Information architecture: Bringing order to chaos

I’ll admit it: a big part of me keeps wanting to jump ahead to the visual design for this website. It’s getting tantalizingly close to that step, but I keep reminding myself that content is king. This is an old lesson, but one that bears repeating.

With that in mind, it’s time to tackle an important step: information architecture. This will grow and evolve over time, but taking the time to define it early on helps to establish the overall vision and direction of a website. To do this, I want to define the content on the site and where it will reside. For now, here is the kind of content I plan on including:

  • Projects I’m working on
  • Writing about the creation of this site
  • Web development tips and tricks
  • Thoughts on the state of the web and current web trends
  • In-depth guides
  • Portfolio
  • Resume
  • Work-life balance tips and tricks
  • A way to get in touch with me
  • Information about me
  • Site overview
  • Career-related thoughts
  • A specific page tied to an upcoming series of posts—I’ll refer to this as Operation Syndication from this point on
  • Any other topics I want to write about

At first glance, this looks a little bit daunting (and perhaps a bit chaotic). But, if I try to group related ideas and themes, it gets a bit simpler:

  • A place to write about various topics
  • Information about me and my website
  • A way to get in touch with me
  • A page for Operation Syndication
  • A place for my resume, portfolio, and projects

Things already look much simpler, but I’m not done yet. As of right now, not all of this content is ready to be added to the site. The page for Operation Syndication will be part of a series of upcoming posts. Since those posts are still being worked on, there’s no reason to build this page yet. Cross that one off of the list for now.

The next thing that isn’t ready is my resume, portfolio, and list of projects. Admittedly, I’m not the best at keeping my resume up to date. It’s something I need to update, but I love my current role and this just isn’t high on my priority list right now. For my portfolio and projects, both are woefully out of date. There will be a time to add all of this to the site, but there’s no need to rush into it. For now, this part of the site can wait while I work on getting the content right.

After this step, I’m left with a clearer vision of what version 1.0 of the site will look like:

  • A blog where I write about various topics
    • Documented with a clear set of categories and tags to ensure that finding content is a simple process
  • An about me/about this site page
  • A contact form

This is significantly more manageable than the long list I started with! Yes, the structure is extremely simple, to the point where I could have looked at almost any other developer blog and copied it. However, going through the process has helped me to establish two things: what version 1.0 of will be, and what the vision is going forward.

For my next post, I’ll expand on that vision and lay out some of my ideas for the site that need a bit more work. Stay tuned!

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