Beyond the traditional definitions for Taxonomy, Navigation and Information architecture, a pragmatic definition in context of how these terms are used seems in order. We view Taxonomy as the creation of metadata or “Information about the information” on your site or application. Navigation Models are the basis for creating components on your site to allow users to move around and find the information (Menus, Search box, etc). Finally Information Architecture is the process by which user centered design principles like user profiles, content views and task modeling are applied to the taxonomy to allow for an optimal user experience.
As an industry, we are still in our infancy in creating the best strategies for dealing with the fire hose of information being thrust upon us. Sometimes the user just wants a sip and sometime full immersion into the content is more appropriate. Here are some guidelines to consider when dealing with these complex navigation issues: