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Diagramming

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I love diagramming. And for a lexically-minded, wordy kind-of-person like me, that's saying a lot.

A large part of information architecture is all about the understanding (and generation) of structure and category. And for these kinds of tasks, diagramming - i.e. communicating in pictures - is great. Essential, even. So listed below are the main types of diagramming activity that I routinely find myself doing.

Wireframes

Sitemaps Process flows Graphs

Wireframes are the pen and paper, brush and canvas, knife and clay of the information architect (or, depending upon your taste in metaphors and with a nod in the direction of Seamus Heaney, the spade and earth).

I really enjoy wireframing. I've even been known to tell people (truthfully) that wireframing is a flow activity for me. In my time, I've authored wireframes for websites, microsites, e-commerce offerings, interactive and enhanced TV services, Flash games and applications, and wireless services.

Wireframing is not a difficult or complex activity in and of itself (it's just boxes and arrows after all), leading many people to conclude that creating an interactive solution is similarly not difficult or complex.

They're wrong.

The reality is that an IA solution is carefully-judged fusion of formal usability and user-centred design principles, detailed knowledge of the user, their expectations and capabilities, technology and business requirements, creative aspirations, copy and creative messaging. The quality of a solution being proposed will, needless to say, plummet with the inexperience of the architect.

Read more about wireframes

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