Production and Operations
Before actual production of the web site can begin, you enter an intense period of planning or pre-production, during which the project manager must coordinate the architecture, design, and technical components. For the architect, this is where the blueprints meet the content. You'll want to create detailed page-level architecture blueprints and start mapping the content.
With a production plan in place, the actual construction of the web site can begin. At this point, you may find yourself engaged in the delicate art of point-of-production architecture, trying to resolve minor or major problems that arise as the production team charges forward. Why are these items grouped together? Shouldn't we break this long page into several pages? What was the architect thinking?
The final stages of production are marked by extensive testing and revision, leading up to the web site launch with the requisite marketing extravaganza and smashing of champagne bottles on computer screens.
Don't drink too much champagne, however, because an architect's work is never done. A web site keeps growing and changing. The information architecture can easily get out of hand, and you must actively guide its continued development. Unfortunately, you can't always be there as the web site grows. Architects sometimes have little hands-on control over the site during production, and even less after its launch. An information architecture style guide can serve as a useful tool for maintaining the integrity of the architecture over time, even in the absence of the original architect. In more ideal situations where you are involved with the site after launch, tools for tracking and analyzing usage can help you to identify opportunities for improving the architecture.