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Footnotes to “Re: The Future of Information Architecture”

Authors:

Abstract

The article “Re: The Future of Information Architecture” was first published on September 24 2019 (Hobbs 2019). Although written in relation to the dissolution of the Information Architecture Institute (IAI), its content presented a reflection on the field at that time with an eye to the future. The present article serves three purposes: preservation and historic record of the original text; documentation of concerns facing the field at that time, with regards to its institutional status; and as a commentary and further conceptual elaboration roughly two years post the dissolution of the IAI.
Jason Hobbs
Footnotes to “Re: The Future of Information
Architecture”
Introduction
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Re: The Future of Information Architecture
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Jason Hobbs – Footnotes to “Re: The Future of Information Architecture”
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Jason Hobbs – Footnotes to “Re: The Future of Information Architecture”
86
Conclusions
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JOURNAL OF INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE SPRING 2021, VOL 6 ISS 1 — Landscapes
87
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Jason Hobbs – Footnotes to “Re: The Future of Information Architecture”
88
Acknowledgments
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"F99J$,<.?< LKLI<F=#E=FID8K@FEI:?@K<:KLI<?KKGJA?:F
JOURNAL OF INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE SPRING 2021, VOL 6 ISS 1 — Landscapes
89
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&8:<I;8 IHL@K<KLI8;8#E=FID8]U]SF*<IM8J@M8GIFA<KFJ;<<:FJJ@JK<D8
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J*IF:<<;@E>JF='-
Jason Hobbs – Footnotes to “Re: The Future of Information Architecture”
90
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4FCCD8E#E=FID8K@FEI:?@K<:KLI<@EK?<EK?IFGF:<E<#E,<JD@E@
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Footnotes
56 .?<#=#pIJK8E;K?<##8=K<IN8I;J=I<HL<EKCPLJ<;K?<K<IDJip<C;j
iGI8:K@:<j8E;i;@J:@GC@E<jCFFJ<CP@=EFK@EK<I:?8E><89CP.?FJ<8JG<:KJF=
;@J:@GC@E8I@KPN?@:?K?<#EJK@KLK<D8P?8M<8JG@I<;KFN8I;JJL:?8JJLGGFIK@E>FI
GL9C@J?@E>J:@<EK@p:8CCPM8C@;8K<;I<J<8I:?GIFM@;@E>K?<GC8K=FIDJ=FI:I@K@:8C
;@J:LIJ@M<;<98K<@EJK@KLK@FE8C<;L:8K@FE8E;BEFNC<;><JKFI8><N<I<8CC<oFIKJ
N?@:?=8@C<;KF9<JLJK8@E<;FIi8;M8E:<;jN@K?8EP:FEK@EL@KPFM<IK?<M8I@FLJ
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JOURNAL OF INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE SPRING 2021, VOL 6 ISS 1 — Landscapes
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Jason HobbsJason Hobbs
Human Experience DesignHuman Experience Design
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Jason Hobbs – Footnotes to “Re: The Future of Information Architecture”
92
... For the author, no other theoretical concern could have motivated such an effort at this time, and the timing of the need for such research is overdue (Hobbs, et al., 2010) and more necessary than ever (Hobbs, 2019). Furthermore, IA is a niche area of interest academically, the field is by and large practice-led (Hobbs, et al., 2010), and very little validated research is published on the topic. ...
... (Hobbs, et al., 2010). 15 See Re: The Future of Information Architecture (Hobbs, 2019). 16 Several reasons are provided at the same source referenced in footnote 15. 17 A variety of practice-oriented texts, that is, non-scholarly texts, have emerged from the mainstream field in response to this shift, including Morville's Ambient Findability ) and ...
... Secondly, the concepts of structural logic and semantic 23 Prior to its fourth edition, the book Information Architecture for the Web and Beyond was titled Information Architecture for the World Wide Web. In its latest edition a chapter is dedicated to Design for Understanding (Rosenfeld, et al., 2015) 24 Commentary on the IAI dissolution can be found at jh-01.com/?p=374 (Hobbs, 2019) formation are introduced to explain how IA makes concepts through acts of composition which are generative of new meaning (Hobbs & Fenn, 2019). Thirdly, Mainstream IA as an applied science from the field of LIS is reconsidered through an interpretivist lens. ...
