3. Information Architecture Plan

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					3. Information Architecture Plan
As the target market and content for the ‘The illustrated Empire’ have been established, it is
necessary to carry out web site mapping in order to visualise the structure, groupings, elements of
cross selling and sequencing of events.

Please note, in order to achieve a high standard of cross selling on every website page, TIE will be
required to invest in sophisticated software which can be managed by staff. Amazon, for example, is
capable of building up a picture of the user with every click they make and therefore receive real
time information to buying trends and public opinion
( According to
Anderson (2004), editor-in-chief of the Wired.mag, many book shops suffer from the poor supply –
and- demand matching difficulties. TIE will be able to combat this more effectively with its online
presence of 10,000 Graphic Novels. Whilst 20% of all books can be classed as hits, over 80% make up
the long tail of less popular items which are just as important as the margins are the same.
Popularity, according to Anderson (2001), has no longer a monopoly on profitability.

3.1 Information Architecture Diagram
Fig. 3.1 illustrates the Information Architecture Diagram for ‘The Illustrated Empire’. The diagram is
referred to in chapters 3.1.1 – 3.1.4.

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Fig. 3.1. The Information Architecture for TIE

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3.2 Structural requirements of Information Architecture
 » The best practice analysis has shown that the best websites present plenty of reoccurring
    features to reiterate the most important features, such as bestseller list (marked in blue)and
    different ways of browsing. According to Horton and Lynch (2001), the site’s structure should
    match the user’s expectations. Co-location of features will be carried out on the prototype but
    cannot be illustrated in the diagram due to lack of space.

 » It was also important for the structure to be neither shallow nor too deep in hierarchy. Morville
    and Rosenfeld (2002) argue that Menu schemes which are too deep, only burying information
    beneath too many layers of menus. According to www. (accessed:
    02/01/2010), the user is not prepared to navigate through many layers before reaching real
    content. Therefore, ‘real content’ at TIE’s website is displayed at layer 2 and 3, which means 2
    or 3 clicks only.

 » Morville and Rosenfeld (2002) describe that users of websites are trying to imaging the site
    structure. With that, successful Information Architecture will help the user build a firm and
    predictable mental model of the site. This was achieved by avoiding confusing links.

 » The payment processing has been placed in a sequence. Barker (2005) argues, that a sequence
    is one of the best ways to organise information, a similar structure to books or magazines. The
    use of exact schemes (Robson, 2009) supports these sequences, i.e. browse by alphabetical
    order, browse by ISBN (number).

 » Cross selling items will be placed by:
 a) associated webs i.e. ‘customers who bought this also bought this item’ and
 b) as hierarchies, i.e. Graphic Novels »Rare Books » 30 beautiful old books » buy (Depicted with
    help of breadcrumbs). All pages will contain cross selling links, which are not illustrated due to
    lack of space in diagram.

3.2.1 Requirement to content of Information Architecture

»   Customers and tasks have been grouped to:
o   Minimise the amount of categories available to choose from and with that provide clarity (as
    demonstrated in Best Practice examples)
o   Summarise the common tasks under the same heading (i.e. new customers: how to do things)

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o   Categories who are less important to TIE have not been given separate tabs, i.e. collectors, TIE is
    keen to become a collector’s shop

»   Topical links are embedded within the content, i.e. New customers: How to search, will contain
    contextual buttons which guide the user further into the content and create a web mesh of
    associated links.

3.2.2 Design, Look & Feel which affect Information Architecture

 » To allow the user to make successful predictions on where to find things, the website should be
    consistently named on each page. Elements of design, i.e. colours (high contrast), logo, tagline
    etc. have been adapted from Best Practice sites together with advice given by
    and Therefore, the website will have its logo and tagline placed on
    each page and no more than 3 high contrast colours will be used.

 » The main categories (tabs) contain unambiguous terms and no icons are used to indicate links.

3.2.3 Navigation requirements for Information Architecture

 » As the best practice analysis showed, all websites contained breadcrumb and contextual
    navigation. The use of breadcrumbs throughout will ensure that the user is not required to
    trace their way back systematically but can ‘jump’ pages (Laudon and Traver, 2007) to reach the
    new destination, i.e. Home/ Browse /Manga/Buy
 » This should also be applied for TIE, as the customer is already familiar with these elements and
    will ‘feel at home’ (Laudon and Traver, 2007).
 » Following Best Practice examples advice and as the site is likely to become larger over time, a
    site search engine will be implemented to allow the user to find their products more quickly.
    This will also make use of the Long Tail phenomenon, which allows TIE to sell his whole product
    range, one of TIE’s main objectives (Anderson, 2004).

