Presentation on theme: "Introduction to information architecture"— Presentation transcript:
1 Introduction to information architecture I. What is information architecture?• Origins of IAII. Evolution of IA• IA in organizations• IA in the worldIII. Basic concepts and principles• Organization and order• Hypertext • Navigation and labeling• Technical IA: infrastructures
2 I. What is information architecture? A brief history of information architectureResmini and Rosatiu provide a brief history and overview of IA and discuss its significance for our fieldIA has gone through at least three stages and is entering a fourthWhile IA has been linked closely to the web, changes in technology are driving IA in new directions~ What changed when the focus of IA shifted from information design to information systems?~ How does the work of the IA change in pervasive IA?
3 I. What is information architecture? IA has a history that predates the webIt is not a science and predates WuhrmanDefinition: a professional practice and field of studies focused on solving the basic problem of accessing, and using, the vast amounts of information available todayIt is mainly a production activity, a craftIt relies on an inductive processAlso a set, or many sets, of guidelines, best practices, and personal and professional expertiseResmini, A. and Rosatiu, L. (2011). A brief history of information architecture. Journal of Information Architecture, 2(3).
4 I. What is information architecture? IA and information systemsFocus: solving information management problems within the larger business vision or logistic needs that drive organizationsIA role is primarily an IT function whose main tasks are to enable consistent access to the correct data and help structure enterprise information assetsEnabling the provisioning of the right information in the appropriate context to those who need itHolistic planning to meet organizational information needs and avoid duplication, dispersion, and consolidation
5 I. What is information architecture? IA and Information systems1964: IBM’s high level framing set the stage for IA by abstracting architecture from physical constructionAs conceptual structure and functional behaviorDistinguishing organization of data flows and controls, logical design, and physical implementation1970: XeroxParc - technology to support the “architecture of information”Led to a focus on HCI and user-centered technologiesThe first PC with a user-friendly interface, laser printing, the first WYSIWYG text editor
6 I. What is information architecture? IA: the components of the information infrastructure that take the business model and component business processes and deliver IS that support themData architecture, the systems architecture and the computer architectureData connections, bandwidth, costs, server topology, and storage limits are part of IAConnects IA to the strategic company thinkingMany design deliverables are picked up by Rosenfeld and Morville in 1998Blueprints, requirements, information categories, wireframing, business strategy and processes
7 I. What is information architecture? IA as information designRichard Wuhrman introduced IA in 1975, thinking about the role of information urban planning and designUsed an architectural metaphor to describe the need to transform data into meaningful information for people to useInformation as instructions for organizing spaceIt involves the creation of systemic, structural, and orderly principles to make something workThe thoughtful making of either artifact, idea, or policy that informs because it is clear
8 I. What is information architecture? From a speech in 1976; an “information architect is:1) the individual who organizes the patterns inherent in data, making the complex clear2) a person who creates the structure or map of information which allows others to find their personal paths to knowledge3) the emerging 21st century professional occupation addressing the needs of the age focused upon clarity, human understanding, and the science of the organization of information.”Wuhrman, R.S. and Bradford, P. (eds). (1996). Information Architects. Zurich, Switzerland: Graphis Press.
9 I. What is information architecture? IA as information sciencePromoted by Rosenfeld and Morville's“We both believed the Internet would become an important medium and that librarians had a great deal to offer this brave new world of networked information environments”Used the architecture metaphor to highlight the importance of structure and organization in web designDeparted from Wurhman’s design approachOrganization, labeling, navigation, and search were the touch points around which they structured their practice
10 I. What is information architecture? “…while some folks adhered to the Wurman definition, we became evangelists of the LIS … school of information architecture. We argued passionately for the value of applying traditional LIS skills in the design of websites and intranets. We hired ‘information architects’ and taught them to practice the craft.We embraced other disciplines, integrating user research and usability engineering into our process. And, along the way, we built one of the world’s most admired information architecture firms.”Morville, P. (2004). A brief history of information architecture. In Gilchrist, A. and Mahon, B. Information Architecture: Designing information environments for purpose
11 I. What is information architecture? Goal: help people find and manage information more successfullyOrganization systems: the ways content can be groupedLabeling systems: what you call those content groupsNavigation systems: help you move around and browse through the contentSearching systems: help you formulate queries that can be matched with relevant documentsIA as the design of taxonomies, menus, and structures is mainstream and most accepted view of what the field is
12 I. What is information architecture? IA as pervasiveWeb 2.0 blurs producers and consumersTechnological change: new affordances and personal mobile devices and home appliances are redrawing the boundaries of computingSocial change: how we interact, the data we needHow we allow ourselves to be distracted by the information we receiveNew problems need to be addressed and IA is moving into new territoriesHow will this change IA?
