information architecture

How The British Library handles information architecture & ecommerce

In some ways, the notion that an institution like the British Library has to market itself at all is fairly new. 

Indeed, my step father wrote a paper on exactly that topic (marketing is a family affair, you know).

But not only does the British Library have to create ‘customer value’, it has to do so online, casting as wide a net as possible and relying on its website to engage and even convert(!).

With the aid of analysis from its brilliant blog, let’s have a look at the British Library’s improvements to website information architecture.

Ecommerce information architecture: the devil in the detail (part three)

This blog is the third and final part of my ecommerce information architecture mini-series and takes a look at some of the key components and guidelines for what ecommerce teams need to think about.

Today I’m going to send you to sleep talking about SEO and integration of non-product content.

I’d welcome comments to add to my views and share advice/experience of what works, what mistakes to avoid and useful resources. Hope you find it useful reading.

Ecommerce information architecture: the devil in the detail (part two)

This blog is part two of my ecommerce IA mini-series and takes a look at some of the key components and guidelines for what ecommerce teams need to think about.

Today I’m going to send you to sleep talking about URL structure & data formats (yawn…).

For those of you who missed it, part one is on site & catalogue structure.

I’d welcome comments to add to my views and share advice/experience of what works, what mistakes to avoid and useful resources to use. Hope you find it useful reading.

Ecommerce information architecture: the devil in the detail

I’ve worked with many clients (and on my own sites) where avoidable structural/data problems add unnecessary complexity to website management.

I say avoidable because they’re usually a result of not asking the right questions upfront before the site is built. It’s a tough task to cover all bases for an ecommerce platform because there are so many factors in play that can affect elements like on-site UX, business reporting, data flows and SEO.

In my experience, it’s a continuous learning curve, picking up insight from specialists along the way to build a (hopefully) thorough knowledge base of what information you need to effectively build a website, what format the data needs to be in and what it needs to do e.g. data field X in the CMS drives site search results

Responsive design: five key considerations

The saying ‘one size doesn’t fit all’ may be true in many cases, but with the use of — and interest in — responsive design skyrocketing, more and more companies are asking whether that’s necessarily true when it comes to web design.

The idea of having a single website, with a single codebase, that can serve web, mobile and tablet clients is a powerful one. But just how realistic is it?

The workaround: technology strikes back

People have been finding workarounds for poorly designed systems for many years.  Although both the technology and the workarounds have become more sophisticated, the problem, and its solution, remains the same.

Many years ago, before web-based interfaces, we were asked to investigate why an online ordering system wasn’t delivering the promised productivity benefits.  Our research, which involved videoing staff dealing with telephone orders and then interviewing them about the process, soon revealed the problem.

The inside-out guide to designing a website

Designing websites inside-outWhen starting out on a new web project it is tempting to begin the wireframing process at the homepage, which is surely the most important page on your website.

But I’ve found that this approach doesn’t work for me. And for that matter I don’t believe that the homepage is the single most important page either!

Starting with the homepage is a little bit like drawing the cover of your novel, before you start writing the first chapter. It’s the story that counts, and until you know more about the story – the content – then how can you decide what to draw? You know what they say about judging books by their covers, perhaps because illustrators don’t read them before they get to work.

It’s the same with websites… isn’t it better to consider what’s contained within before working out how the homepage might look?