3.2.4 Summary

Complex information architecture requires adequate navigational links to support its information
structures. The content has to be built in a logical sequence, which fits the user’s mental model to
allow them to jump sites easily. Familiarity of features of other websites is key as adapted from Best
Practice examples.
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      Appendix A
      Key: 1 - very poor, 2 – fair, 3 – satisfactory, 4 – good, 5 – very good

  Website Dimension
  Generic heuristics                     Forbidden
Sources:                                                                          Close                          House of Heroes                     Forbidden






                                                                                                                                                       Marks                                                                                                               com

   1. Site Content

                                      » Tabs,search box, refine             » Tabs, search box                   » Some longwinded text              » website is packed
1.1 Content suits user’s                your search                         » White font on black not              use with some                       with information
requirements                          » Clearly written                       always easy to read                  spelling mistakes                 » Search box available
     Clear cues how to find it       » Content clearly stated              » Content clearly stated             » Content displayed                   (but only available
     Unambiguous language                                                                                                                             via extra step ‘click’)
                                      » No help or support                  » No help or support                   clearly
     Content should be clearly         options                               function                           » No help or support                » Several ways to
       stated                                                       4                                   3                                   2                                       3
                                                                                                                   functions                           finding information
     Use of icons                                                                                                                                     i.e. products
                                                                                                                                                     » no home button
                                                                                                                                                     » ‘dust bin’ as delete

                                      » Logo presented              5       » logo presented            5        » logo presented           5        » logo presented               5
1.2.1 Visibility of identity of         consistently on every                 consistently on every                consistently on every               consistently on every
brand                                   page                                  page                                 page                                page
     Strength of brand image,        » logo appears to be                  » logo appears to be                 » logo appears to be                » logo appears to fit
        visible in consistent           innovative and fit the                innovative and fit the               innovative and fit the              the brand
        manner                          brand                                 brand                                brand
                                                                                                                                                                     Page 5 of 13
                               » No tagline instead              » Tagline available                                              » No tagline instead
1.2.2 Contains tagline            popular images of links         » Content of ‘about us’          » No tagline available            popular images of
     To see what the site is     are displayed to            3     concentrates on book       5   » Website content is        1     links are displayed to      2
        about                     indicate content of               shops and community              listed on tabs                  indicate content of
    Meaningful content            website                                                                                            website
                                » Clear sales site which          » Limited range of               » Very basic sales site,        » Wide product range
   1.3 Matching arousal to        offers wide variety of            products on offer                which offers variety of         incl. toys
       user’s mood and            product ranges                  » Match between user               product ranges                » aimed at users who
       motivation               » No age variations,                and website content            » Some age variations,            are already familiar
    Match between user and       aimed at users who              » Some educational                 aimed at collectors             with content – FAQ
       website content            already are familiar with         value as different types         and current buyers              provides explanation
    Variations between age       content – no                4     of products are            3   » No educational            2     to content (i.e. what       5
       and gender                 educational content               explained                        content offered                 are GN)
                                » Colours are red, blue –         » Aimed at newcomers             » Images used are plain
                                  less dark than on other           and comic/GN fans                (often there are no
                                  websites                        » Good choice of images            images available)
                                                                    which create
                                » Web price on every              » Wish list                      » Hero point – loyalty          »   Up-to-date blog
1.4 Stimulating interest by       purchase                        » Colour of frames                 scheme available              »   Free comic book day
secondary motivation            » Additional                        changes when images            » Blog (forum)                  »   Upcoming products
     Added functionality for                                                                      » Friday night games
                                  Merchandise visible         5     are scrolled over          2                               3   »   Sale                      3
       amusement                  on every page                   » Site invites to visit            night                         »   New product list
                                » Hovering over                     shops rather than                                              »   Link to forbidden
                                  Bestsellers, shows                purchasing online                                                  planet international
                                  image of item
                                » Contemporized layout            » Contemporized layout           » Contemporized layout          » Contemporized
1.5 Consistent visual style       (symmetrical)                      (symmetrical)                 » Images adequate for              layout (symmetrical)
fitting content                 » Images adequate for         5   » Images adequate for        5     subject matter            5   » Images adequate for         5
      Layout and image fits      subject matter                    subject matter                                                   subject matter
         market                                                   » Overall ‘dark’ image                                           » Overall ‘dark’ image
                                » Engaging, relevant              » Engaging, relevant,            » Not much additional           » Very engaging
1.6 Engaging, relevant &          content
                                                                    educational content
                                                                                                     content to products –
                                                                                                                               1   » Unusual content is          5
appropriate content             » Unusual content is not                                             no reviews available,            explained (but have
     Unusual content             explained                                                          no educational                   search for
                                                                                                                                                  Page 6 of 13
       explained (educational)                                                                        content                        explanation)
                                                                                                                                   » Customer reviews
                                 » All purchasing               » All purchasing                   » All functions available       » All functions
1.7 Adequate purchasing            functions available            functions available              » When items are                  available
system                           » When items are               » When items in basket,              added to basket,              » When items are
    Shopping cart/basket          added to basket,               no ‘continue shopping’             continue shopping               added to basket,
    Flow of purchase              continue shopping              facility is offered but if         facility available but          continue shopping
                                                            5                                  4                               4                                 4
                                   facility available but         customer chooses to                does not take back to           facility available but
                                   does not take back to          continue to purchase,              original search but to          does not take back
                                   original search but to         basket will add to                 item already                    to original search but
                                   item already                   previous items                     purchased                       to item already
                                   purchased                                                                                         purchased
                                 » Opportunities used for       » No opportunities used            » No opportunities used         » Opportunities only
1.8 Up-selling & cross-selling     sale of related              » Some links don’t even            » Product without                 available at browsing
    Opportunities used            products used on               end up in selling                  description and/or              stage (i.e. best
    Shown on different pages      most pages including           products                           images                          sellers)
                                   ‘during sale’ –
                                                            5                                  0                               0   » Product descriptions        3
                                   ‘customers who                                                                                    are short but precise
                                   bought this also
                                   bought the following
                                 » Pre order possible
                                 » Invites to Social            » Apart from writing user          » No interactivity              » Interactive blog
1.0 Interactivity                  Network sites but not          reviews no interactivity           offered, no user              » RSS feed
     Helps user to understand     interactive blog               offered – no user                  reviews and hardly            » User is invited to
        user’s requirement                                  2     reviews found                1     any description found     0                                 4
                                                                                                                                     write reviews and
                                                                                                                                     recommend site to a

