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Eight Principles of Information Architecture

Dan Brown, who's a seasoned Information Architect, has laid out these eight principles as a foundation for approaching IA.

I encourage you to check out this pdf where Dan outlines the principles in greater depth. I would also like to point you to The ultimate guide to information architecture by Cameron Chapman, which is a great primer on the field of IA but also explains these principles.

Source: Eight Principles of Information Architecture (pdf)

The principles

  1. Principle of objects
  2. Principle of choices
  3. Principle of disclosure
  4. Principle of exemplars
  5. Principle of front doors
  6. Principle of multiple classification
  7. Principle of focused navigation
  8. Principle of growth

  1. Principle of objects

    Treat content as a living, breathing thing with a lifecycle, behaviors and attributes.

  2. Principle of choices

    Create pages that offer meaningful choices to users, keeping the range of choices available focused on a particular task.

  3. Principle of disclosure

    Show only enough information to help people understand what kinds of information they’ll find as they dig deeper.

  4. Principle of exemplars

    Describe the contents of categories by showing examples of the contents.

  5. Principle of front doors

    Assume at least half of the website’s visitors will come through some page other than the home page.

  6. Principle of multiple classification

    Offer users several different classification schemes to browse the site’s content.

  7. Principle of focused navigation

    The principle of focused navigation – Don’t mix apples and oranges in your navigation scheme.

  8. Principle of growth

    Assume the content you have today is a small fraction of the content you will have tomorrow.


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IA