Read through The Best IA Tool You Never Heard Of and despite the joy i feel in my […]

Read through The Best IA Tool You Never Heard Of and despite the joy i feel in my wee heart when I read this:

“Far from a trivial task. I’d argue information architecture (IA) is more important to the success of a site than design or programming. The two are (obviously!) vital. But if your customers can’t find your products and information or can’t access your services, you’re better off not having a site in the first place.”
(woo hoo!)

I still have no idea by the end of the article what IA task tinderbox would actually assist me in doing? Manage taxonomies to use in a CMS? Generate sitemaps? huh? All I’ve ever seen it used for is blogs, which is a fine use, and for personal note management.


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  1. 1
    Joshua Kaufman

    …and for personal note management.

    Exactly. Isn’t personal note management a big part of what an IA does? We make lots of notes about a organization and then attempt to put them back together in a way that makes sense. That’s what Tinderbox helps you do. Maybe a screenshot would make the case more easily?

  2. 2

    I think the title is overpromising a tinsy winsy bit. I guess you could use TBox as an IA deliverables tool, though – perhaps ironically – I don’t think of it that way. For me it’s a powerful way to prototype IA structures because once you have put content into notes you can combine them to form pages and navigation with just a bit of scripting, decreasing my reliance on a programmer.

  3. 3
    Mark Bernstein

    I think you might find Tinderbox handy as an information repository, a place for gathering and keeping notes. This is especially nice, I think, when gathering information from clients at the outset of a new project, a time when you’re often deluged with data and don’t yet know how you want to organize it or what matters.

    But the most interesting applications is probably EXPERIMENTAL information architecture. Tinderbox lets you build malleable inheritance hierarchies of pages and page-parts; Meerholz calls this “assembling web sites like Lego blocks”. This means, for example, that you can prototype a site with one topical organization and then, rather easily, switch to another scheme entirely. What do you want in this FEATURES box: a summary of the latest feature? A list of recent features, sorted by date? An alphabetical list? What’d happen if we put ALL OF THESE in the same box: too confusing? Same thing with Nav schemes: Tinderbox makes it easy to swap nav tools in and out.

    Tinderbox isn’t a magic bullet or a panacea. It doesn’t know a thing about IA! But it might be a handy tool to have ready, when you need it.

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