IA & CS

Information Architecture & Content Strategy (luas.ie)

This report will discuss and analyse luas.ie, Dublin’s tram service website. Information architecture will be analysed, followed by the analysis of the site content. All of the critiques will be supported with appropriate references and testing.

Information Architecture

According to Morville & Arango (2015), information should be organised in a way that people can find the right answers to their questions, but also to give them context so they can better understand those answers.

Organisational system

Organisational structure found on luas.ie is hierarchical, meaning the most important information on the site are organised into parent-child relationships. Morville and Arango (2015) state that in this way, users can easily understand information and develop a mental model of the environment’s structure.

The structure is also considered as wide and shallow, which means that users must choose from 9 categories to reach 30 content items. Each category is just one click away, but in the same time the users are faced with too many options on the main menu and can be unhappily surprised by the absence of content after they select an option.

 

According to Nielsen (2009), the sites should have various categories that link to their own landing page, which can provide a section overview for a user. On luas.ie, that’s not always the case because if the e.g. “Stops” category has been hovered, the two sub-categories are shown “Luas Red Line Stops” and “Luas Green Line Stops”

But, after the category has been clicked, the “Map” section is displayed.

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The only way to get to Red and Green Stops is to actually click on the links after they were shown on the hover state.

As Nielsen (2009) also states, this possibly decreased the overall number of the pages on the site, but when no page is clearly identified as a sub-topic page, users can misinterpret the site's breadth and miss important details, products, and services.

The organisational scheme on luas.ie website is hybrid, meaning that it includes the elements of topical (organised by subject or topic) and task-oriented (organised into a set of processes, functions, or tasks) organisational schemes.

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In 2015, Morville & Arango state that if more schemes are mixed together, it can cause more difficulties for a user when trying to create a mental model, because they have to skim through menu items in order to find the option they were looking for. However, on luas.ie website the hybrid scheme is wide and shallow and it includes high-priority tasks, so the problems shouldn’t arise.

Labelling system

The best way to present the organisational schemes across different context and systems is through labelling. The goal of a label itself is to precisely inform the user and transfer the meaning while taking as less space as possible, whether on the website or the user’s cognitive space (Morville & Arango, 2015).

Even though the labels can be encountered in two formats, on luas.ie website they can be found mostly in textual format.

Morville & Arango (2015) state how, even though not perfectly or mutually exclusive, textual labels can be split in 4 categories:

  • contextual links - shown as hyperlinks to pieces of information on other pages or to another location on the same page.