IA to infinity and Beyond
Information architecture (IA) is the structural design of shared information environments; the art and science of organizing and labelling websites, intranets, online communities and software to support usability and findability; and an emerging community of practice focused on bringing principles of design and architecture to the digital landscape. Typically, it involves a model or concept of information that is used and applied to activities which require explicit details of complex information systems. These activities include library systems and database development.
Exploring the World as we know it can be living proof that information architecture is everywhere we go. It is in the subways, hotels, city centers and many other populated places, where order must be the glue that holds the flow of the everyday hustle of thousands of people going along their way. Information architecture has held our hand and has led us to live better lives, fully orchestrating the harmonious chaotic state that is Life.
We know in the context of user experience that information architecture is the structural design of information or content, which includes text, photos and videos — within a digital product. We come to find out that it wasn’t until the 1970’s that a man by the name of Richard Saul Wurman, started to dive deep into the idea that architects could also have a part in being essential to the design and construction of two dimensional works. In 1976 as the chairman of the AIA conference he introduced the idea of architecture of information, leading to the opening of his new firm “the understanding business” after leaving his previous practice. In 1996 he published a book titled “Information Architechs”,The book was super ahead of its time and it showcased a compilation of beautifully crafted writings and graphic works by designers. Fast forward two years later when he published yet another book that would come to shape the standards of information architecture today.
His book “Information Architecture for the World Wide Web”, Would become an instant best seller and would cement the foundation of information architecture and set down the tracks for the bullet train of IA for the years to come. It was presented to an audience that was technology savvy and the information in it was retained and implemented in the years to come as AI picks up steam and becomes a new force in the technology job market creating thousands of new jobs across the industry.
In more simple terms AI can be broken down into three principals that combine together to create perfect information technology. First we have Ontology. It discovers, defines, and articulates the rules and patterns that govern the meaning of what we intent to communicate. Taxonomy is second and it develops systems and structures for what everything is called, where everything is sorted and the relationships between labels and categories. Lastly is Choreography, which fosters and creates specific types of movements and interaction, anticipates the way users and information want to flow and makes affordance for future changes. The combination of these three along side inspiration, utility, and delight work together to shape and form the guiding principles of great IA.