Information Architecture: Live Blog PubCon Las Vegas

Welcome to Information Architecture live from PubCon Las Vegas.

Information Architecture is the bedrock of web development — so very basic that it often gets left on “default” while the graphics department dives into making things look pretty. But choosing and labeling the buckets for your web content can be the hidden “make or break” factor. This Spotlight Session focuses on how to tap IA power for your web venture. Then we’ll take it to the next level and sort out how platform and CMS decisions impact development, maintenance, and even search engine success.

Ted Ulle
Senior Search Analyst,
Converseon, Inc.

Aaron Kronis
SEO Evangelist ,
Wpromote Inc

Ted is up first….

Mouseover menus imitate a GUI designed for an application.
– Application visitors need intuitive GUI.

Don’t use hover as a crutch!

How do you do food at a dinner party?
– What you don’t do is say everybody raid the fridge.

Where is information users are looking for?

  • Categories are often from some company mindset not a user mindset.

  • Hovers mean visitors cannot see and compare all the options at once.

    • Hover menues hide important information

Factors to Weigh:
– Marketing purposes
– Ease of use

Temptations to avoid:
– organized like the company
– organized like a print catalog
– organized by a content owner
– anyone’s pet ideas

Make IA for the visitor, NOT for the Company
– Users won’t learn your internal organization

FORGET the “3-Click Rule”
– Think “Information Scent”

The Perils of Hovering

First Impressions
– I can deal with this
– This looks interesting

When creating an information architecture the most interesting thing is number 7.  Keeping menus to less than 7 options is critical.  7 choices gives you 21 different comparisions.

The Card Sort:

Step one create your own unsorted pile of content using the cards with one piece of information per card.
– Eventually you’ll include keyword research BUT NOT NOW
– Try several times sort, revise, sort

When cards are organized, bring in 3rd parties and assign “find this” tasks.

Everything doesn’t need to be in the main nav
– utility nav
– feature nav
– footer nav
– remove hover menu

Hover menu removal doubles page views.

You’ll find company folks want hover navs but removing them can increase revenue by 46% as Ted illustrates via case study.

Again 7

With the right information architecture your entire site becomes a conversion funnel.

Ted suggests O’Reilly “Information Architecture for the world wide web” & info on IA for small sites.

Thanks at @tedulle

(Q&A split into two different parts because Aaron is going to discuss a different topic so Ted is taking questions now..)

Up next Aaron….

– smooth information flow
– allow users to access content quickly
– minimize decisions

When do you add SEO?
– SEO should begin at the start of the IA process
– In many cases there is no IA

Why start out wrong?
– avoid noise in URLs
– Omit words like “the, and, of, in, with”
– Length: use judgement, no more than 5-8 words

Understand who is doing what…
– graphic designers shouldn’t do information architecture
– know who is coding the site

SEO Site Strategy for National USA Domains

Keyword Analysis:
– Can be done at the beginning
– Required for domain selection
– Internal linking structure
– Avoid hyphens in domain but not root level or below

– Global architecture (avoid duplicate)
– Keyword analysis
Single Site Strategy:
Satellite sites for country Top Level Domain

.ca .co. .uk .jp

Do URLs matter?
– file names matter

Flat Site Architecture
– user experience
– easier to build

Testing / Staging
– people post sites on another URL for testing which is problematic for a number of reasons.
– be sure to noindex

*Opinions expressed in live blog posts are those of the presenter and not necessarily Brian Ussery or Search Discovery Inc..

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