The Evolution of Information Architecture

Information architecture (IA) focuses on bringing principles of design + architecture to the digital landscape. It is the structural design of content (copy, videos, images) of shared and organized information that enables users to create a task of some sort. Some of these environments include websites, mobile apps, and social media platforms which users engage with to complete a particular task in mind. Information architecture is considered to have been founded by Richard Saul Wurman.[1]

Richard Saul Wurman

In 1964, an IBM research paper defined architecture as “The conceptual structure and functional behavior, distinguishing the organization of data flows and controls, logical design, and physical implementation”. During the 1970s, Richard Saul Wurman addressed the American Institute of architecture using the term “information” together with the term “architecture”.

Also during the 1970’s, a congregation of people who specialize and information science was assembled called the Xerox Palo Alto research Center. They were given the permission to develop technology that could support information architecture. This group of people was responsible for numerous contributions in the field known today as human computer interaction. Their contributions include the very first personal computer with laser printing, a user friendly interface, and the first WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) text editor. The blueprints, information categories, requirements, guidelines on the primary business processes, and global corporate needs all make their way into territory of information architecture in the 1980s. These tools were permanently incorporated it into the information architecture toolkit by the late 1990s and a wave that was led by Rosenfeld and Morville.[2] [3] Today there is a growing network of active IA specialists who constitute the Information Architecture Institute.[4]