Defining IA as the structure of navigation (menus) is IA of the 00’s.
“The number and order of navigation categories, and use of hover menus for touchscreens are frequently asked questions that arise when organizing information on a website or application.”
(Kathryn Whitenton ~ Nielsen Norman Group)
But as you also know, common knowledge is not as common as you think it is.
“You don’t hear the term information architecture much anymore. There is a lot of talk about understanding the users needs and delivering appropriate content. But, little about how the user finds that content. This is because it is a subject that is thoroughly covered. There are some great books on the subject and so bloggers don’t feel they have much to add. The problem is that when a subject has been so well covered, it moves into the realm of common knowledge. We all think we understand information architecture. Yet, it is a specialist area and the things we think we know may not be correct.”
(Paul Boag ~ Boagworld)
“(…) one of those buzzwords.” OMG!
“Information architecture (IA) is one of those buzzwords you’ve probably heard before. It refers to the organization of the information on your website and how it all fits together. When planning your IA, involve users of your website in the process as soon as you can. In this article, we’ll discuss card sorting, a tried and true technique for doing just that. We’ll go through some practical tips for running a card-sorting session, and also cover some examples.”
Another item to the acro soup: LUX. Great initiative this peer-reviewed journal.
“This paper demonstrates how user interactions can be measured and evaluated with A/B testing, a user experience research methodology. A/B testing entails a process of controlled experimentation whereby different variations of a product or service are served randomly to users in order to determine the highest performing variation. This paper describes the principles of A/B testing and details a practical web-based application in an academic library. Data collected and analyzed through this A/B testing process allowed the library to initiate user-centered website changes that resulted in increased website engagement and improved user experience. A/B testing is presented as an integral component of a library user experience research program for its ability to provide quantitative user insights into known UX problems.”
(Scott W. H. Young a.k.a. @hei_scott ~ Weave: Journal of Library User Experience 1.1)
A landmark event. For more than one reason.
“The following was delivered as the closing plenary address at the European Information Architecture Summit in Brussels, Belgium on September 27, 2014.”
(Abby Covert a.k.a. @Abby_the_IA ~ EuroIA.org)
And this not only applies to architects architecting with atoms.
“Demi-gods in black, some architects treat type as a redundant tool and graphic designers as inconsequential. But the relationship between architecture and graphic design has deep roots.”
(Erik Spiekermann a.k.a. @espiekermann ~ Design Observer)
Simple interpretation of IA: How you move or travel from one place to the next one in this space. Navigation needs a map, compass and a goal.
“IA is the information backbone of the site; navigation refers to those elements in the UI that allow users to reach specific information on the site.”
(Jennifer Cardello ~ Nielsen Norman Group)
In SME’s you really will find the real IA unicorns.
“This paper reports an investigation of the practice of web information architecture in small and medium enterprises . As information delivery via the web becomes a mainstream activity in all organisations, research and practical attention to Web IA remains focused on larger organisations and a new profession of information architect. The practice of web IA in SMEs has not been widely considered. This research collects the narratives of those who practice Web IA in the smaller enterprise and reveals that the dominant voice is that of a communication and marketing practitioner, rather than information professional. The outcomes of practice in this context suffer from a lack of knowledge and expertise.”
(Burford, S. & Given, L. M. (2013) ~ Journal of Information Architecture Vol. 5, No. 1-2)
Finally, some deep thinking based upon reading the relevant sources again regarding the properties of information and how it effects information architecture.
“(…) I introduced the phase-space of information architecture, a mapping of the semantic neighborhoods created when we run through all the permutations of the two flavors of information: perceptual and linguistic. (…) Here we will look in detail at the facets of each flavor of information. Now that we’ve detailed the facets of our stuff of design, let’s situate ourselves in a design problem and visualize how we may engage the phase-space of information architecture to strategically turn the dials of perceptual and linguistic information.”
(Marsha Haverty a.k.a. @mjane_h ~ Praxicum) ~ courtesy of @resmini
Hearts and minds create experiences. Structure relates to the cognitive part with information design and architecture as its fields of practice.
