When I first started designing web sites, I used simple Content Management Systems (CMSs) like Weebly.com and WordPress.com to put together my sites. I generally let the design guide my choices going through the CMS options, rather than thinking of the requirements of the site I wanted to build and who would be using it.
The articles for this session really emphasized prototyping as a way of sketching out sites, based on the intent and needs of the users, in a simple, interactive form that is easy to make and you won’t feel too bad about changing significantly or even throwing out.
The sites I was trying to make then were not very complex, not enough to be worried about going through a detailed iterative IA process. Although, it did make me wonder whether CMSs keep these guidelines in mind in making their interfaces. I have yet to come across a CMS that asks you what the goals of the site and the users are first off before presenting themes and page designs for you to choose from. Maybe I have been using simple programs, but it would be helpful if they made it easier for you to choose themes based on their utility to certain web site functions and user needs. As I have found from experience, picking a theme that looks nice and then trying to make your content fit is usually a frustrating, time intensive process.
Something to keep in mind for those of us learning the formal process of prototyping: someone without experience in IA viewing a prototype might be in the mindset of what looks the best, what looks most cutting edge, rather than what is the best fit for the content and user because of previous experience using CMSs.