When I found out that Lisa Maria Martin was writing a book about information architecture, I was really excited. Ever since I was lucky enough to have Lisa Maria edit my book, I’ve wanted to learn more from this insightful and kind person. During the writing and editing process, my book was loooong, accidentally repetitive, and the structure mostly just a bunch of text in the order it exited my brain. The other wonderful editors helped me flesh out ideas, communicate them clearly and ensured they were technically correct. Lisa Maria gave the book its final shape and structure. She took text I found unwieldy and hard to understand as a whole, and put it in an order that made sense to a reader. Needless to say, I learned a lot from her, and the opportunity to learn more, and how I could apply her kind of thinking to projects I work on every day (websites!) meant I read Everyday Information Architecture as soon as I could get my hands on it.
And this book does not disappoint.
Much like other A Book Apart books, Everyday Information Architecture took me a couple of hours to read. Within fifteen minutes, I was already reorganising our organisation’s website in my head (whilst simultaneously learning I need to steady my excitement a little, and make sure the reorganisation works for all the content…) The book works through thinking in systems, analysing existing systems, and using that analysis to better organise websites to fit the needs of the site’s visitors and the organisation’s goals. If, like me, you get a kick out of designing a system so that everything has its place, you’ll rejoice at Lisa Maria’s spreadsheets and her advice on making masses of content more maintainable. If the idea of drowning in content terrifies you, this book will throw you a life ring and help you feel more in control again. Lisa Maria’s advice is practical, flexible, and uses examples of a variety of sites making it easier to understand how to apply her processes to your own work.
Everyday Information Architecture is also a fun read underscored with a serious message about the impact categorisation can have on people and society. You don’t necessarily expect a book about web work to be enjoyable, but Lisa Maria has a warm and really funny way with words that makes the book absorbing and easy to read. And the message is clear: we can use an understanding of information architecture to make a site easier to use, more inclusive and more accessible, but we must also understand the impact of our decisions extends well beyond the pixels, code and copy.
“Information isn’t neutral; neither are the choices we make about how to present it, structure it, write it, juxtapose it, or classify it. Every design decision makes an impact; it’s just a question of whether we can stand up and own that impact.” —Lisa Maria Martin, Everyday Information Architecture
You should buy Everyday Information Architecture, it’s out today in paperback and ebook. You won’t regret it!