Thesis
Full-text available
This research project explores the use of Information Architecture (IA) in Design Thinking for the purposes of ideating solutions to wicked problems. A constructivist account of IA is advanced in this study offering new perspectives, distinct to those offered by the mainstream IA employed in digital design, heralding from Library and Information Science. This reframing of IA creates a new space to explore what value may be found lying dormant in the relationship between IA and DT, and Design in general. The Research Through Design (RTD) methodology serves to support the constructive nature of this inquiry. In RTD, the researcher operates both in the role of designer and researcher, executing and critically reflecting upon a design project. For this study, a design project was conducted to address the complex social problem of addiction as it manifests in Johannesburg, South Africa. A new form of IA, Conceptual IA (CIA), is notionally developed to observe and discuss IA when enacted in Ideation following the DT process-method. The findings and conclusions offered emerge from qualitative analysis of observations and reflection upon the design project’s enactment. Within its scope, the study reveals that IA, as reframed, can be understood as operating tacitly within design (and the world) as that which contains and transmits socio-ontological meaning, decoded, recoded and encoded in design. Explicit use of IA methods, tools and techniques greatly enhanced synthetic cognition across the whole of the DT process-method enacted. Furthermore, CIA conducted in Ideation provided the concept for a social systems solution central to a strategy design which synthetically resolved the challenges presented by the wicked problem of addiction. IA and design developed to realise the concept, as blueprints, describe how use of the system in the world triggers a transformation and transcendence of this concept: in use, the IA of the concept being embedded within the structural form of the designed object, comes to be a new socio-ontological phenomena. In this way, a (speculative) theoretical account is given for how an instrumental / ontological mediation of social reality may occur, at scale, by IA employed in Design.
Chapter
Today’s information architecture (IA) practitioners work in a morally and politically challenging climate where pervasive, systemic problems demand that we consider the consequences of our work for social justice and sustainability. Using “Information Architecture in the Anthropocene” as a framing device, and drawing from critical perspectives in design scholarship, this chapter explores what these systemic problems mean for everyday information architecture practice, and it asks what methodological, theoretical, and paradigmatic qualities would enable information architecture to respond adequately to social and environmental challenges. Both design and information architecture practitioners are deeply involved in ongoing sociopolitical problems, which highlights the need for awareness of their limitations and their situatedness within the systems that are traditionally treated as objects for detached research and design. Reflexivity, informed by a systemic epistemology, is identified as a critical attribute for information architecture in the Anthropocene. Three proposals are offered as ways to achieve this: information architecture as a developmental process, information architecture as ethical practice, and information architecture as a network. These approaches apply processual and relational interpretations, along with biological theory, to the practice of information architecture, challenging our field to include ourselves in the systems we study and to rethink information architecture as a responsible practice.
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter frames the ongoing epistemological evolution of information architecture as a shift, under the pressure of social and technological change, from the “classical” information architecture of the 1990s and early 2000s to a “contemporary” information architecture. It then establishes a differentiation between the two, modeled in accordance with the conceptualization of innovation in fields of knowledge offered by Van Gigch and Pipino’s Meta-Modeling Methodology.
Thesis
Full-text available
This research project explores the use of Information Architecture (IA) in Design Thinking for the purposes of ideating solutions to wicked problems. A constructivist account of IA is advanced in this study offering new perspectives, distinct to those offered by the mainstream IA employed in digital design, heralding from Library and Information Science. This reframing of IA creates a new space to explore what value may be found lying dormant in the relationship between IA and DT, and Design in general. The Research Through Design (RTD) methodology serves to support the constructive nature of this inquiry. In RTD, the researcher operates both in the role of designer and researcher, executing and critically reflecting upon a design project. For this study, a design project was conducted to address the complex social problem of addiction as it manifests in Johannesburg, South Africa. A new form of IA, Conceptual IA (CIA), is notionally developed to observe and discuss IA when enacted in Ideation following the DT process-method. The findings and conclusions offered emerge from qualitative analysis of observations and reflection upon the design project’s enactment. Within its scope, the study reveals that IA, as reframed, can be understood as operating tacitly within design (and the world) as that which contains and transmits socio-ontological meaning, decoded, recoded and encoded in design. Explicit use of IA methods, tools and techniques greatly enhanced synthetic cognition across the whole of the DT process-method enacted. Furthermore, CIA conducted in Ideation provided the concept for a social systems solution central to a strategy design which synthetically resolved the challenges presented by the wicked problem of addiction. IA and design developed to realise the concept, as blueprints, describe how use of the system in the world triggers a transformation and transcendence of this concept: in use, the IA of the concept being embedded within the structural form of the designed object, comes to be a new socio-ontological phenomena. In this way, a (speculative) theoretical account is given for how an instrumental / ontological mediation of social reality may occur, at scale, by IA employed in Design.
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter frames the ongoing epistemological evolution of information architecture as a shift, under the pressure of social and technological change, from the “classical” information architecture of the 1990s and early 2000s to a “contemporary” information architecture. It then establishes a differentiation between the two, modeled in accordance with the conceptualization of innovation in fields of knowledge offered by Van Gigch and Pipino’s Meta-Modeling Methodology.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Recent developments in information and communication technologies have left interaction design and human-computer interaction (HCI) with something of a conceptual gap. The distinction between physical and digital spaces is increasingly blurred. Cloud-based services have enabled a separation of information content from device so that content can be accessed and manipulated across multiple devices and locations. The user experience (UX) frequently needs to deal with activities that transition across physical and digital spaces and ecosystems of devices and services. Designers can no longer prescribe the journey or curate experiences simply as isolated interactions. Instead, UX must be consistently spread across touchpoints, channels, and device ecosystems. Our contribution to the development of UX, interaction design, and information architecture is to appeal to the notions of cross channel user experiences and blended spaces. Information architecture is the pervasive layer that underlies interactions that cross services, devices and blended physical and digital spaces. Information architecture is the structure within which the UX unfolds. From this perspective, we highlight the importance of creating meaningful places for experience and navigation through blended spaces.