13 I. What is information architecture? IA as pervasiveOne possibility: addressing the design of information spaces as a processOpening up a conversation with ubiquitous computing and service designA boundary practice whose contributions are crucialExploring the complexity, unfamiliarity and information overload that stand in the way of the user, regardless of the very nature of the environment being designed
14 I. What is information architecture? IA has become more significant as an activity and a profession since 2000ASIST sponsored the first IA conference in 2000 and it has become a prime meeting place for IAsThe Asimolar Institute for Information Architecture (AIfIA) was formed in 2003There is no credentialing, but there are IA grad programsKent State has an IA masters, we have a post-masters certificate programProfessionals come from LIS, HCI, web design, technical writing
15 I. What is information architecture? What is IA?The combination of organization, labeling, and navigation schemes within an information systemThe structural design of an information space to facilitate task completion and intuitive access to contentThe art and science of structuring and classifying web sites to help people find and manage informationAn emerging discipline and community of practice focusing on bringing principles of design and architecture to the digital landscape
16 I. What is information architecture? Dillon and Turnbull’s definitionIA is the term used to describe the process of designing, implementing, and evaluating information spaces that are humanly and socially acceptable to their intended stakeholdersThey argue that it is a craftIA creates as it produces, reacting to emerging elements of its own design to drive subsequent modificationsHow can the field achieve and maintain professional status?Dillon, A. and Turnbull. D. (2005). Information architecture. Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science.
17 I. What is information architecture? Big IA: the process of designing and building information resources that are useful, usable, and acceptableCovers user experience and organizational acceptance of the resourceTop down: treats the full product and its human or organizational impactsLittle IA: a more constrained activity designing metadata and controlled vocabulary of information organizationNot involved in analyzing the user response or the graphical design of the information spaceBottom up: does not deal directly with or evaluating formally the user experience of the resulting space
18 I. What is information architecture? IA practiceUnderstanding the information as content and shaping its organization and accessBuilding abstract associations between units of contentDeveloping browsing and searching functionalityDesigning the graphics, interfaces, and interaction techniques to allow users to access the body of informationIA: the complete process of design with specific methodologies for managing deployment of resources and sequencing of deliverables
19 I. What is information architecture? IA researchThe study of navigation and how people find what they are looking for in an information spaceThe perception of information shape or the emergence of web genres and their exploitation for designThe interaction between various structural forms of information space and the userSearch behavior and the design of efficient search mechanismsIA should have a future: a world of digital information will need people to architect spaces to share, collect, and organize documents and resources
20 Introduction to information architecture I. What is information architecture?• Origins of IAII. Evolution of IA• IA in organizations• IA in the worldIII. Basic concepts and principles• Organization and order• Hypertext • Navigation and labeling• Technical IA: infrastructures
21 II. Evolution of IAComplexity and the practice of web information architectureBurford uses a grounded theory approach to argue that web IA in organizations is a complex adaptive systemShe studies web work in seven organizations to provide empirical examples of actual practices of information organization and find that the work is deeply contextual and characterized by compromise and negotiation~ If the authors are correct in there findings, what happens to the possibility of best practices for IA?~ If you were a corporate IA, how would the Cynefin framework affect your work?
