Week 8: Lecture

Prof. Ellis looking like a dork wearing a VR helmet at home.
Try imagining your information architecture problem within your mind’s eye–cyberspace, the consensual hallucination.
  • Beginning of Class Writing
    • Click on the heading of this blog post title above–“Week 8: 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.
  • Continue with GitHub and HTML.
    • See here for an example of what we’re aiming for in this exercise.
    • Create account at github.com–make sure you think hard about your username–it should be professional and reflect positively on you.
    • Follow these directions to create web space for HTML pages on GitHub Pages.
  • Review homework and readings for next week.

9 thoughts on “Week 8: Lecture”

  1. Week 8 readings response:

    Davis’s reading talks about how a tsunami size of data is upon us. Wurman wanted to protect society from the dangers of information. Today, we live with interactive platforms like blogging, social networking, and sharing. This is a main form of human interaction. Davis explained three basic types of Information Architect strategies. The three strategies are single domain (first line of defense), multi-domain (to buy time), and cross-domain (to keep the business running). I learned that the information that we interact with daily is complex. 

    In Downey and Banerjee’s reading, they explained how the Information Architect field focuses on organizing information via mechanisms. These mechanisms are labeling, structuring, chunking, and categorizing. Each mechanism helps support user navigation, findability, and usefulness. All of these steps are important because it is an efficient way for users to find the information that they are looking for in an easy manner. 

    In Koltay’s reading, the world of literacies are discussed. Literacies are important to information architecture as it helps navigate users to specific information. I learned that the best type of literacy is known as “information literacy.” Information literacy is the process of recognizing information need, finding, evaluating, and using information to acquire knowledge. Another type of literacy that was discussed in the reading was “digital literacy.” Digital literacy includes information literacy and the use of information and communication technologies. 

    While reading, I learned more about the importance of information architecture and learned about the several literacies used to create efficient architectural information. 

  2. TO: Prof. Ellis

    FROM: Naila Butt

    DATE: 27 MARCH 2023

    SUBJECT: Tsunami of Data

    In the rise of information, or as Nathaniel Davis states, “tsunami of data,” we as technical writers and information architects need to plan for the “flood.” Davis’ single and multi-domain IA strategies were a little hard to grasp. However, I enjoyed his use of the tsunami metaphor to tackle this issue.

    Speaking of the tsunami of data, In my experience of using government websites that are always packed with tons of data, I often found them difficult to navigate through. In Laura Downey’s and Sumit Banerjee’s article, Building an Information Architecture Checklist, they discuss enabling IA in these types of websites to improve the user interface. I found this article intriguing because organizing mass amounts of information on these infrastructures seems challenging. I noticed in their IA checklist drafts they had gradually added more to the checklist on their road to the final checklist. This shows that it takes many drafts to formulate a final draft, and information is constantly growing.

    On another note, I particularly enjoyed this statement in Tibor Koltay’s article, Information overload, information architecture and digital literacy: “When interpreting McLuhan’s well-known aphorism “the medium is the message,” we can state that a medium shapes content in ways that are advantageous to the biases of that medium, as all media have biases. These biases influence the content and the user’s experience.”

    The article discusses how the medium through which information is communicated shapes the message itself, as all media have inherent biases that influence the content and user experience. The author argues that in order to react to these biases effectively, designers must use reflective language and refined perceptions in their work. The article goes on to suggest that while Web 2.0 does have biases, they are not as inherent as those found in other media. Instead, these biases are artificially reinforced by the constructed nature of media, which both shapes and is shaped by reality.

  3. TO: Prof. Ellis

    FROM: Khemraj Persaud

    DATE: 3/27/23

    SUBJECT: Weekly Reading Response

    In the first article, “From tsunami to rising tide: How to plan for a successful information architecture strategy” written by Nathaniel Davis, the author discusses the metaphor of the tsunami of data from Richard Saul Wurman and gives an updated take on it. As I was reading this piece, I couldn’t help but think about our conversation about metaphors from last week. As we learn new things, I am noticing them within our readings and how they are being used. The main points I took away from this reading was that we are flooded by information, as well as the differences between single-domain IA strategy, multi-domain IA strategy, and cross-domain IA strategy, and how they are used to navigate the waters.

