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Information architecture

Information architecture is the categorization of information into a coherent structure, preferably one that most people can understand quickly, if not inherently. (source: Wikipedia)

Design Notes: On the Information Architecture of Music

In any structure, you must search for the power of silence, whitespace and emptiness.

“The article frames music through the lens of information architecture in order to infer a few considerations on information architecture through the lens of music, and is a thoroughly revised and expanded version of the author’s opening keynote at World Information Architecture Day in Verona, Italy, February 18 2017.”

Federico Badaloni a.k.a. /federico-badaloni | @fedebadaloni ~ Journal of Information Architecture 6.1

Taxonomies: Connecting users to content

Good old taxo’s.

“Taxonomies may be thought of as hierarchies of categories to group and organize information to be found when browsing, or as a structured set of terms used to tag content so that it can be retrieved efficiently and accurately. Sometimes the same taxonomy may serve both purposes, and sometimes two different taxonomies are used, one for each purpose, for the same content or site. Taxonomies are not new, in fact there has been a lot written about them, including an informative series of six articles here in Boxes and Arrows by Grace Lau in 2015. An area that still needs to be better understood is exactly how taxonomies should be designed and implemented to be most effective.”

Heather Hedden ~ Boxes and Arrows

Information and information architecture: The BIG picture

Information and information architecture: Alive and kicking.

“Information architecture is the process of categorizing and organizing information to create structure and meaning. To give this context, this article explores not only the basics of information architecture, but also the broader view of the information age, how we use information and how it impacts our world and our lives. Understanding the bigger picture enables us to get a much clearer perception of the value that good information architecture delivers to help our information-overloaded lives.”

Carrie Webster a.k.a. /carrie-webster ~ Smashing Magazine

Taxonomy (the secret ingredient of great content) and how it is linked to business strategy

Taxos for business as well.

“While I haven’t shared all the strategic reasoning behind the website taxonomy, I hope this post explains the approach well enough to solicit feedback. Is it perfect? I don’t know! We will come to know only after the website is launched, feedback is collected from the target audience, and website traffic is tracked over a period of time. That’s when I am going to update this post.”

The Verditer

An Information Architecture Framework for the Internet of Things

Academic thinking on IA, IoT and ecosystems. We need more of this.

“This paper formalizes an approach to the Internet of Things as a socio-technical system of systems and a part of the infosphere. It introduces a principle-based, human-centered approach to designing Internet of Things artifacts as elements of contextual cross-channel ecosystems. It connects the Internet of Things to the conceptualization of cross-channel ecosystems from current information architecture theory and practice, positing that the Internet of Things is both a formal, objective superset of any given ecosystem and a contextual, subjective subset of specifically instantiated ecosystems. The paper argues for the necessity of a transdisciplinary theoretical framework to promote a human-centered generative understanding of the Internet of Things phenomena and their consequences, in accordance with the Metamodel Methodology (M3). It proposes a phenomenology-grounded information architecture model detailing a set of 16 principles and secondary heuristics grouped according to an architectural perspective, which identifies guidelines that support the design of Internet of Things artifacts considering their objective characteristics; a human perspective, which identifies guidelines that support the design of Internet of Things artifacts considering subject/object relationships and the production of meaning; and a systemic perspective, which identifies guidelines that support the design of Internet of Things artifacts as relational parts of information-based ecosystems. These principles and guidelines are meant to provide the foundations for a practice-based approach to designing the Internet of Things–enabled information ecosystems.”

Flávia Lacerda, Mamede Lima-Marques and Andrea Resmini

2017 Information Architecture Summit closing plenary address

Making history at the summit while looking at the works of some giants.

“If as information architects we want to do human-centered design, and to be working in terms of health and wellbeing in the overall ecosystem as a consequence of our actions, even those actions that seem isolated in small sub-regions of the ecosystem, then our methods, and ways of talking with people who don’t do what we do, and the entry points into and interactions with our profession, need to go even wider than ordinary.”

Dan Klyn a.k.a. /danklyn | @danklyn

A Comparison in Pursuit of “The Masterworks of Information Architecture”

Finally some time for real in-depth research on the IA roots.

“In a search for classic works on information architecture, Joyce’s Ulysses and Richard Saul Wurman’s The City, Form and Intent are each compared internally across different versions and considered in terms of content, context and user. Each author modified readers’ experiences through changes in the content and physical form of their works. Wurman’s 1963 work, a loose-leaf collection reflecting architecture through clay models of cities, was redone in 1974 with the same content but different physical presentation. Joyce’s Ulysses was marked by variations across versions, with omissions, additions and typographic errors carried inconsistently through editions, leaving the author’s intended meaning ambiguous. The context of Wurman’s work was the very early stage in the author’s career. The context of production of Ulysses involved composition, editing, publishing, correction and republishing across multiple channels, making consideration of the totality of the editions key to understanding the information architecture of the work. Users of Wurman’s original print work exalted it, while users of a 2014 spin-off web project see it from a different perspective. Similarly, the user experience for Ulysses varies widely, depending largely on which edition is read. The analysis and internal comparison of the two works highlight the importance of both content knowledge and technical skill throughout any information architecture project. Whether they will serve as masterworks for the field remains an open question.”