22 II. Evolution of IAA website will have an information structures regardless of whether an organization consciously implements a process for web IAThe ability of website users to find information is paramount and enabled by attention to information designEffective online information structures are a vital organizational asset and source of competitive advantageRosenfeld and Morville offer a systematic evolving structured methodology for the practice of web IABurford, S. (2011). Complexity and the practice of web information architecture. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 62(10),
23 II. Evolution of IAThe web’s growth and development and the ease of participation in website publishing by multiple organizational stakeholders introduce challengesA website serves multiple audiences leading to goal conflict between organizational subunits with different target customersIA practices vary greatly across organizationsWeb IAs require a broad set of skills and expertise: research, design, evaluation, coordinating ` stakeholders, and project managementIssue: how to structure information in a new information environment without established traditions and practices
24 II. Evolution of IADebate: can there be systematic approaches with best practices to the design of online information spaces?Rosenfeld and Morville offer a systematic evolving structured methodology for the practice of web IAU.S. Department of Health and Human Services has published a set of web development guidelinesBut Spool and Nielsen claim that a website’s deep information structures require contextual, dedicated, and creative information design activity that cannot be standardized in the form of guidelines
25 II. Evolution of IADescribes research that examined the practice of web IA in large organizations.Seven large organizations were investigated and data analyzed for emerging themes and conceptsFive patterns emerged1. Provisional information structuresWeb information is tightly coupled to both business activity and the involvement and vested interest of business stakeholdersUnpredictable and frequent change to its web information structures happens in large organizations
26 II. Evolution of IAProvisional information structuresThe business stakeholder with no IA expertise has a sense of ownership of process and outcome and brings a urgency to the projectWeb IAs find themselves working quickly to respond to business request for changesAgile changes are demanded on many levels (frequent small and less-frequent large scale changes)Issue: the public-facing website of an organization demands a level of responsiveness not expected of traditional information structures such as a DBor formal and standardized taxonomy
27 II. Evolution of IA2. Concessions to best practiceIAs develop their own contextual ways of working that are not best practices or prescribed methodologiesParticipants reported using a range of prescribed methods as they suit the circumstances.Ongoing adjustments to work practices, at times, are at odds with recommended or “best” work practicesThe work and outcomes of IA in its situated contexts involves compromise - best practices and methods cannot always be accommodatedThe work is characterized by pragmatism
28 II. Evolution of IA3. Experts and novices:The IA of the website of a large organization is constructed by experts and novicesIA expertise is frequently used for major redesigns and is located in dedicated IAs employed centrally within the organization or consultant IAsWith limited resources, central web IAs encouraged self-reliance among stakeholders in the creation of devolved web information structuresNovices conduct IA, without training or experience, incorporating web work with other duties, on the lower tiers of the enterprise website
29 II. Evolution of IA4. Timing and opportunity:Business readiness is an essential factor in successfully attending to a website’s information structures.IAs develop a sense of timing and learn to wait until conditions are favorable for large-scale web IA workIf an IA project is initiated and driven by central web staff without buy-in from the business unit, it is more likely to failAt times, an identified and much needed change to the website proved to be difficult to negotiate and to enact a large organization
30 II. Evolution of IA5. Practice and projects:Project approaches to are frequently adopted in but can’t easily adapt to situated realities of practiceThe business driven volatility of information structures challenges project outcomes and optimal project-based designs meet resistance due to lack of contentIAs reported that large-scale redesigns had been done using the Morville and Rosenfeld project methodologyThere is tension between the business drivers for changes to the web IA and the need to protect the project outcomes
31 II. Evolution of IAWhat we learnIA practice in large organizations involves compromise, negotiation, and responsiveness to meet the volatile requirements of an organization in its use of the web to inform its clientsBusiness stakeholders demand immediacyIA occurs in environments that defy the existence of stable, long-term information structuresRapid creation and multiple, interacting issues and influences are key characteristics of the business use of websites
32 II. Evolution of IACynefin framework: the environment in which web IA is practiced influences the approach takenChallenges the belief that all things, with enough time and effort, can be ordered“Known” quadrant: a place of order and logic where standard categories and processes are commonFormal and standardized taxonomy developmenbt characterizes IA work“Knowable”: laws of cause and effect are still in place but are less obviousA set of analytical processes, expert input and time and resources are required for problem resolution
33 Regions of order on the right and unorder on the left II. Evolution of IARegions of order on the right and unorder on the leftUnorder: the paradox of the lack of order within emergent order or a form of order that is not directed or controllableBurford (2011; 2033)
34 II. Evolution of IAComplex” and “Chaotic” exist without obvious laws of cause and effect“Chaos”: difficult to make sense or achieve solutionsThe environment is too turbulent and IA actions should reduce the confusion and instability“Complexity”: the nature of interacting components and their relationships cannot be fully known or definedThe construction of information structures to shape web delivery of business information involves negotiation, imperfection, rapid response, and provisionalityWithin this aspect of web IA complexity arises
35 Introduction to information architecture I. What is information architecture?• Origins of IAII. Evolution of IA• IA in organizations• IA in the worldIII. Basic concepts and principles• Organization and order• Hypertext • Navigation and labeling• Technical IA: infrastructures
36 III. Basic concepts and principles The information architecture of behavior change websitesDanaher et al. explore the uses of web sites by medical professionals to promote changes in behaviorsThey argue that different IA schemes produce different results when presenting behavior change strategies developed in office or clinical settings on the web~Is it possible for a web site and its contents to be a stimuli for behavioral change? Why?~Should IAs develop different types of site structures for different types of behavior change?
37 III. Basic concepts and principles They are taking a pragmatic approach to IAHow can the web be used to deliver effective behavior change programs?They argue that IA is a critical component, especially the structure of the web siteAssume: different site designs can be be matched with different behavior change goalsIA plays a role in web-based behavioral interventionsResearch question: how much change is due to the strategies and how much to the site IA?Danaher, B.G., McKay, H.G. and Seeley, J.R. (2005). The information architecture of behavior change websites. Journal of Medical Internet Research 7(2).
