School of Library and Information Studies

LIS 534 Outline

LIS 534: Information Architecture: Web Design for Usability
Course Outline

Fall 2018


Instructor: Dr. Brenda Reyes Ayala
5-170 Education North
(780) 492 - 0121
Office hours: 4-5pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays



An examination of the principles and practice of web usability, with a focus on information architecture, layout and design, metadata and other topics related to effective web design and management. Includes an introduction to HTML and other web coding.

Student Learning Outcomes

At the completion of this course, the students will be able to:

  1. Understand the role of information architecture in building effective websites.
  2. Examine and apply usability principles to effective web design.
  3. Examine the role of usability evaluation in web design decisions.
  4. Discuss important issues in web design (e.g., accessibility, mobile web, global audience, copyright and privacy, web standards and policies).
  5. Create standards-compliant websites using HTML and CSS.


  • Information behaviour & the Web
  • Content design and organization systems
  • Labeling systems; Writing for the Web
  • Navigation design; Search systems
  • Page design; Multimedia
  • Web usability evaluation & testing
  • Designing websites for mobile devices
  • Accessibility for users with disabilities
  • Global audiences
  • Web standards & policies
  • Metadata and Search engines
  • Website design trends and issues

Class Meetings and Websites:

This is a face-to-face class that meets on Tuesdays from 1:00 pm – 3:50 pm in ED 221. This course has a website in eClass  for submitting assignments and sharing reading materials. Students are welcome to make an appointment with Dr. Reyes Ayala at any time to discuss course-related questions.


A combination of lectures, in-class discussions and exercises, group work, and computer demonstrations will be used throughout this course.

Required Text

  • Morville, P., Rosenfeld, L., & Arango, J. (2015). Information architecture for the world wide web and beyond. 4th edition. O'Reilly Media. Available from the University of Alberta Library here:
  • Krug, S. (2013). Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability. 3rd edition. New Riders Press. Available from the University of Alberta Library here:


Homework: 40%

Project - Website design and construction: 30%

Assignment - Website evaluation and re-design: 20%

Class contribution: 10%


These are individual assignments designed to help enhance your understanding of major topics of this course through examples and collaborative learning. Before class, you will first do the preparatory readings, and summarize key points from the readings. You will then apply what you have learned from the readings to the evaluation of two websites. After all homeworks have been submitted and graded, the instructor will select several students to present their work to the class. Presentations will count towards your class contribution grade.

Project - Website Design and construction

This project provides an opportunity to develop your individual web design and implementation skills. You will create a small website for a library or information;l service of an organization of your choice based either on a real organization, or on a hypothetical one that could reasonably exist in the world. You will first identify the purpose of the website and contextual issues and constraints, analyze its target audience, and design an information architecture for the website. You will then put your design skills to work by creating a prototype of the site's main pages by manually coding HTML and CSS (i.e., not using Dreamweaver or other web design software).

Assignment - Website evaluation and re-design

In this assignment, you as a group will evaluate and re-design a website to improve its information architecture (IA). This assignment is designed to help develop and demonstrate your understanding of important IA concepts and your ability to apply your knowledge of IA in identifying and fixing website proplblems. After all assignments have been submitted and graded, the instructor will select several students to present their work to the class. Presentations will count towards your class contribution grade.

Class contribution

This represents individual contribution for the benefit of the entire class, and is intended to encourage all students to actively participate in the learning process. This includes (but is not limited to): class discussion, short, in-class exercises and presentations, contribution to the discussion forums in eClass, preparatory reading, attendance, attitude, providing additional resources, etc. Comments, criticism, and questions are expected to be relevant to the topic, to reflect preparatory reading on the topic, and are expected to be respectful of other students and the instructor. Anticipated absence from class must be communicated to the instructor prior to the class. At the end of the course, you will be given the opportunity to submit a brief self-assessment of class contribution which will be considered when assigning your class contribution marks.

SLIS Grading Procedure

Grades reflect professional judgements of student achievement made by instructors. These judgements are based on a combination of absolute achievement and relative performance in class. The instructor should mark in terms of raw scores, rank the assignments in order of merit, and with due attention to the verbal descriptions of the various grades, assign an appropriate final letter grade. (SLIS Grading Procedure)

Late Submission

Students are expected to submit assignments on time. The due dates are specified in eClass. If an extenuating circumstance such as a medically diagnosed illness or family emergency arises, which prevents you from submitting your assignments; you should contact the instructor as soon as possible before the due date. Late work without the permission of the instructor will receive a grade with a 10% penalty (or 10 points out of 100) per day after the due date. A student who is having trouble with assignments is strongly encouraged to contact the instructor as early as possible for personal advising.

Academic Integrity

The University of Alberta is committed to the highest standards of academic integrity and honesty. Students are expected to be familiar with these standards regarding academic honesty and to uphold the policies of the University in this respect. Students are particularly urged to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Code of Student Behaviour and avoid any behaviour which could potentially result in suspicions of cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation of facts and/or participation in an offence. Academic dishonesty is a serious offence and can result in suspension or expulsion from the University.

Inclusive Language & Equity

The Faculty of Education is committed to providing an environment of equality and respect for all people within the university community, and to educating faculty, staff, and students in developing teaching and learning contexts that are welcoming to all. The Faculty recommends that students and staff use inclusive language to create a classroom atmosphere in which students’ experiences and views are treated with equal respect and value in relation to their gender, racial background, sexual orientation, and ethnic background. Students who require accommodations in this course due to a disability affecting mobility, vision, hearing, learning, or mental or physical health are advised to discuss their needs with Specialized Support and Disability Services.

Recording of Lectures

Recording of lectures is permitted only with the prior written consent of the professor and all students in the classroom, or if recording is part of an approved accommodation plan.