An Introduction to Information Architecture

What is Information Architecture?

Information architecture also known as IA, is a task shared by designers, developers, and content strategist. Whoever takes on this task, IA is a field filled with influences, tools, and resources that are worth trying. Information architecture solves basic problems of accessing, and using the vas information of today. According to Information Architecture Institute,

“Information architecture is about helping people understand their surrounding and find what they’re looking for, in the real world as well as mine”

What does an Information Architect do?

We use IA in creations of site maps, hierarchies, categorizations, navigations, and metadata. When we separate content and divide it into categories, we are practicing IA. Also when a designer sketches a wireframe, to help users understand where they are on a site, this is also information architecture. Information architect usually works directly with a UX team and is responsible for the following:

-User Research & Analysis

-Navigation and Hierarchy Creation

-Wire framing

-Labeling

-Taxonomies & Metadata

-Data Modeling

History of Information Architecture

Information Architecture was discovered in 1975 by Richard Wurman. Richard was an architect who became interested in how information is gathered, organized, and presented to covey a meaning. His definition of information architecture is, “organizing the patterns in data, making the complex clear”.

In 1996 Lou Rosenfeld and Peter Morville was explored IA more into dept. These two applied IA into the tech world, with web projects they were working on. They then wrote a book where they clearly defined what Information Architecture was to the public. Rosenfeld and Morville main components of Information Architecture are:

  1. Organization of schemes and structures: How to categorize and structure information
  2. Labeling Systems: How you represent information
  3. Navigation Systems: How users browse or move through information
  4. Search Systems: How users look for information
  5. Context: Business goals, funding, politics, culture, technology, resources, constraints
  6. Content: Content objectives, document and data types, volume, existing structure, governance and ownership
  7. Users: Audience, tasks, needs, information-seeking behavior experience

To conclude, we as designers should become accustomed to information technology. By using this we can easily organize, structure and label content in an effective way to complete tasks.

References:

Images

https://www.theguardian.com/help/insideguardian/2010/feb/02/what-is-information-architecture

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