Downey’s & Banerjee’s IA checklist

Downey, L. & Banerjee, S. (2011). Building an information architecture checklist. Journal of Information Architecture, 2(2), 25-42. Retrieved from

IA DEFINITION: Bailey (2002) organising so findable, manageable, useful (p. 25).

LITTLE IA: from ground up, using metadata and controlled vocabulary, not user-centric.

BIG IA: Top down with user and organisational focus. Closer to Bailey’s definition [compare Garrett’s definitions].

SCOPE: Applied to web, application, enterprise strategy, should also address infrastructure.

MODEL: Adopted Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) ‘information organization and access’ (IOA) approach (p. 28).

i) Architecting by structure & composition of doc, page, repository;

ii) Developing categories, metadata [typology, taxonomy];

iii) Developing search function to get useful results; and

iv) Refining findability.

[WIREFRAMES: Misnomer based on 19900s 3-d modelling grids that were developed to be clad with bump-maps of textures (skin, hair, grass, bricks, etc). Now used to describe grids for 2-d layout in software like Fireworks or Illustrator. There’s some debate whether the separation between this kind of static design and direct mark-up isn’t a waste of time and cost.]

TECHNOLOGY: [hardware/software?] considered purview of system architecture, not IA (p. 31).

DATA STRUCTURE: ‘Composition of data’ drives different choices for hardware/software as well as IA approach (p. 37).


Interpellation: Serious practitioner, maybe PM, solutions architect as well.
Absences: No focus on smaller organisations, cost scales.
Utility: Excellent model to use if stuck or on-selling ideas.
Questions: Is there too much self-justification for IA discipline and ‘profession’ in this article?
Is there too much focus on rigidly controlled management and process hierarchies?

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