I really enjoyed this course, which I think was given substantial weight due to the fact that the teacher presenting course was also a full time technology consultant, interested not just in the theory of Information Architecture but knowledgeable about the nuances of working within the discipline while embedded in a commercial setting.
The course itself focused on the approaches and tools that can be used to ensure that the vast amount of information that many modern websites can contain is presented in a user-centric format, structured around the needs and expectations of people who actually use them.
We broke into groups to run through some card sorting exercises to help us pit ourselves into the shoes of the people recruit to help us define UX, as well as covering some of thee tools provided in the Optimal Workshop suite, with a practical exercise in TreeJack to help us form up our understanding of Tree Testing as a way of measuring the effectiveness of the navigation structures.
We also took a look at some good and bad examples of Information Architecture implementations, and (the bit I was most interested in) talked about the actual business implications of getting it mmanifestly wrong or right.
I think a full day session was just about right for this course -any more and we would have been a bit too much into the detail of certain aspects, whereas instead I felt that we good a consistent level of insight into all of the main components.
- Card sorting should be a starting point, not a cast-iron design. Businesses and their users often have competing goals, with both needing to be represented.
- Optimal Workshop is the place to go for many of the tools required to analyse and produce Information Architecture design proposals. Simple interfaces, easy to pick up.