Information architecture: Beyond the hierarchy

May 2006: Webstock 2006. Wellington, New Zealand

For thousands of years humans have been organizing information in hierarchies – we start doing it early in life and continue through our careers. So it’s not surprising that it is our dominant method for organizing content for websites and intranets.

But there are alternatives, and they can be much more effective. In this presentation we’ll discuss when hierarchies are most useful and when an alternative approach is better. We’ll look at deliberate approaches such as metadata-driven databases and faceted classifications; and emergent approaches such as organic structures and tagging. We’ll examine good examples of each and learn what to consider for our own projects.

(I was using a strange HTML format for my slides at the time and it hasn’t held up over time – you can still see the presentation, but it doesn’t look like slides)