliverable #3
. Retrieved 24 May
2013 from
http://boxesandarrows.com/where-the-wireframes-are-special-
deliverable-3/

Garrett, J. J. (2002).
A visual vocabulary for describing information architecture and
interaction design
. Retrieved 25 May 2013 from
http://www.jjg.net/ia/visvocab/

Konigi (n.d.).
OmniGra￿e wireframe stencils
. Retrieved 24 May 2013 from
http://konigi.com/tools/omnigra￿e-wireframe-stencils

Morville, P. & Rosenfeld, L. (2007).
Information architecture for the World Wide Web

(3rd ed.). Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media.
12