Where I let others tell you the details on the history of IA and we think about IA in the context of IXD
This week we are going to deep dive into Information Architecture. Many interaction designers do information architecture as a practice — after all, much of what we work with is information and data, as much as it is behavior. But, that said, Information Architecture, or IA, is also a distinct practice in and of itself with a lineage in information sciences and library sciences and a legacy that has evolved and overlapped interaction design as the internet and digital information has become integral to almost every profession.
Richard Saul Wurman, coined the term information architecture, in the 1990’s (late 80’s?) as he saw an explosion of information that people were being assaulted with and had to wade through. He was working in print at the time and the term hadn’t moved into the internet yet. But RSW is essentially a founding father of IA and is looked upon for laying out many of the core principles of how we can deal with information.
Molly Wright Steenson, Ph.D.— an iA and interaction designer turned educator and specialist in architects as related to digital experiences — talks about Wurman in the short video below. You can find more information about Wurman in Steenson’s book Architectural Intelligences — How Designers and Architects Created the Digital Landscape. She has a good chapter digging into Wurman followed by a detailed chapter on the History of Information Architecture on the web.
For the details of the history of IA, please watch the video below from Dan Klyn — he does a better job than I would giving an IA history overview. He digs in and is also a practicing IA as well as an educator.
This week’s writing prompt for my students was for them to consider their work as an Interaction Designer and their experience doing Information Architecture. How as an Interaction Designer, you have participated in the process of Information Architecture. If you haven’t ever actually done IA, you have experienced it. Think about a site that has a lot of complicated content and how you experienced that. How is IA different from Interaction Design? How is it supportive of the goals of IXD? How do they work together to create good user experiences?
A Brief History of Information Architecture by Andreas Resmini
Richard Saul Wurman — The 5 Ways to Organize Information (YouTube)
Dan Klyn — Explaining Information Architecture (YouTube)
Molly Wright Steenson—Talks about the Architects — timestamp 3:03 when she starts talking about Richard Saul Wurman (Vimeo)
Note: All these lectures were delivered via video with related slide decks of images. Following the intro, students had a series of readings and videos to watch related to the topics covered in the lecture or the overall time frame. They were then given a set of prompts to stimulate their thinking and writings which ended up in a class blog.
Computer Age: AOL, Girl Games, intro lecture 11
Computer Age: The World Wide Web, Browsers, Early Community, intro lecture 10
Computer Age: Early personal computers & games – intro lecture 9
Computer Age: Christopher Alexander, Muriel Cooper and Architecting Space, intro lecture 8