In “Mapping Memory: Web Designer as Information Cartographer” in A List Apart, a site for web developers, Aaron Rester talks about his redesigning the University of Chicago Law School’s website. He analogizes what he is doing when confronting the 6000 pages in the current site to what Quintilian, a Roman rhetorician, recommended you do if you wish to be ready to persuade. Persuasion is dependent on memory and memory is best secured by a spatial imagination, hence the cartography.
The redesign of my law school’s website is not unlike the creation of a rhetorician’s memory dwelling. Built from the collective memory of our past and current students and faculty, the website is an abstraction—a map—of that memory, created to persuade prospective students to apply, current students to collaborate, and alumni to remain engaged with the school.
This is not your usual “how to think about site architecture” stuff.
And to make it even more interesting, Chicago Law has a blog by Rester that lets you follow along on the redesign process. (The site is still the old design; but the new one is due soon, according to Rester.) His most recent post, Writing for the Web: 5 Guidelines, is a concise set of principles that might be helpful for web tyros in any setting.