Learnings from Reading A Practical Guide to Information Architecture

Information architecture, or IA, is a term that you’ve probably come across quite often if you’re in the experience design field, but what exactly is IA? What is the relationship between IA and navigation? And what are the things that we need to keep in mind if we want to construct a good IA for our project?

These were some of the questions I used to have about IA, and the book A Practical Guide to Information Architecture, written by Donna Spencer, provides answers to these questions.

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Learnings from Reading About Face

About Face is a popular book in the interaction design community. Written by Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann, Christopher Noessel and David Cronin, it covers the essentials of interaction design and is packed with deep insights. Reading this book has changed the way I think about and approach interaction design, and here are my three key takeaways.

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Poorly Designed Interface Makes Oven Hard to Use

We talk a lot about the designs of mobile apps and websites. Companies, start-ups hire the best designers to craft the best UX for their digital products, but we seem to ignore the UX of physical products. User interfaces of a lot of home appliances, such as oven, stove top, dish washer, washing machine, are often not intuitive and hard to use.

Recently I moved into a new apartment and tried to cook. I was confused by the buttons and knobs on the panels of an oven and ended up spending much time trying to figure out how to turn it on.

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Please, Don’t Replace the Bar with the Drawer

The bottom navigation bar in Material Design, which I will call the bar, also known as the tab bar in iOS, is the area at the bottom of the screen that allows the user to quickly switch between sections of an app. The navigation drawer, which I will call the drawer, is typically a side sheet that displays different app sections and is triggered by tapping the hamburger menu icon.

Both the bar and the drawer can be used for navigation purposes. Many apps nowadays seem to get rid of the bar and rely purely on the drawer, especially on Android. Without careful consideration however, this can lead to usability problems.

A bottom navigation bar in Material Design

A navigation drawer in Material Design

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