A web-based card sorting tool

· Information Architecture

A while back I posted an entry here about Uzanto’s MindCanvas, an application for doing user research. A week or so ago, Cody Burleson of IBM Global Business Services posted a link to the IA Institute members mailing list about a web-based card sorting product called Websort. I haven’t tried it out, but it looks like it could be useful when you can’t do card sorting in person.
Following up, Lou Rosenfeld points out that Donna Maurer, who is writing a book on card sorting for Rosenfeld Media, is maintaining a comprehensive list of card sorting tools.

Simple Knowledge Organisation System (SKOS)

· Information Architecture

Did you know the W3C has a standard for taxonomies and other classification schemes (Simple Knowledge Organisation System)?
Neither did I. But apparently, Jay Fienberg did, since he just mentioned it on the IA Institute mailing list. I doubt it would be of any use in communicating with clients, but I wonder if it might be useful for delivering machine-readable hierarchies to site developers?

Why you shouldn't start with a Content Inventory (or should you)?

· Information Architecture

Leisa Reichelt, a Digital Experience Architect, writes Why you shouldn’t start IA with a Content Inventory at her blog, disambiguity. This has spurred an interesting debate in blogs and mailing lists, with a response at Donna Maurer’s blog and further discussion elsewhere (read the comments on the blogs for more).
Naturally, once the rhetoric has died down the debate ends up a bit in the usual “it depends” fog, but any argument against exhaustively tedious work deserves a second look, from my perspective.

IA and UI as building blocks of SEO

· Information Architecture

In SEO, Information Architecture and Interface Design, Shari Thurow writes:

The most important building block of SEO is the information architecture. If you want your HTML/XHTML, audio, video, and image files to generate qualified search engine traffic, the key ingredient to making these files appear relevant are the information architecture and the interface that communicates this architecture.

(Hat tip to Peter Morville.)

First page of search results, please

· Information Architecture

Todd just sent around this BBC News article discussing a US study that found thatsearch users stop at page three and that, in fact, “Most people using a search engine expect to find what they are looking for on the first page of results.” This jibes with my own personal experience. I rarely even go past the second page. I wonder if some people don’t even go below the fold.
Also: “41% of consumers changed engines or their search term if they did not find what they were searching for on the first page.”