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Facets Are Fundamental: Rethinking Information Architecture Frameworks

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This article presents three problems with existing information architecture frameworks. First, they are too focused on organizing information based on topic. Second, they treat facets as a supplemental form of classification. Third, they conflate the organization and representation of information. Analysis of these three problems suggests that information architects should provide navigation systems and user interfaces—based on an underlying framework of faceted classification—that allow users to flexibly navigate through complex information spaces in the service of particular tasks and goals. To this end, this article introduces a faceted classification framework, and provides an example of a model framework, called “Facets are Fundamental” (FaF). The purpose of the FaF framework is to explicitly designate faceted classification (rather than a hierarchical classification) as the starting point of the IA development process. Both of these approaches encourage information architects to employ non-topical methods for organizing and representing information.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Publication date: February 1, 2007

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  • Technical Communication, the Society's journal, publishes articles about the practical application of technical communication theory and serves as a common arena for discussion by practitioners. Technical Communication includes both quantitative and qualitative research while showcasing the work of some of the field's most noteworthy writers. Among its most popular features are the helpful book reviews. Technical Communication is published quarterly and is free with membership.
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