Authors: Louis Rosenfeld & Peter Morville
Reviewed by: Simon Wistow
Rather like Apache this book has had two major releases - one at the start and oneat the end of the Dot.Com boom and bust cycle. In my previous I highlighted several problems with the first edition of this book. In the meantime I've met the authors (and taken them for a curry) and several other high profile practioners of the art and even, $god help, ended up speaking at an IA conference as a lone bastion of Coding Sanity.
So where has that left us?
A bit of a mixed bag to be honest
The book has been considerably beefed up and now sports 486 info packed pages compared to the original's 226. Many of the most serious problems that I mentioned previously have been fixed and the 4 years between the editions has allowed a certain amount of perspective
The expansion has helped with one my most serious problems in that the book sat uncomfortably between tutorial and exhaustive encyclopedia. To some extent this is still true but much less so - although not perfect this is simulataneously a much easier read from start to finish and a better reference to dip into.
All in all I do consider this to be a good replace and, if you're working on an interface of any kind, not just a web page, or are likely to be involved with one professionally then it's a worthwhile book to read. However I do have some problems still.
Whilst this may or may not be the view amongst Information Architects from where I sit they appear to occupy an unenviable middle ground between programmers, usability experts, designers, project managers and a variety of other project stake holders. In some instances they may be fufilling dual roles as both IA and some other job.
As such more information about dealing with other disciplines would have been invaluable. In conversations with IAs at a conference the knowledge of software engineering was woefully, almost terrifyingly, low leading to at least one "OH! That's why we do it like that" moment and a later email thanking me for effectively resolving a long standing problem.
In reality this is as much the fault of her programmers as it was hers but it highlights a need for better understanding between disciplines. As such, it can only do you good as a programmer to read this book.