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Posted on July 19th, 2011 by
Both. Information Architects often complain about doing content audits and try to pass the task to someone else. Yes it can be laborious to do one, especially on a large website, but it is a valuable tool for developing an information architecture. In fact, I find the best way to understand your content is to do a content audit. Not only do I learn about the type of content you have on your website, it helps me identify the content that is missing.
I typically record the audit in a spreadsheet and capture information about each page, such as its place in the site hierarchy, page name, URL, content type, owner, and description. I also indicate whether additional content needs to be created, if content needs to be rewritten, and whether the content is still relevant. I look at each major section of a website and go through as many levels as necessary. As I'm sifting through your content, I begin to identify the relationships between content and start to think of ways to organize it.
The result is an in-depth understanding of the content and an excellent tool for tracking content that is to be migrated to the new website. It helps me make decisions about what content needs to be included and how it should be organized.
Conducting a content audit is time consuming but is essential in designing a comprehensive information architecture.