    In the second article, “Building an Information Architecture Checklist,” by Laura Downey and Sumit Banerjee, they discussed the process they went through in developing an IA checklist for the TSA. The process was part of an architectural review that would be applied during the assessment of proposed information systems and the design of solution recommendations before system implementation. The first thing I noticed were all of the author’s names that were cited. As we said last week, the same names keep popping up, such as Wurman, Rosenfled & Morville, and Dillion. It was interesting to see how the checklist progressed and how it ultimately became what it was.

    The third article, “Information overload, information architecture and digital literacy,” by Tibor Koltay builds upon the ideas of the first reading. It presents another concept known as digital literacy and how this can help manage information overload. One must be digitally aware, as well as be aware of the importance of structures and architecture. I noticed the concept of media ecology coming up again.

  4. To: Professor Ellis

    From: Tiana Beatty

    Date: 03.27.23

    Subject: Weekly Readings 

    This week’s readings were about information and how the users and audience are retrieving. More specifically, it’s about the informational architects who develop and review the necessary key ingredients when presenting the information to the users. This involved lots of planning, strategizing, and purpose which was were explained in this week’s readings. 

    How to Plan for a Successful Information Architecture Strategy: 

    The rising tide metaphor in the article was interesting and creative to use. I thought using this was relatable because information especially across the internet is vast and always growing every single day. The flexibility an information architecture has to do in order to decipher and present information is complicated and in some ways scary. They have to learn different strategies, models, and methods in order to make their work more efficient and effective. They have to understand, adopt, and even get rid of some of their own rules to get the work done. There is a lot that goes into information architecture because they have to remember lots of systems in order for their work and information, they’re presenting is readable and understandable for the audience. 

    Building an Information Architecture Checklist: 

    It seems an IA checklist especially with multiple information architects is really helpful. Multiple drats and edits are ok because that’s just an architect perfecting the process and the goals of the information they want to present to their audience/user. With drafting, reviewing, and finishing the IA checklist, the overall goal is to make sure that information that informational architects want the users to receive is readable, manageable, and findable. After all the information constructed onto the site is for the people. 

    Information Overload, Information Architecture, & Digital Literacy:

    IO or information overload in relation to information architecture and digital literacy to me is information that can be overwhelming to the user if not presented correctly and in the right way. 

  5. TO: Prof. Ellis 

    FROM: Khaled Akam 

    DATE: March 27, 2023 

    SUBJECT: Week 8 

    Information architectures (IA) are equipped with a variety of tools to provide quality of work. These include the substantial role that digital literacy (DLi) plays in the field. With the growing information on the WEB, it is important to learn DLi. This information overload (IO) is particularly a problem within information architecture. The foundation of DLi is information literacy (IL), which is about the process of information and using that to acquire or extend knowledge. As an information architect, we should be able to learn these skills to become better disciplined in our field. By doing this we become digitally literate and prevent information overload. 

    Information overload may very well be a tsunami of data and is being fought by information architects. A tide of information is hitting our minds as we sift through the web. It is relentless because of all the new content that is being made available. The only steps to combat this are by learning and implementing a model for strategies in information architecture. These strategies are single-domain IA, multi-domain IA, and cross-domain IA. The construction of domains help gives information by bridging different needs, but with a chink in the armor specific to each domain. 

    Information architecture (IA) focuses on content, which is why agencies work in view of IA. The aspects of organization, findability, manageability, structuring, and labeling are important designs that become an asset for people. With big IA and little IA, the frameworks change. The content becomes considered at all levels of IA. Though we see different mindsets related to IA, it is nevertheless still the approach to take when offering an infrastructure. Doing so includes building a checklist which is a concept and implementation to information architecture.

  6. Davis discusses how the concepts of what Wurman stated is the “midst” ; it never really made it to civilization. He mentions a tsunami that impacts only the shore and bordering towns. You are safe on high grounds or once you’ve evacuated from the area of disaster. Eventually the water will go back to the ocean however, it has left a path of destruction and caused changes. Similarly, with an enormous flood of information it will extend beyond the borders and eventually no place will be left “dry” or unimpacted by this course of action. The domain-based maturity model helps organize IA thinking. 