2. Structure & Navigation

                                 » can handle plurals           » search box can handle            » no search box                 » search box can
   2.1 Search box                  and hyphens                    plurals and hyphens                available                       handle plurals and
    should handle typos,                                   5                                  3                               0                                 3
                                 » offers drop down               but not typos                                                      hyphens but not
       plurals, hyphens            choice box when start        » situated top left of page                                          typos

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      top right of page             typing                                                                                       » Search box available
                                   » situated at top middle                                                                         (but only available
                                                                                                                                    via extra step ‘click’)
                                   » Contains bread                 » Contains bread crumbs         » Contains bread              » Contains bread
2.2 Contains ‘bread crumbs’          crumbs which contain             which contain links to          crumbs which contain           crumbs which
                                                                5                               5                             5                                  5
     User should be able to         links to all previous            previous pages                  links to previous              contain links to
       trace his/her path            pages                                                            pages                          previous pages
                                   » Very consistently              » Very consistently             » Some consistency in         » Consistency in use
2.3 Structured & consistent          portrayed                        portrayed                       use of grids                   of grids
layout                             » Grids do not exceed            » Grids do not exceed           » Grids to not exceed         » Grids to not exceed
     Use of grids – portray         suggested ratio                  suggested ratio                 suggested ratio                suggested ratio
                                                                5                               5                             3                                  4
     Grids are rectangles not
        exceeding 5:3 hight to
        width ratio
                                   » Very easy to navigate          »   Very easy to navigate       » Easy to navigate            » Easy to navigate
2.4 Use of familiar navigation     » No site map available          »   Site map available            although search box           although search box
schemes                            » Mainly contextual              »   Search engine                 missing                       can be accessed
     Easier to learn and                                                                           » No site map available         after one ‘click’
                                     navigation                     »   Contextual navigation
       remember for user
                                   » Search engine              4       & bread crumbs          5                             1   » No site map                  3
                                   » breadcrumbs                                                                                    available
                                                                                                                                  » Breadcrumbs,

