Week 6: Lecture

Library display plan.
Planning out how to organize and display information is essential before attempting implementation.
Science Fiction Collection display in the library.
A well designed information architecture plan makes implementation faster, efficient, and organized.
  • Beginning of Class Writing
    • Click on the heading of this blog post title above–“Week 6: Lecture,” scroll down to the comment area, and write at least 250 words in response to this week’s readings. You can summarize the readings, you can relate the readings to your own experience or something else you have read or learned about, etc. Any writing of 250 words or more that are related to the readings are fair game for this weekly assignment at the beginning of class.
    • Post your comment after 20 minutes even if you don’t reach the 250 word minimum threshold.
    • Why we are doing this: It helps you organize your thoughts before discussion and it gives you regular writing practice.
  • Discuss this week’s readings.
  • Introduce the third interconnected homework assignment on site maps.
  • Conduct an exercise to show what you’ve established in the first two assignments and gain feedback before writing your third assignment in this sequence.
  • Review homework and readings for next week.

10 thoughts on “Week 6: Lecture”

  1. Of all the readings this week, I think the thing that stuck out most – in fact, that might stick with me longer than many other abstract ideas – was the use of chess to explain systems built on emergent phenomena.

    Chess is probably an overused analogy in western media, but that’s partially because there’s nothing quite so iconic. Even people who disagree with the notion of chess as some ultimate game still likely understand the basic concepts involved. It’s kind of like pi, as well, in that it’s a popular idea that’s been the subject of considerable quantitative analysis and yet we still don’t have enough computing power to complete that analysis.

    I really love this particular comparison especially because I have no doubt it’ll be very useful in the future when I’m working with a team of people who may not be as familiar with IA. It’s easy for people looking top-down to call things simple, or be dismissive about IA needs. In fact in my work right now I’m trying to convince someone higher than me that a part of our website’s IA needs to be drastically redesigned, and that yes, it IS very important and DOES need to be dealt with. Being able to draw an analogy of, “Okay, you can argue that chess is very simple, that it’s only a few rules, but could you learn to play chess effectively by yourself just from a list of rules?” is a great counter to arguments against spending time and effort on good IA, thorough documentation, and keeping both consistently updated.

  2. To: Professor Ellis

    From: Tiana Beatty

    Date: 03.12.2023

    Subject: Weekly Readings

    This week’s readings provided an in-depth analysis of information architecture and information interactions. I was amazed at how much detail and how informative the readings were about these two specific components that went along with information architecture. I read 3 out of the 4 that were required because I ran out of time, but I would like to summarize and give my opinions about the three that I have read.

    The Systems of IA:

    I like the questions that were asked at the end. Now that IA or information architecture is different from before, what can be done to adjust or shift the focus to a simpler system that holds all accountability to an information architect’s work production? Why are there so many sacrifices, compromises, and lack of understanding one’s strong usage that break down information architecture?

    Information Interaction: Providing a framework of information architecture:

    It seems like information interaction and understanding users is the key to defining and producing a site through information architecture. It’s more than trying to give users content and information through a site. Yes, information must be given in order to create a site and then give that information to a user. But there’s a lot of headaches and hours of conceptual compartmentalization involved.

    The architecture of information:

    There was a lot of information in this article. Though it was short, it seemed like society and cultures play a role in information architecture. Because society is and needs to be advanced, technology will play a role in the consumption and production of sites. This will allow for the continued use of information architecture and information architects. Semantic, screen, and interaction spaces all connect to one another when it comes to computational systems. The most important key component are the people or automated systems that are producing these types of software and computer outputs.

  3. This weeks readings:

    Information Architecture’s main priority is to design informational structures. Information Architecture is capable of providing a household/storage unit for valuable information. Spiro Kostof, an Architectural historian states, “the first architectural gesture was the naming of territory.” IA is used and structured daily to focus on informational patterns. In order for Information Architecture to work, a website has to be created. A website allows users to experience and interact with the newfound information. 

    In Haverty’s reading, they described Information Architecture as a new field that lacks a body of theory. IA has not reached the status of discipline that revolves around the user’s three main experiences. These interaction experiences consists of content, navigation, and interactive components. Haverty also explains about the level of induction in his reading. 

    Morville describes that Information Architecture is a way of seeing the details of a system. Information Architecture resonates with user experience. It requires a visual language for analysis and design. Information Architecture is known as a design organization that allows navigation and search systems as a field.

    In the fourth reading, I learned that the way people interact with digital information is influenced by the Information Architecture in the environment. The environment contributes to the interaction users produce from IA. IA enables access to content by a visual approach which can make interactivity addictive to users. This reminds me of how the internet is an addictive space to many people in today’s world. We are all focused on technology that we don’t realize how much of an obsession it is. 

