The content doesn’t “live” anywhere

Found notes from a Donna Spencer workshop on information architecture I took back in 2012. I paid out of pocket to attend and though it seemed a small fortune at the time I’m very glad I did.

On where content “is”:

I don’t talk about where things are in a site because they aren’t anywhere. They’re on a screen.

Organizations can get so focused on sitemaps and hierarchical structure that the rest of the find/browse/search experience suffers.

On mental models:

If people think about things being in two places, give them two ways to think about it.

A good argument for structured content. Duplicate pages are bad, of course, but repeating useful information in smart ways at just the right time? So useful.

In my mind both of these thoughts are compatible with the “website as ecosystem” metaphor of which I’m fond. There are spots where you‘re more or less likely to find a particular squirrel, but the only place a squirrel truly “lives” is in its forest. (Or where its forest used to be.)

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