       3. Visual to include general attractiveness (look & feel) and design aesthetics

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                                                                  » No colour saturating          » Black, blue, yellow          » Grey, yellow, red but
3.1 Judicious use of colour         » Red, blue,white for           background used                 colours used                   mostly black
     Balanced use of colour          background, blue            » Colours of links change       » Background colour            » Slightly unbalanced
     Saturation pastel colour        writing                     » Balanced use of                 different to forefront         use of colour (more
        used for background         » Main colours used:            colour: grey, white,            area                           lighter colour could
     2-3 fully saturated intense     blue and red            5     yellow                    3                              4     be added)                   3
        colour                      » Light blue/grey                                                                            » Background colour
     Colours do not change in        background used                                                                              same as foreground
        links                       » Colours in links stay                                                                        (difficult to read)
                                      the same

                                                                  » Visually symmetrical          » Visually symmetrical         » Visually symmetrical
3.2 Symmetry and style              » Visually symmetrical          throughout                      throughout                   » No use of curved
     Visually symmetrical            throughout all pages        » Tabs are curved               » No use of curved               shaped buttons and
                                                              5                               4                              3                                 4
     Use of curved shape           » Tabs and search                                               shapes                         borders
                                      and most text boxes
                                      are curved
                                    » Appears more clean          » Appears sparse rather         » Depth of field created       » No depth of field
3.3 Depth of field                    than cluttered                than cluttered                  by using different           » Site appears ‘packed
     Use of layer in image to      » Grey background             » Depth of field is               foreground colour and          but not cluttered’ –
       stimulate interest             colour                        created with help of 3D         shadows (3D effect)            user might still feel
                                                              5                               4                              4                                 3
     Low saturated                 » Instead of images,            effect to enhance             » Appears clean                  invited to browse
       background colour to           buttons appear to be          foreground component
       enhance foreground             layered
                                    » Images are well             » Images are very well          » Images are sparsely          » No sound available
3.4 Use of personality to attract     used                          used                            used                         » ‘grabber words’ used
& persuade                          » No sound available      3   » No sound available        4   » No sound available       2   » Images are usually          3
     Human voice or images         » ‘grabber words’ – us,       » ‘grabber words’ used          » ‘grabber words’ used           available for
     Choices made by users           our used                                                                                     products
       are praised
                                    » Images change               » No use of media               » No use of other media        » Advertising on
3.5 Use of media                      regularly, site             » Main images in header         » Buttons change                 homepage is
     Video, audio to increase        appears ‘active’,       5     change at every page      4     colour when clicked      2     animated therefore          3
       attention                      therefore no music          » Scroll over buttons             on                             appears active
     Music to set mood               required
                                                                                                                                                Page 9 of 13
                                                                    change colour which
                                                                    indicates action

4. Functionality & Usability

                                    » font cannot be              » font can be enlarged            » font cannot be                   » font cannot be
4.1 Accessibility statement,          enlarged                    » contains accessibility            enlarged                           enlarged
complies with guidelines            » no accessibility              statement                       » no accessibility                 » no accessibility
     Resizing font size allows       statement               0                                 5     statement                    0     statement                   0
       people with poor eye sight                                                                   » (plenty of
       to view pages                                                                                  shortcomings, i.e. no
                                                                                                      text over images
                                    » Very limited text           » Some use of inverted            » Some use of inverted             » No use of inverted
4.2 Use of inverted pyramid           altogether                    pyramid can be                    pyramid can be                     pyramid can be
     Use of headlines              » About us starts with    5     observed                    3     observed (About Us)          3     observed apart from         3
                                      index                                                                                              headings being of
                                                                                                                                         slightly larger font
                                    » Simple, clear text          » Simple, clear, scroll           » Simple, clear, text              » Simple, clear text
4.3 Navigating buttons                buttons                       over, text buttons                buttons                          » Some images used
     Simple or dominating          » Some images used        5   » Images can be               5   » Images cannot be             3     as links but not as         5
     Images used as buttons          as links but not as           enlarged                          enlarged                           text buttons
                                      text buttons
                                    » No fixed pixel              » No fixed pixel                  » No fixed pixel                   » No fixed pixel
4.4 Resolution independent            dimension               5     dimension                   5     dimension                    5     dimension                   5
     No fixed pixel dimension
                                    » F pattern used, less        » F pattern partly used           » F pattern used,                  » F pattern used, less
4.5 Use of F-pattern layout           important content at                                            although most                      important content at
                                      bottom right            5                                 4     important content            3     bottom right,               3
                                                                                                      ‘latest additions’ can           » Some pages are
                                                                                                      only be accessed by                empty
                                                                                                      scrolling down
                                    » Home page involves          » Home page involves              » Home page involves               » Home page involves
4.6 Length of pages                   scrolling, cues given         scrolling, large pictures         scrolling, lots of text at         scrolling, cues given
                                                              4                                 4                                  2                                 4
     Home page should not            to scroll                     invite to do so                   the start does not                 to scroll
       include scrolling                                                                              indicate that vital

