Monday, December 17, 2007

Information Architecture for Web Developers

A high level overview of information architecture for web developers presented at Web Directions South in Sydney, Australia 28 September 2006.

Information architecture (IA) is the art and science of expressing a model or concept for information. Information architecture is used in library systems, web development, user interactions, database development, programming, technical writing, enterprise architecture, critical system software design and other activities that require expressions of complex systems. Information architecture has somewhat different meanings in these different branches of what might be called IS and/or IT architecture. Most definitions have common qualities: a structural design of shared environments, methods of organizing and labeling websites, intranets, and online communities, and ways of bringing the principles of design and architecture to the digital landscape.

Information architecture is defined by the Information Architecture Institute as:

  1. The structural design of shared information environments.
  2. The art and science of organizing and labeling web sites, intranets, online communities and software to support findability and usability.
  3. An emerging community of practice focused on bringing principles of design and architecture to the digital landscape.

The term information architecture describes a specialized skill set which relates to the interpretation of information and expression of distinctions between signs and systems of signs. It has some degree of origin in the library sciences. Many library schools teach information architecture.

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