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Information Architecture

ODU's information architecture is the founding structure of Old Dominion University's website. It shows where topics and content lives within the site and provides context for the content. Our information architecture is strong and flexible, allowing the University Web Team to readily evaluate new content and establish place for it within the architecture.

Establishment of ODU's Information Architecture

ODU's information architecture was established through a committee process over the course of two years. The initial information architecture committee, in consultation with ODU's marketing consultants, the Educational Marketing Group, laid the groundwork for the overall concept and structure. The information architecture working group evaluated legacy (old) website content and determined its placement within the new concept and structure.

  • Primary focus is users - a website user should not need to be familiar with Old Dominion University and its administrative or academic structures to find desired content.
  • Secondary focus is browseability - users should be able to browse our website in a sensical manner and be presented with important information about ODU that will leave the visitor with a favorable impression.
  • Every page of every University office was examined.
  • Working group members were charged with evaluating placement from a user perspective and from a broad university perspective, not as representatives of their respective areas.
  • Working group members were charged with learning about various areas to ensure proper placement.
  • The primary guiding question was: "If I am new to the University and I am looking at this content, what other content would I expect to see with it?"

After completion of the initial information architecture, a sitemap was created and each unit's new information architecture was sent to its director and website editor with accompanying explanatory material. A feedback and adjustment period was offered, during which directors proposed adjustments and added any content that may have been overlooked. The University's information architecture was finalized in October 2011.

Changing ODU's Information Architecture


  • Jason Phenicie
  • Director of University Web & Electronic Communications
  • University Web Communications
  • 1001 Koch Hall
  • Norfolk, VA 23529
  • 757-683-3114 (office)
  • jphenici@odu.edu

The University Web Team is responsible for the maintenance, protection and growth of ODU's information architecture. The ODU website will and should continue to grow and this growth may sometimes necessitate a change in the information architecture. Changes include moving subsections or areas of content to new areas of the site, creating new subsections and renaming subsections or areas of content. The following describes the official process for changing the information archtecture:

  • Any request to change the information architecture must be made via email to the Director of University Web & Electronic Communications (Web Director). The request must contain the following:
    • Site subsection or area of content in question
    • Proposed new location or new name
    • If proposing a new subsection or area of content, the request must contain an overview of the content that will appear in it
    • Reasoning or justification for the change
  • The Web Director may request additional information or present information to the requestor for consideration.
  • The Web Director will address the change request with the University Web Team for consideration.
  • The University Web Team will make a recommendation.
  • For substantial moves or moves that may have a significant impact on the University brand, the Web Director will address the change request with the Assistant Vice President for Marketing & Communications, who may support the recommendation or alter the recommendation.
  • The Web Director will deliver the recommendation to the change requestor and the Web Communications team will take action on the recommendation.

If a change request is denied, the requestor may submit a second consideration to the Director of University Web & Electronic Communications who will take the request with the additional information to the Assistance Vice President for Marketing & Communications. The joint decision of the Assistant Vice President for Marketing & Communications and the Director of University Web & Electronic Communications is binding.