IA and copy plan templates in Excel

18 Sep 2009 - 6:33am
4 years ago
5 replies
1693 reads
Russell Stout

To date we've been creating site plans, wireframes, copy outlines and
functional specs across a range of different document types (word,
Excel, Illustrator, Omnigraffle).

This has generally worked ok over the years, but we're trying to up
our game and rationalise the tools we use - specifically site plans
and copy outlines.

We were thinking that a simple content plan created in Excel listing
section, pages and metadata along with project status is flexible and
team friendly (anyone can update without specific software), but not
particularly client friendly regards an aesthetic site plan.

However, this could be addressed by creating a sheet in the Excel
workbook that pulls columns from the content plan sheet in a styled
up layout. This would update any changed made to the content plan.

So, getting to the point - does anyone know of any readymade
templates that does something like this in Excel? Or maybe any other
recommended approaches?


18 Sep 2009 - 11:24am
Barry Briggs

Have you tried this combination of Excel and Visio?


It's not ideal but it goes some way to the level of automation you
describe :)


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18 Sep 2009 - 11:40am
Lorenzo Chavez

Anytime you start trying to use excel it becomes problematic when you have more than a few people working on many files. What always seems to work better is a content management tool with versioning control. Two words: Configuration Management. Most projects only worry about working on current documents but rarely think about how data will be maintained during the life of the application. If this isn't thought out it can be very costly, money that most companies assume is a cost of doing business. Also the cost of having to recover documents that have been accidentally deleted or modified while others are still working on them. Plus using excel, there is always someone who has to play administrator, which I think is a waste of a persons time.

18 Sep 2009 - 11:38am
Alex Hogan

I have a word template that I've been using that is effective and user
friendly. Contact me offline and I'll send you a copy of a version.


19 Sep 2009 - 8:46am
DJ Hoets

Though not a book that exclusively handles sitemaps within Excel, you
might want to check out "Effective Prototyping with Excel (more
information to be found at www.effectiveprototyping.com).
Personally I use Excel to create anything from concept model, a
content inverntory, to sitemaps and even wireframes. Bearing in mind
that versioning can indeed be problematic, but I found that this does
not apply exclusively to Excel.

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21 Sep 2009 - 12:04pm
Russell Stout

Thanks for the feedback people.

Alex, I%u2019ve dropped you a, email.

Barry, we're trying to avoid Visio as we have both Mac and Window's

Lorenzo, I couldn%u2019t agree more and we%u2019ll hopefully move to
this way of working in due course, but fortunately the way we
collaborate means this isn%u2019t really an issue at the moment. If
we can crack the Excel route, we should maybe try something with
Google Docs?

DJ, I%u2019ll take a look around the site.



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