38 III. Basic concepts and principles Information organizationIAs work with two kinds of systems for organizing informationOrganizational and structural systemsWhat are the different ways in which digital content can be organized?What kinds of structural arrangements facilitate access and use?Navigation and labeling systemsWhat are the relationships among the chunks or containers?
39 III. Basic concepts and principles Structures that make a difference in behavioral changeThe free-form matrix design that offers little information structureMost pages are linked to each otherMaximum contentFreedom of movement but at the cost of getting lostGood for small sites and experienced usersJ Med Internet Res Apr-Jun; 7(2): e12.
40 III. Basic concepts and principles Structures that make a difference in behavioral changeA hierarchical design that provides the user with information arranged in an organized fashionTop down allowing review of increasingly detailed contentInformation is chunkedEffective searching through drilling downReduces confusionJ Med Internet Res Apr-Jun; 7(2): e12.
41 III. Basic concepts and principles Structures that make a difference in behavioral changeA tunnel design that defines a narrow path with a predefined series of stepsDesigner attempts to control user interactionGood for accomplishing tasks (buying, booking)May be good for learningMay reduce anxiety and encourage dialogJ Med Internet Res Apr-Jun; 7(2): e12.
42 III. Basic concepts and principles Structures that make a difference in behavioral changeA hybrid design composed of a combination of modules that have their own IA designAllows exploration of content (engage in discovery learning) while maintaining focused forward movementMore freedom of movement with more constrained optionsRicher experienceJ Med Internet Res Apr-Jun; 7(2): e12.
43 III. Basic concepts and principles Let’s get crazyJ Med Internet Res Apr-Jun; 7(2): e12.
44 III. Basic concepts and principles Organizational/structural systemsCreating the high level information architecture of a siteDeveloping major categories of information and creating relationships among themOne way to represent a web space is a “wireframe”It is a skeletal rendering of every click-through possibility on your siteA text-only “action,” “decision” or “experience” modelIt depicts the flow of specific logical and business functions and identifies entry and exit points users see on the site
45 III. Basic concepts and principles This process is done before the actual design beginsIt is not concerned with design, navigation, content or developers’ and designers’ concepts of how to produce the siteA wireframe begins with “what” and “action” questions:What is the purpose of this page?What does a visitor do at this point?Where can a visitor go from here?You ignore questions about what the site looks like
46 III. Basic concepts and principles The wireframe provides a complete text-only schematic of the siteIt displays the business logic and user functionality efficientlyThis is kept separate from all other issuesA clean wireframe makes the development of the prototype much easierIt can be done on paperIt can also be done on the webPeople can easily see the organization and structure
47 III. Basic concepts and principles A wireframe for SLISWeb: Site viewIII. Basic concepts and principlesHomeA1A2A3A4A5A6A7A8A9A10A11A3.1A3.2A3.3A3.4A3.5Key:HomeA3: ProgramsA3.1: MISA3.1.3: Current curriculumA : New curriculumA3.1.1A3.1.2A3.1.3A3.1.4A3.1.5A
48 III. Basic concepts and principles A wireframe for SLISWeb: Page viewIII. Basic concepts and principlesBranding logoSearchNav linksFacultyGraphicLinkNews linksDean’s messageApplyAddress footer
49 III. Basic concepts and principles Organizing informationClassify, label, and catalog content for easy navigationDeal with ambiguity and heterogeneityClear language is essential, especially for major section headingsPresent information with varying degrees of granularity (resolution)Different types of information may be side by side (links to articles and journals)Links may lead to single pages or groups of pagesInformation may also be available in varying formats
50 III. Basic concepts and principles Ontology research and development. Part 1 - a review of ontology generationDing and Foo argue that ontologies are an important way to improve information organization and review relevant research projectsOntologies are representations of shared conceptualizations of phenomena or domains that allow the communication of heterogeneous information~The authors argue that ontologies will be crucial to the semantic web. Do you agree? Why?~Why is is important that ontologies are reusable?