“Information architecture relates to science as its models draw on insights and theories of cognition. And its models relate to art as they aim to create a meaningful experience.”
(Elisabeth Hubert a.k.a. lishubert)
IA is not like a polar bear, but like a cat. Multiple lives. The next live of IA will much more complicated that the previous one.
Interview with Peter Morville. ~ “We’re in an era of service ecosystems. This means we must wrangle with the challenges of digital strategy and cross-channel user experience.”
(Timothy Jaeger ~ Medium)
Categories, tags, and facets are the descriptors for topics, themes and areas of interests.
“Facets are categories into which the properties of an object or topic can be divided. These categories in turn contain ‘values’: the sub-objects by which the list of items can be filtered. A classic example is the classification of wine. There are many properties by which wines can be categorised: region, colour, type, vineyard and price, among others.”
(Jim Kalbach a.k.a. @JimKalbach ~ Creative Blog)
Design and architecture or architecting. Designer and architect. More parallels than differences: bits and atoms.
“The connections between architectural and experience design are undeniable, the thought processes nearly indistinguishable from one another. When we explore other, older design disciplines, their evolution may begin to guide ours, and we may begin to truly innovate. We are truly the architects, the chief builders, of the web (…)”
(Rima Reda a.k.a. @rimareda ~ UX Magazine)
It’s the omni-channel design again.
“Designing for all screen sizes must consider the capacity of the human–device communication channel, which depends on users’ memory, device portability, and screen size.”
(Raluca Budiu a.k.a. @rbudiu ~ Nielsen Norman Group)
Only the discourse will bring our field forward. Not the table tennis of opinions.
“If there’s a third wave, a new spirit, a , it’s because we can build on 20 years of continuous practice and research and some 40 years of framing a common problem space. We are as much moving on as we are bringing it all back home: it’d be great if we could do that without paying too much attention to the sirens of unnecessary semantics. It’s a waste of time and we have a ton of work to do.”
(Andreas Resmini a.k.a. @resmini)
Always a pleasure to read a deep mind.
“We can struggle to create a positive vision for the future as individuals, organizations, and societies. We’re in the midst of an in between stage of liminality. We’re on the threshold of sustainability or collapse. To thrive, we will need to change culture. It won’t be fast, but a little change can add up. It won’t be easy, but there’s no other way. And I know this community will contribute, because it’s all about connecting the dots…”
(Peter Morville a.k.a. @morville)
Content chunck and design. XML revival?
“Richer, more flexible designs can coexist with the demands of multichannel publishing; future design changes can sidestep the laborious process of scrubbing old content blobs; and simpler, streamlined tools can help editors and authors produce better content faster. By combining the best of XML and structured web content, we can make the body field safe for future generations.”
(Jeff Eaton ~ A List Apart)
Formal power entering the field of UX. Who’s to decided?
“Are educational institutions equipped to prepare UX designers for the workplace of the future as advances in technology outpace those in education? Should the UX community be pushing for levels of accreditation to verify that someone has the skills and education necessary to call himself or herself a UX designer? How can an employer ensure that a candidate meets their expectations for a role in user experience?”
(Chris R. Becker ~ UXmatters)
Any information environment needs structure, therefore IA. Intranets not exclused.
“Intranets are improving findability and discoverability by organizing content by task rather than department, using megamenus to present deep content, offering clear cues to help orient users, and providing shortcuts to important pages and tools.”
(Marieke McCloskey ~ Nielsen Norman Group)
Integration, synergy and connections of bits and atoms. A new design ecosystem with many options.
“We’re at a revolutionary information crossroads, one where our symbolic and physical worlds are coming together in an unprecedented way. Our temptation thus far has been to drive ahead with technology and to try to fit all the pieces together with the tried and true methods of literacy and engineering. Accepting that the shape of this new world is not the same as what we have known up until now does not mean we have to give up attempts to shape it to our common good.”
(Andy Fitzgerald a.k.a. @andybywire ~ Radar O’Reilly)