SCS6079 Digital Practices MA Digital Media & Society

workshop 3 icon week 2: Planning for structure and design

  1. content planning
  2. information architecture
  3. design considerations
download slides [PDF]

Results from our poll

IA & content planning

Content out: planning for effective IA

illustration of content flow
  • site creation starts with thorough planning of all aspects, priority on content, followed by structure
  • IA informs UI design. note: IA ≠ UI
    [ IA: information architecture | UI: user interface ]
  • IA defines content structure, labeling and indexing
  • UI is derived from the site navigation (informed by IA)
  • content and users to guide all aspects of production
  • information architecture essential for usability/accessibility
  • recurring cycle of work: plan - review - test - iterate
illustration of content flow
illustration of content flow
  • plan an approach for content review
  • don't rely on your own preferences/interests/taste!
  • find connections in context
  • define a logical structure for content, then plan site/UI
  • focus on structure first, edit naming/phrasing to fit
  • continue to review - test - iterate

Site maps & wireframes

illustration of content flow

screenshot of gliffy UI

design considerations

Brand design

effect of branding

content planning

points to consider
  • objectives / site mission
  • target group & their individual personas
  • quantity / structure / nature of content
  • site plan in hand with clear sections / sub-sections
  • media types: images / video / audio / downloads
questions to answer
  • mission statement: what is your site's goal?
  • who is your target group? how will your site speak to them best?
  • which content elements will be fitting?
  • what structure will work best?
  • which media is fitting for your context and audience?

Workshop activity

Time to get started :) — let's work together to begin your planning for content. At this point, you should be clear about your brief and have begun to consider your site's goal and target group. If not, you can use this method to finalise your decision.

Before starting on content production, it's best to brainstorm and explore all possible angles. Mind maps are great tools to capture early ideas and to make note of the various angles and details. At this point, there are no bad ideas ~ only ideas!

Get opinions from others at any stage of your project, as much as you can. This can be us, your teachers, or your fellow students in the classroom. Ask for feedback and let it guide your work.

topics to explore

choice of topic ✱ sociological angle ✱ target group ✱ mission/goal/message ✱ types of content ✱ media types ✱ tone of voice ✱ digital context ✱ design direction ✱ assumed web use (device/app)

handy tool

The best mind and site maps are often sketched on paper - and if you prefer that, please don't let this sway you! If you'd like a digital tool, LucidChart will be worth checking out. Use your academic email to unlock more features.

to-do list = homework :)

  1. make a final decision on your project brief
    Make note of the title of the brief itself + start to think of a new title, one that might become your site's name or tagline.
  2. create a mind map of possible content
    Brainstorm time! Jot down all of your ideas, no matter how far fetched or silly. Best to make notes as some ideas might lead to others.
  3. review the mind map, ask for feedback
    With your own notes in hand, ask around for other people's input. Ideally, this would be your target group - but you can also help each other out, a second opinion is always useful.
  4. create a draft version of the site map
    Review your site map taking on board any feedback, make note of the stronger ideas and aim for a logical approach to the structure of your content, in view of your site's goal.
  5. plan for content production
    Make notes on ideas for media, such as photos to take or edit, as well as textual content. Keep in mind you will now have 3 weeks to focus and work on your content before we resume our site building sessions.

NOTE: have a look online for inspiration ~ check out these examples by MindMaps Unleashed ↗.
And to give you an example you can relate to ;) - the following mind map and site map, created in LucidChart, are for this very site.

mind map for content
site map

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