In defense of information architecture


Road signs, grocery stores labeling systems, directories, time tables, train schedules, books, flight charts, maps, libraries, databases, buildings, etc. Iniformation architecture (IA) has been around for a while outside of computer interfaces.

Lately there is a rumor about “the death of IA”

The typical process of information architecture (hierarchical structures) was disrupted by innovations, such as the search engine. This is a good thing. This simply points to the need for information architects not to hang on and sit on one particular problem-solving model.

Text and numbers are only a couple of embodiments of information. We also have information “locked” inside images, sound files, voice interfaces, video, 3-D interactive environments.

Technnology changes very fast and along with it the forms and shapes of information. This revolving change leads to new needs to simplify the user-information interface.

As we gain awareness of wider systems and networks (beyond the immediate enterprise) we may begin to see a bigger demand for dynamic, multi-relational IA across multi-enterprise networks.

We should also anticipate machine-learning, automation, search algorithms to compliment the work of IA’s. In order for IA’s to remain current they will need to turn artificial intelligence, and folksonomy into their tools rather than their adversaries.

IA’s also need to take the lead into becoming their own innovation disruptors. For example, they may design interfaces that minimize the need for information findability. One way to do this is by designing interfaces that provide decision-making information within the context of use and need.

Related on this blog:

Reforming information. Information has limitless forms >>


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