  4. The Architecture of Information by Martyn Dade- Robertson composes of Information Architecture from architectural prehistory. Spiro Kostof said, “the first architectural gesture was the naming of territory.” The text then goes on to state that we should understand architecture as a pattern-making activity and strip away the material reality of the built environment… We create these associations with architecture based on what we explore and navigate. 

    In addition to the role of IA, these three terms should be understood: 

    Semantic Space (Kaplam and Moulthrop): structure of information held within a computer.

    Screen Space: result of separating the visual component of information space and defining the space of the screen as separate from the space of interaction. 

    Interaction space: input actions of a user that change the computer’s output 

    Now, computations shape architectural space. 

    Marsha Haverty, states that there are different definitions of what IA and that its an inductive process. The example used was the game of chess. With just 24 rules it still remains a game where one must understand how the prices interact with one another.  

    The design process of Information Architecture is inductive for two reasons: (1) IA does not have internal theory to guide top-down design; (2) Information Architectures support the emergent phenomena of user experiences, till we understand that it will require bottom-up designs.

    The process is Constructive Induction which uses  two intertwined searches. The framework for the problem and locating the best design solution within the framework.

     Overall, Information Architecture design is inductive because IA is a field without theory, and because it involves the design of building blocks that support the emergent phenomena of user experience. Peter Morville used Wikipedia after reading General Systematics. Information is more powerful and the focus should be on the content, not just what can be measured. Similarly, Toms writes about information interaction being a process where people interact with the content of the information system. It culminates with the user, content and system that delivers content to the user. This is a concept that will be integrated in jobs as a Technical Writer as the environment will also influence the type of content/system utilized.

  5. TO: Professor Ellis 

    FROM: Khaled Akam 

    DATE: March 20, 2023 

    SUBJECT: Structure Efficiently 

    At the start of information architecture, early depictions were of buildings and cities but as information space grew, the physical disappeared. Our minds still perceive the action of traversing with information space just the same but on various levels. Distinct spaces that we should investigate are sematic space, screen space, and interaction space. Structure – visual – user content. Sematic space is the structure of information inside a computer. Screen space is the visible element that produces pixels to the screen for a display of information. Interaction space is the final product of information space when the user can generate action with the computer. At the end of it all, the user can manipulate screen space for their own content or enjoyment. 

    Information architecture uses the premise of logical processes to build from the ground up, designing user activities. Although we do not know much about the interior concept of IA (Information Architecture) because all users think differently, the designing constructions remain. For information architectures, gathering data from investigating with maps, models, and languages. When trying to make sense of IA systems, analysis and design is what make the framework open new thinking. Thus, asking questions is just as important to finding the answers because we strive as a community for the truth, just as much as results. 

    Information interactions foundation is user, system, and content. As an information architecture, the interactions that the user, system, and content create are important in figuring out the key theories of our discipline. Even though AI (Artificial Intelligence) is not yet a discipline, with all the information being gathered and shared to make a concrete blueprint, we are not far off. Continuing with this struggle of piecing together information and realizing the models of information we get is helpful to understanding and moving this subject along its path for all those to see. 

  6. Space can be defined in terms of the active window on a display screen. Information space is screen space, interactive space and semantic space each of which must be addressed by the Information Architect. A semantic space is a domain of possible expression. It is “semantic” because it is the place where meanings or interpretations come into existence. And also in hypertext as the cognitive critics insist. There is not a deficit of meaning to it.

    What is Information Interaction, II? Interaction is a reciprocal action or influence and information interaction is the process which people use interacting with the content of an information system.

    The role of the Information Architect in II:

    3 objects serve as the foundation for the model of II.

    User-brings to the process human information processing

    System- A set of structures

    Content- a blueprint that contains words, hierarchically organized. Things that are being arranged in sequential order..

    The design process of IA is inductive.   

  7. TO: Prof. Ellis

    FROM: Khemraj Persaud

    DATE: 3/13/23

    SUBJECT: Weekly Readings

    The first article we read, “The Architecture of information,” by Martyn Dade-Roberston discussed several aspects of Information Architecture. The author stated that it is important to understand architecture in order to appreciate informational pattern making activities. In the 90s, there were many GUIs to aid the visual use of digital information, and after stripping away the material reality of information, one can create topographical relationships. He breaks down IA into three spaces, semantic, screen, and interaction. He concludes by saying that ubiquitous computing will change relationships to real spaces, merging the digital and physical.

