Christina Wodtke has done for Information Architecture what Steve Krug did for usability - produce a practical and accessible introduction to the field. 'Blueprints' provides a pragmatic look at the practice of information architecture, illustrating a solid "toolbox" of techniques and methods useful for web designers, producers, developers, and others involved in the creation and evolution of web sites.
Wodtke's quirky humor and light tone make the book an easy read, but don't let the fresh style convince you that the content is lightweight. Behind the breezy prose is solid instruction in methods that hit the sweet spot of effective tools that still work with limited budgets. The "How-to" coaching is coupled with reasonable explanations about why and when to apply the techniques...Ms. Wodtke doesn't just prescribe methodology, she informs the reader with enough theory behind the practice to explain and justify it to management, clients, or other team members.
The tools taught in the book all center on creating a web site with great usability and findability - where things are easy to use and content is easy to find. While the "toolbox" isn't complete, it's a great foundation for pursuing a user-centered approach to creating web sites.
The book's biggest shortcoming is inevitable - IA is a complex field, and there could be so much more detail on some of the topics. Sometimes I felt that I wanted more on a particular subject, and it wasn't there. But to keep the book readable and accessible, some things have to be left out. The book's recommended reading list does go into more depth on many of the topics, providing an avenue for people to learn more once they've absorbed the lessons here.
Overall, this is a great debut and a valuable addition to the field of information architecture and the broader practice of web design and development. Experienced information architects will find little new here, but it's great to have a book that acts as a gentle on-ramp to IA and puts so much into one package. If you're new to the field, work in a related discipline like graphic design, or want to have a quick explanation of various IA methods for colleagues, I highly recommend Blueprints for the Web.