Object Orientation: Skills for Information Architects | 2 | WebReference

Object Orientation: Skills for Information Architects | 2

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Object Orientation: Skills for Information Architects

Understanding Attributes and Behavior

Objects are "things," things have qualities, and thus need a descriptive coating. Attributes perform this function by defining the state of an object (open, closed, etc.); think of attributes as adjectives and objects as nouns. What part of speech is behavior analogous to?

Behavior defines how an object reacts in a given set of circumstances, making behavior the operations of the design. Below, example 1 explains the use of objects, attributes and behavior.

Example 1: Let's use a database as our object. We desire a secure database so security becomes the object's attribute. The object's behavior allows logged-in users to query the database.

Example 2 demonstrates the use of interesting objects with relevant attributes and behavior.

Example 2: In this second example, let the objects be graphic buttons. We want the buttons' attribute, color, to give the user a reference as to where they are and what they might find if they click the button. We assign movement (JavaScript rollovers) as the behavior. The end user now receives additional information, a color, when moving the curser over the button.

After understanding the principles, practice applying these skills with more complicated media-rich, cinematic effects. But remember the Flash, audio and other potentially enhancing effects without any relevancy? Sites using irrelevant objects with undiscovered attributes often frustrate users as they wait through longer downloads; worse yet the experience may confuse the user as they attempt to discover the purpose of your site. Prevent these mistakes in your Web development by remembering that interesting objects require relevancy and a user- enhanced experience.

Conclusion

In this article, I concentrated on object orientation of the Web site design process. Many of you probably recognize that software development also uses some of these techniques. Web site design shares commonalities with software development in the organization, planning and execution phases. Both rely on clear methods of communication to both team members and eventually, users.

Throughout this essay I've applied the same principled processes used in software development to Web site development while, at the same time, developing our Information Architecture skills. The Object Orientation process focuses on working out the more complicated tasks first. It requires that we look for and recognize patterns, providing us more opportunities for developing solutions.

Through object orientation, we keep team members informed and linked to the outcome of a project. Information and communication flow, encouraging team members to rely on each member's strengths while compensating for weaknesses. When a whole project is laid out graphically, dissected, and broken into its respective parts, object orientation encourages team participation throughout the entire project while simultaneously facilitating synergy and continued team problem solving. Best yet, the end user becomes the team's focus.

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About the author: Peggie Brown is president of Brown Holdings LLC Group. Brown Holdings LLC Group provides sites such as KatsueyDesignWorks, a custom site design and development company, and Katsuey's Legal Gateway, a free legal research site.

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Produced by Peggie Brown and
Created: January 23, 2001
Revised: January 25, 2001

URL: http://www.webreference.com/authoring/design/information/oo/