Information Architecture From The Bottom Up [TC Dojo Open Session]
The advent of electronic media and particularly the Web has profoundly changed how people seek and use information. Information seeking today is dominated by search, and not by search of individual works, but search of the whole: whole sites, whole doc sets, and, in particular, the whole Web. With search, and with hypertext systems, you don’t start at the top and work down, you dive to the bottom and work your way up or sideways. Despite these changes, much tech comm content is still organized top down and written to be read top down. But content organized top down does not work well for readers navigating from the bottom up. To serve them well, we need a bottom-up information architecture.
We have thousands of years of civilization based on organizing information top-down. It is ingrained in our education and our culture, and in our processes and the way we create and manage content. Moving to a bottom-up information architecture is no trivial task, therefore. This first session in the Information Architecture Bottom-up series will look at how top-down organization fails for modern information seekers, and what bottom up information architecture is and how it works. It will also consider when a mix of top-down and bottom-up organization is appropriate.
About The Visiting Dojo Master
Mark Baker, the author of Every Page Is Page One, is a twenty-five-year veteran of the technical communication industry, with particular experience in developing task-oriented, topic-based content, and technical communication on the Web. He has worked as a technical writer, a publications manager, a structured authoring consultant and trainer, and as a designer, architect, and builder of structured authoring systems. It is his firm belief that the future of Technical Communications lies on the Web, and that to be successful on the Web, we cannot simply publish traditional books or help systems on the Web, we must create content that is native to the Web.