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                                                                                                      content is still to be
                                                                                                      found when scrolling
                                 » Website uploads               » Relative slow website            » Low resolution                 » Low resolution
4.7 Low resolution pictures to     very fast, pictures             upload                             pictures added,                  picture added
allow website to be uploaded       are displayed small
                                                            5    » Most pictures are            4
                                                                                                      sometimes the quality
                                                                                                                                2    » Most pictures are           3
quickly                            and can be enlarged             thumbnail sized, can               appears to be ‘too               thumbnail sized but
                                   when clicked on                 be enlarged when                   low’                             cannot be enlarged
                                                                   clicked on                                                          when clicked on
                                 » Acceptable credit             » Acceptable credit cards          » Delivery options               » Delivery options not
4.8 Different postage and          cards are shown                 are shown                          clearly stated, pick-up          available to view
payment options                  » Security verification         » No security verification           from store possible              until member log in
                                   signs available
                                                                   signs available
                                                                                                3   » No security               2    » Use of paypal               2
                                 » Delivery options              » Delivery options not               verification signs               (amateur)
                                   explained under                 available to view until          » Use of google                  » No security
                                   FAQ                             member log in                      checkout which                   verification signs
                                                                                                      requires login
                                 » Competition tab               » Some links are ‘empty’           » Text on home page              » Material mostly up-
4.9 Material used up-to-date       page is empty                 » Home page content is               out of date since                to-date
                                 » Job page’s task is to    3      out of date (invitation to   0     Sept’09                   0    » Latest competition          3
                                   refer to HR e-mail              Nov ’09 event)                                                      from Sept ’09

The following marks out of 140
                                              122                              107                                67
were achieved                                                                                                                                      98

Overall Impression                     Very well functioning           No cross selling of               Although, site appears    Well Site functions well but
                                        site                             products available                 to be active, not many     lacks design features (no
                                       Aesthetically pleasing          All products are                   products are offered       contrast in colours, packed
                                        with professional feel           depicted ‘framed’                 Home page content is       with information)
                                       Very large range of              which adds perceived               out of date               Some links lead to empty
                                        products offered to              value                             At first glance, site      pages
                                        discount prices                 Large stock of 50,000              looks perfectly           Good use of blog, available
                                       Aimed at mass ‘hit               titles could be missed             formidable but plenty      on every page
                                        and run’ target                  as offers only limited             of shortcomings can       Opportunities for cross

                                                                                                                                                   Page 11 of 13
    audience as                  range online                 be found                  selling have not been used
    community                   Although site points        ‘Amateur feel’           No ‘about us’ page and
    development nearly           users to visit stores,      Site with most            therefore no feel for stores
    completely ignored           no online community          community content               Site could have made
   No interest to educate       interaction offered          which could be linked           better use of all e-
    newcomers to content        Good explanation to          up better                       commerce options
    of the site                  products provided           No reviews or
   Reviews are sparsely        No reviews                   descriptions
    carried out
   Emphasis on online

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Appendix B - Bibliography

Anderson, C. (2004), The Long Tail, issue 12.10, available from: [accessed: 2/01/10]

Barker, I.(2005), What is Information Architecture, available from:, [accessed: 4/01/2010]

Content organisation, usability guidelines, available from:, [accessed: 31/12/2010]

Horton, S. and Lynch, P.L., online web style guide (2001), available from:,[accessed: 2/01/10]

Jacob Nielson’s website, 10 best websites, available from:,[accessed:

Laudon, K.C. and Traver, C.G. (2007), E-commerce:, New Jersey, Prentice

Morville, P. and Rosenfeld, L. (2002), Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, 2 nd ed.,
Sebastopol, O’Reilly Media

Schriver, K. (1997),Dynamics in Document Design: Creating Texts for Readers, Canada, Wiley & Sons, Is my webpage ineffective?, available from: [assessed: 01/01/2010]

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