Dan Klyn a.k.a. /danklyn | @danklyn ~ ASIS&T Bulletin June/July 2016

The war on information: A time to muster our UX practitioners

Many synonyms for the tsunami, deluge or overload of information.

“The world as we know it today is rich in information. At whim, we can usually find (without much delay) an information source that answers a question, suggests nearby restaurants, tells us how to travel, or provides us with data for the paper we are writing. The internet, as well as the technological innovations that allow us to easily and enjoyably access it, has given rise to a new era where knowledge is plentiful and interpretation is vital.”

Dash Neimark a.k.a. /uxdash | @ux_Dash ~ Boxes and Arrows

Meeting your mission: A user-centered approach to content strategy

Content, the UX material we work with. And code of course.

“The most common mistake by organizations designing a website, app, or other digital product is breaking the number one rule of human-centered design: put content where users are most likely to look for it. Instead, mission-driven organizations, in particular, such as government agencies and nonprofits, muddle the execution of their design as they struggle to promote their message and meet the needs of stakeholders.”

Nikki Kerber a.k.a. /nrkerber | @SocialWebNerd and Rachel Weatherly a.k.a. /rdweatherly ~ UXPA Magazine

Architect everywhere

Architecting information as an architect.

“The design process consists in defining hypotheses of what the balance between these forces ought to be, and articulating them to two main audiences: stakeholders — the people who are commissioning the product and/or those who will be using it — and its builders. This articulation happens by means of models, which the designer creates to communicate the intended balance to these audiences. These models can take many forms: sketches, comps, prototypes, etc. Feedback from stakeholders and developers helps designers refine these models as the project progresses, and the models evolve from being abstract and ambiguous (rough sketches) to concrete (screen comps, prototypes).”

Jorge Arango a.k.a. /jarango | @jarango

The pain with no name

Language is infrastructure for sense-making and place-making. Language is a medium for making. And, as RSW once said: “Language generates structure.”

“Twenty-five years into designing and developing for the web and we still collectively suck at information architecture. We are taught to be innovative, creative, agile, and iterative, but where and when are we taught how to make complex things clear? In my opinion, the most important thing we can do to make the world a clearer place is teach people how to think critically about structure and language.”

Abby Covert a.k.a. /abbytheia | @Abby_the_IA ~ A List Apart

User Experience Librarians: User Advocates, User Researchers, Usability Evaluators, or All of the Above? (.pdf)

Libraries and UX, a perfect match for information architects.

“User Experience (UX) is gaining momentum as a critical success factor across all industries and sectors, including libraries. While usability studies of library websites and related digital interfaces are commonplace, UX is becoming an increasingly popular topic of discussion in the community and is emerging as a new specialization for library professionals. To better understand this phenomenon, this paper reports the results of a qualitative study involving interviews with 16 librarians who have ‘User Experience’ in their official job titles. The results show that UX Librarians share a user-centered mindset and many common responsibilities, including user research, usability testing, and space/service assessments, but each individual UX Librarian is also somewhat unique in how they approach and describe their work. As a whole, the research sheds light on an emerging library specialization and provides a valuable snapshot of the current state of UX Librarianship.”

Craig M. MacDonald a.k.a. @CraigMMacDonald ~ Proceedings of the 78th ASIS&T Annual Meeting, vol. 51

Complete beginner’s guide to Information Architecture

But how complete can it be?

“Information architecture is a task often shared by designers, developers, and content strategists. But regardless of who takes on the task, IA is a field of its own, with influences, tools, and resources that are worth investigation. In this article we’ll discuss what information architecture really is, and why it’s a valuable aspect of the user experience process.”

UX Booth

The good, the bad, and the ugly: A language of critique for information architecture

I always love some deep thinking on information architecture. It’s not that often I encounter it.

“IA is more than wireframes. But we’re confined by the mindset that thinks IA is a box to check off on a project plan. If you find this a problem, you’ll want a way to change the discourse. A language of critique is going to help you become a better, more influential UX professional. We can all use that.”

Stacy Surla a.k.a. /stacysurla | @stacysurla ~ Fritillaria

Towards a definition of serendipity in information behaviour

Finding something unexpected and very relevant is a moment of wow!

“Serendipitous or accidental discovery of information has often been neglected in information behaviour models, which tend to focus on information seeking, a more goal-directed behaviour. (…) By including serendipity in information behaviour models, the frameworks arrived at should help further research in this area. A working definition of serendipity in information behaviour is a starting point for other researchers to investigate related questions in the area.”

Naresh Kumar Agarwal ~ Information Research Vol. 20.3