Article
Full-text available
This article is a reprint of parts of Chapter 2, “Towards a Pervasive Information Architecture”, from Andrea Resmini and Luca Rosati's “Pervasive Information Architecture”, a book published by Morgan Kauffman. The text was partially edited for clarity by the authors. The Journal would like to thank Morgan Kauffman for consenting to the reprint.
Book
Full-text available
Information architecture has changed dramatically since the mid-1990s and earlier conceptions of the world and the internet being different and separate have given way to a much more complex scenario in the present day. In the post-digital world that we now inhabit the digital and the physical blend easily, and our activities and usage of information takes place through multiple contexts and via multiple devices and unstable, emergent choreographies. Information architecture now is steadily growing into a channel- or medium-aspecific multi-disciplinary framework, with contributions coming from architecture, urban planning, design and systems thinking, cognitive science, new media, anthropology. All these have been heavily reshaping the practice: conversations about labelling, websites, and hierarchies are replaced by conversations about sense-making, place-making, design, architecture, cross media, complexity, embodied cognition, and their application to the architecture of information spaces as places we live in in an increasingly large part of our lives. Via narratives, frameworks, references, approaches and case-studies this book explores these changes and offers a way to reconceptualize the shifting role and nature of information architecture where information permeates digital and physical space, users are producers, and products are increasingly becoming complex cross-channel or multi-channel services.
Book
This is a book on the logic of design and hence on how we make, transform, refine, and improve the objects of our knowledge. The starting point is that reality provides the data, to be understood as constraining affordances, and we transform them into information, like semantic engines. Such transformation or repurposing is not equivalent to portraying, or picturing, or photographing, or photocopying anything. It is more like cooking: the dish does not represent the ingredients, it uses them to make something else out of them, yet the reality of the dish and its properties hugely depend on the reality and the properties of the ingredients. Models are not representations understood as pictures, but interpretations understood as data elaborations, of systems. Thus, the whole book may also be read as an articulation and defence of the thesis that knowledge is design, and that philosophy is the ultimate form of conceptual design. This is the third volume in a tetralogy that includes The Philosophy of Information (OUP 2011) and The Ethics of Information (OUP 2013). The three volumes are all written as stand-alone, but they are complementary. By working like a hinge between the two previous books, this third one prepares the basis for volume four, on The Politics of Information . There, the epistemological, conceptual, and normative constructionism supports the study of the design opportunities we have in understanding and shaping what I like to call “the human project” in our information societies.
Book
Who are we, and how do we relate to each other? This book argues that the explosive developments in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) is changing the answer to these fundamental human questions. As the boundaries between life online and offline break down, and we become seamlessly connected to each other and surrounded by smart, responsive objects, we are all becoming integrated into an "infosphere". Personas we adopt in social media, for example, feed into our 'real' lives so that we begin to live, as Floridi puts in, "onlife". Following those led by Copernicus, Darwin, and Freud, this metaphysical shift represents nothing less than a fourth revolution. "Onlife" defines more and more of our daily activity - the way we shop, work, learn, care for our health, entertain ourselves, conduct our relationships; the way we interact with the worlds of law, finance, and politics; even the way we conduct war. In every department of life, ICTs have become environmental forces which are creating and transforming our realities. How can we ensure that we shall reap their benefits? What are the implicit risks? Are our technologies going to enable and empower us, or constrain us? This volume argues that we must expand our ecological and ethical approach to cover both natural and man-made realities, putting the 'e' in an environmentalism that can deal successfully with the new challenges posed by our digital technologies and information society.
Book
As physical and digital interactions intertwine, new challenges for digital product designers and developers, as well as, industrial designers and architects are materializing. While well versed in designing navigation, organization, and labelling of websites and software, professionals are faced the crucial challenge of how to apply these techniques to information systems that cross communication channels that link the digital world to the physical world. Pervasive Information Architecture provides examples showing why and how one would: Model and shape information to adapt itself to users' needs, goals, and seeking strategies Reduce disorientation and increase legibility and way-finding in digital and physical spaces Alleviate the frustration associated with choosing from an ever-growing set of information, services, and goods Suggest relevant connections between pieces of information, services and goods to help users achieve their goals. *Master agile information structures while meeting the unique user needs on such devices as smart phones, GPS systems, and tablets *Find out the 'why' and 'how' of pervasive information architecture (IA) through detailed examples and real-world stories *Learn about trade-offs that can be made and techniques for even the most unique design challenges