    The second article, entitled “Information architecture without internal theory: An inductive design process,” written by Marsha Haverty, discussed IA as an inductive process, meaning that it lacks a body of theory, so every design process starts from scratch. She states that IA is a field, but not a discipline. It supports emergent phenomena and user experience interactions. She mentions the constructive induction process, which is a process for generationg a design solution using two intertwined searches. This process has four steps, determining the basic design problems for the system, finding a approporaute framework for each design problem, translating the solution back to the context, and to intergrate solutions to become the overall IA. She mentions that avoiding reductionism is very important so systems don’t lose their general properties and that everything must be taking together.

    The article “The System of Information Architecture,” by Peter Morville, discussed the importance of systems within IA. He stated that these systems are different from the “sum of its parts” and more out of control. AN interesting quote that stood out was that “systems happen all at once.” He said that IAs are “inveterate” system thinkers. Context has shifted to experience across different channels, which should strength in framework. The system (or space) of IA touches on how new loops deliver feedback to places it wasn’t going before.

    “Information interaction: Providing a framework for information architecture,” by Elaine G. Toms focused on peoples interactions with information rich digital environments and how it is directly influenced by IA. IA is a map of underlying information structures and there is a relationship between is and information interactions. The author says that user, system, and content are important and it bridges the divide between human and computer.

  8. To: Prof. Ellis

    From: Bria Glenn

    Date: March 13, 2023

    Subject: Week 6 Discussion


    When I would think about architecture, it involved the mapping of a construction project of some sort. In “The Architecture of Information” by Martyn Dade-Robertson, he speaks about how the pre-history of architecture allows us to have a definition for what information architecture is. I would say information architecture is the process of putting pieces together that will eventually become something we can use.

    For example, the structuring of a website is one way we can think about information architecture because you are building something from scratch that needs to include all information necessary for a company or organization. Information architecture is in everything we do, but specifically within technology we see how important it is to have all of your ducks in a row in terms of putting a device or artifact together.

    Within information architecture, we have information tasks and information interaction that serve as other task forces to allow the user to be able to easily navigate what it is they are looking for. As explain by Elaine G. Toms, computers have become a big tool in terms of both informational aspects mentioned above because it gets rid of some of that extra work it may take to access something specific. I think with new media and all of the technological advancements, we have become a bit lazy in terms of finding information because we expect to find what we need through a search engine.

    One thing that was interesting in this article was the fact that humans do not easily display the complexity of information interaction. I believe this is because we can only know and remember but so much, we cannot compete with the about of integration a computer can handle. The site map provided really helped me grasp this concept of what information interaction is.

  9. In The Architecture of Information Martin Dade-Robertson argues that we must consider information architecture we must consider three distinct spaces: semantic space, screen space and interaction space. Semantic space is the structure of information within a computer. It can be created by an individual or automated process. Screen space is the space of the screen separate from the space of interaction. Interaction of space refers to the input actions of a user that change the computers output.  Dade-Robertson also explores different digital technologies to create new forms of information architecture, such as dynamic interfaces.

    The article “Information Architecture Without Internal Theory: An Inductive Design Process” suggest that information architecture is primarily an inductive process because it does not have internal theory. I think the design process of information architecture can be a deductive process. Deductive reasoning can be used in the design process of Information architecture. A information architecture designer can use general concepts for the design of information architecture. They can use general concepts used by users to organize content within a space.  

    The article “Information interaction: Providing a framework for information architecture” by Elaine G. Toms explores the different theories that can be applied to information interaction Most of the theories applied to information interaction are single object models. Many of them are also limited to query-driven information systems. Few theories acknowledge the presence of the user within this process. Toms believes that information architecture should be designed around user and information system, no not the organization of information.

  10. TO: Prof. Ellis

    FROM: Naila Butt

    DATE: 2 MAY 2023

    SUBJECT: Information Architecture Interactivity

    The Architecture of Information by Martyn Dade-Robertson discusses the pre-history of architecture and questions where architecture is in information architecture (IA). Dade-Robertson states that architecture is fundamentally an informational pattern-making activity. The author introduces the concept of screen space and interaction. 

    Information interaction is a necessary process that individuals use in interacting with a content of an information system. While this week’s reading was a lot to get through, I gained a lot of knowledge on information architecture and its function. Information Interaction: Providing a framework for information architecture by Elaine G. Toms discusses a model of information interactivity that crosses “no man’s land” between the user and computer. The model includes the user, content, and system.  

    Information architecture is an everchanging role of information architects. As information grows and the way that we intake that information changes, designing experiences as an information architect changes. Numerous ways exist to present information and create effective information architecture as technology evolves. As a technical writer, I will need to use these principles and continue to improve them to adapt to new information. 

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