Opoloo’s Link Digest on Information Architecture
The awareness of the term “information architecture” has declined significantly in favor of “user experience”. That’s okay, we need new hobby horses every once in a while. Nevertheless, the foundation of IA is so immensely relevant (and I think the need for good information architects is undiminished) that a solid understanding of it can improve anyone’s workflow. As Peter Morville says, everyone’s an information architect. We have to be, so why not improve our skills a little?
“When we live in a world where relationships with people, places, objects, and companies are shaped by semantics and not only by physical proximity; when our digital identities become persistent even when we are not sitting at a desk and in front of a computer screen, then we are reshaping reality.”
A comprehensive account, historic and readable all the same, on how IA was born and how it matured to its current state, from information design in the ‘70s to pervasive and ubiquitous IA today.
“Information Architecture is horribly boring and depressing. [But] when you do it with a container system, it’s a little like cleaning your kitchen, you know: when you’re done, you feel like you’ve actually achieved something and not made any foul compromises.”
Oliver Reichenstein on containers, structure without content, taxonomy decisions that result in confusing navigation. A wonderful and funny talk on basic IA techniques that can make all the difference. While you’re at it with time on your hands, also watch his wonderful talk on “Information Entropy” held at Smashing Conference a couple of weeks ago. There’s some slides to that, too.
“Simplicity can be complex.”
A slide presentation by Abby the IA that covers the systems of meaning-making, organizing, and vocabulary concerning their importance for Information Architecture. These lucid slides are intended to increase our awareness of the questions we have to ask when we try to make a product that makes sense to its users.
“As important as they are, flows are hard to communicate during the design process. Drawing out every state of a flow is too time-consuming. And drawings become instantly outdated as screens change.”
Ryan Singer, one of the most prolific user experience designers of our day, wrote this five years ago, but what he has to say has aged really well. He introduces a shorthand for conceptualizing UI flows.
Compare also these amazeballs slides on “How to craft clear user interfaces”.
“You’re probably thinking that you need a good IA in order have a good UX. Exactly.”
User Experience Architect Darren Northcott explains the confusion between Information Architecture and User Experience and clears it up.
A comprehensive overview, quite old already by internet stadards, but a good start into the subject matter nonetheless.
In his new book, one of the founding fathers of information architecture investigates the inter-relationships of technology, nature, urban structures, society, life and systems and much more. It is a manifest of connectedness via information and well worth your time. Also, do read this interview with him and Timothy Jaeger on Medium.