Information architecture (IA) is the structural design of shared information environments; the art and science of organizing and labelling websites, intranets, online communities and software to support usability and findability; and an emerging community of practice focused on bringing principles of design and architecture to the digital landscape. Typically, it involves a model or concept of information that is used and applied to activities which require explicit details of complex information systems. These activities include library systems and database development.
Information architecture is considered to have been founded by Richard Saul Wurman. Today there is a growing network of active IA specialists who constitute the Information Architecture Institute.
- The structural design of shared information environments.:4
- The art and science of organizing and labeling web sites, intranets, online communities, and software to support findability and usability.
- An emerging community of practice focused on bringing principles of design and architecture to the digital landscape.:4
- The combination of organization, labeling, search and navigation systems within websites and intranets.:4
- Extracting required parameters/data of Engineering Designs in the process of creating a knowledge-base linking different systems and standards.
- A blueprint and navigational aid to the content of information-rich systems.
- A subset of data architecture where usable data (a.k.a. information) is constructed in and designed or arranged in a fashion most useful or empirically holistic to the users of this data.
- The practice of organizing the information / content / functionality of a web site so that it presents the best user experience it can, with information and services being easily usable and findable (as applied to web design and development).
- The conceptual framework surrounding information, providing context, awareness of location and sustainable structure.
The difficulty in establishing a common definition for "information architecture" arises partly from the term's existence in multiple fields. In the field of systems design, for example, information architecture is a component of enterprise architecture that deals with the information component when describing the structure of an enterprise.
While the definition of information architecture is relatively well-established in the field of systems design, it is much more debatable within the context of online information systems (i.e., websites). Andrew Dillon refers to the latter as the "big IA–little IA debate". In the little IA view, information architecture is essentially the application of information science to web design which considers, for example, issues of classification and information retrieval. In the big IA view, information architecture involves more than just the organization of a website; it also factors in user experience, thereby considering usability issues of information design.
About the term information architect Richard Saul Wurman wrote: "I mean architect as used in the words architect of foreign policy. I mean architect as in the creating of systemic, structural, and orderly principles to make something work — the thoughtful making of either artifact, or idea, or policy that informs because it is clear."
Notable people in information architecture
- Jorge Arango
- Jesse James Garrett
- Adam Greenfield
- Peter Merholz
- Eric Reiss
- Donna Spencer
- Thomas Vander Wal
- Christina Wodtke
- Applications architecture
- Card sorting
- Chief experience officer
- Content management
- Content strategy
- Controlled vocabulary
- Data management
- Data presentation architecture
- Digital humanities
- Ecological interface design
- Enterprise information security architecture
- Faceted classification
- Human factors and ergonomics
- Interaction design
- Process architecture
- Site map
- Social information architecture
- Tree testing
- User experience design
- Visualization (graphics) § Knowledge visualization
- Web graph
- Web literacy (Infrastructure)
- "What is IA?" (PDF). Information Architecture Institute.
- "Richard Saul Wurman awarded for Lifetime Achievement". Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Archived from the original on 22 December 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
- "Join the IA Network". Information Architecture Institute.
- Morville & Rosenfeld 2007.
- Morville & Rosenfeld (2007). p. 4. "The art and science of shaping information products and experienced to support usability and findability."
- Resmini, A. & Rosati, L. (2012). A Brief History of Information Architecture. Journal of Information Architecture. Vol. 3, No. 2. [Available at http://journalofia.org/volume3/issue2/03-resmini/]. Originally published in Resmini, A. & Rosati L. (2011). Pervasive Information Architecture. Morgan Kaufmann. (Edited by the authors).
- Toms, Elaine (17 May 2012). "Information interaction: Providing a framework for information architecture". Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. 53 (10.1002/asi.10094). doi:10.1002/asi.10094.
- "Information Architecture". Mozilla Developer Network.
- Dillon, A (2002). "Information Architecture in JASIST: Just where did we come from?". Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. 53 (10): 821–23. doi:10.1002/asi.10090.
- Wurman, "Introduction", in: Information Architects (1997). p. 16.
- Wurman, Richard Saul, ed. (1997). Information Architects (1st ed.). Graphis Inc. ISBN 1-888-00138-0.
- Morville, Peter; Rosenfeld, Louis (2007). Information architecture for the World Wide Web (3rd ed.). Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly & Associates. ISBN 0-596-52734-9.
- Brown, Peter (2003). Information Architecture with XML (1st ed.). John Wiley & Sons Ltd. ISBN 0-471-48679-5.
- Wodtke, Christina (2009). Information Architecture - Blueprints for the Web (2nd ed.). New Riders. ISBN 0-321-60080-0.
- Resmini, Andrea; Rosati, Luca (2011). Pervasive Information Architecture - Designing Cross-channel User Experiences (1st ed.). Morgan Kaufmann. ISBN 0-123-82094-4.
- Sue Batley (January 2007). Information Architecture for Information Professionals. Woodhead Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84334-233-5.
- Wei Ding; Xia Lin (15 May 2009). Information Architecture: The Design and Integration of Information Spaces. Morgan & Claypool. ISBN 978-1-59829-959-5.
- Earl Morrogh (2003). Information Architecture: An Emerging 21st Century Profession. Prentice Hall. ISBN 9780130967466.
- Alan Gilchrist; Barry Mahon (2004). Information Architecture: Designing Information Environments for Purpose. Facet. ISBN 9781856044875.
- Andrea Resmini (ed.) (2014). Reframing Information Architecture. Springer. ISBN 978-3-319-06492-5.
- Peter Van Dijck (August 1, 2003). Information Architecture for Designers: Structuring Websites for Business Success. Rotovision. ISBN 9782880467319.