51 III. Basic concepts and principles Ontologies are important in IA workThey are shared understandings of common domainsSet of classes or conceptsThese concepts have relations, functions, axioms, instancesIt is formal (machine readable) and explicitThey capture the consensual knowledge of a communityAllow the transfer of heterogeneous informationDing, Y. and Foo, S. (2002). Ontology research and development. Part 1 - a review of ontology generation Journal of Information Science, 28(2),
52 III. Basic concepts and principles Ding and Foo 2002; 124
53 III. Basic concepts and principles An ontology is a reference model for a domainIt provides a consistent standard and is reusableIn the semantic web, they act as metadata representing the semantics of dataTypically created by hand so they are hard to updateThere is work on automated ways to generate themTop down: generalization to specializationBottom up: specialization to generalizationMiddle out: important concepts to generalization and specialization
54 III. Basic concepts and principles 1. Identify purpose and scope2. Create the ontologyOntology capture: identify and define key concepts and relationshipsOntology coding: settle on basic terms (class, entity, relation)Choose a representation language and write codeIntegrate existing ontologies3. Evaluation4. Documentation and guidelines for each of the previous phases
55 III. Basic concepts and principles The final resulting ontology should be clear with unambiguous definitions and termsConsistent and coherentExternally consistentExtensible and reusableDesigned for reuse and extensibility
56 III. Basic concepts and principles Another example
57 III. Basic concepts and principles When ontologies don’t work…Searching becomes difficultUsability is affectedalertbox/9605.html
58 III. Basic concepts and principles Making use of ontologies in IALabeling and navigationThe way the information is organized affects the way that people understand itOrganization is also important because it affects labeling and navigationThe basic task is to classify the site’s content into categories and develop links among the categoriesWhat are the shared characteristics of site’s content?How are sets of characteristics related?What is the best way to represent these sets?
59 III. Basic concepts and principles Folksonomy: an ontology created by many people who are active in the domainCollaboratively generated, open-ended labels that categorize content such as Web pages, online photographs, and inksAllows classification and retrievalMetadata can be applied by professionals, creators, or usersThe last is the most chaotic and becoming more popular
60 III. Basic concepts and principles Information architecture for digital librariesSimon describes three different IAs used in working DLsThey vary on the degree of centralization involved and the types of technical infrastructures developedThis approach is an example of the information systems approach to IA~ What are the strengths and weaknesses of Simon's approach to IA?~ How does it differ from Rosenfeld and Morville's version?
61 III. Basic concepts and principles Basic questionsWhat exactly is a DL?What standards and technologies are utilized by DLs?What role does interoperability play?Can the emerging discipline of IA provide guidance?Goal: survey of DL that explores IA models mainly from a technology standards perspectiveDL: a resource–discovery service that extends the range and reach of physical and/or electronic resources in a digital environmentSimon, S.J. (2008). Information architecture for digital libraries. First Monday, 13(12).
62 III. Basic concepts and principles Common elements of DL:It is not a single entityIt requires technology to link multiple resourcesThe linkages between DLs and information services are transparent to the end usersUniversal access to DLs and information services is a primary goalDL collections are not limited to document surrogatesThey extend to digital artifacts that cannot be represented or distributed in printed formats
63 III. Basic concepts and principles Standards are important in architectures in which communications between systems are necessaryKnowledge of standards and how they interoperate are essential to understand DL architecturesFunctional units or layers: the physical, data-link, Internet, transport, and application layers of hybrid TCP/IP–OSIThese layers are open standards that promote interoperability between hardware and softwareUse a modular design approach that subdivides architectural components into independent modules that address specific tasks.
64 III. Basic concepts and principles Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA)A standardized architecture that enables diverse computer systems to communicate effectivelyAn open, vendor independent specification for an architecture and infrastructure for interoprerabilityWeb servicesInteroperable building blocks for constructing applicationA new form of Web application that is self–contained, self–describing, modular, and can be published, located, and invoked across the Web
65 III. Basic concepts and principles University of Michigan Digital Library ProjectA decentralized architecture based on the notion of a software–agentAgents are elements of a DL collection or service and are highly encapsulated pieces of softwareAutonomy: agents both compute something and determine preferencesThey can reason about how they use their resourcesOnly fulfills services consistent with its preferencesNegotiation: autonomous agents negotiate with other agents to gain access to resources or capabilities
66 III. Basic concepts and principles Networked Computer Science Reference LibraryA federated digital library based on an open architectureA set of services, each with a well–defined protocol that specifies the interface to that serviceA common infrastructure supporting multiple servicesMechanisms for interoperability among library systems that may not share the same service decompositionKey services: repository, index, collection, user interfaceMore than 100 institutions provide a federated DL for CS materials in the form of individual collections and accompanying library services
67 III. Basic concepts and principles Distributed National Electronic ResourceDeveloped in the UK by the Joint Information Systems Committee as an international DL test bedFeatures a variety of quality–assured electronic and physical resourcesA service–based architecture accesses content in local collections, JISC collections available through content providers, and external proprietary collectionsThree high-level activities: discovery, access, and useUses portals, brokers, aggregators and content providers