    The Single-Domain IA Strategy can be implemented as a professional and technical writer because when you are part of an organization with a growing demand for products/ services it will become more sophisticated. 

    In “Building an Information Architecture Checklist” is mentioned, once again like in many of our other readings that there is a varying amount of definitions for IA. A report by Forrester Research, Inc divided IA into user experience and enterprise IA. 

    An Architectural checklist is a set of questions to remind reviewers or pertinent areas and specific issues to address during systems design. The second part of the IA checklist are questions used to review a project after approval. The key aspects are classification (organizing information so it can be comprehensively understood and utilized), semantics (leverage technology) and search (major and expected in systems). 

    The third article discussed the chronic (long term) challenge of system overload in the digital world. Information architects should be digitally literate themselves, and users of information have to be aware of the importance of structures and architecture. Digital literacy included information literacy and use of information and communication technologies. The term gatekeeping shows up and how DLi is a skills needed by IA professionals.

  7. In From tsunami to rising tide: How to plan for a successful information architecture strategy Nathaniel Davis discusses the importance of planning successful information architecture strategies in a technology dominated world. He argues that information architectures should focus on providing users with a coherent and consistent user experience.

    In Building an Information Architecture Checklist – Encouraging and Enabling IA from Infrastructure to the User Interface Architecture Laura Downey and Sumit Banerjee presents a checklist for building information architecture. The checklist was based on the AIIM’S IOA perspective and includes both technical infrastructure and user interface design. The two major concepts are preparing and organizing information, and accessing information. Downey and Banerjee stress the importance of defining the scope of the information architecture and user needs. Defining the scope of the information architecture and user needs will help information architectures produce an effective information architecture.

    Information overload, information architecture and digital literacy discusses the issue of information overload in the digital age and its possible implications for information architecture and digital literacy. The author Tibor Koltay argues that information architecture is plays a crucial role in users understanding information on the web.

  8. To:                         Professor Ellis

    From:                   Sandy Fougeres

    Date:                    3/27/23

    Subject:               Weekly Readings


    In the article, From Tsunami to Rising Tide: How to Plan for Successful IA Strategy, by Nathaniel Davis, he talked about Richard Saul Wurman and his warning about the vast amount of information that will come and how it will be similar to that of a tsunami. He also talked about how the disciplines such as graphic design, exhibition design, illustration and photography helped IA’s organize some of that information preventing the disaster that is the “information tsunami.” However, he emphasized that there is still a need for better organization as there is a lot more information that needs to be organized, considering that more people are able to use technology for blogging, social media and sharing, and how that is all information that needs organizing and managing.

    He talked about how in business it once was that you separate it from your personal life, but how now, with the advancement of technology and social media, business and personal has become one. That personal things in our lives has now become critical to the success of business. He presents three types of basic domain strategies that IA’s could use to organize information better; that is the single domain, the multi-domain, and the cross domain. He describes each and which is best for large businesses and businesses that want to combine unique subjects for easy access online for users. I enjoyed reading this article because I thought it was easy to read and I liked how I was able to visualize each domain using the tsunami concept he offered throughout the article. It made reading it easy to follow and some what entertaining.

    In the article, Building an IA Checklist, by Laura Downey and Sumit Banerjee, they describe the definition of information architecture being multi-purpose and that there isn’t a single definition to describe the field.  They then provide drafts of a checklist that information architects could follow to better organize and manage information. The final checklist included asking high level questions, thinking of how information is consumed, generated, organized, accessed, governed, and the overall quality of the information. I found this article to be helpful as it described the checklist and I feel those of things that will be important to me in the future.

  9. Evolution of the definition of IA continues with Rosenfeld writing in 2002 that there was no wedely accepted definition of IA. Bailey wrote his own definition in 2002:

    IA is the art and science of organizing information that is:

    i) findable

    ii) manageable

    iii) useful

    Then the concept of Little IA as the “ground up” approach and Big IA as “top down” and with an emphasis on information being:

    i) useful

    ii) usable

    iii) acceptable

    January 2010 saw the concepts of micro and macro being used. But in 2002, Samantha Bailey’s simple definition of IA is: “Organization of information to support findability, manageability and usefulness from the infrastructural level to the user interface level”.

    A lot of ink is spent on checklists, Simply put checklists are a mechanism for reminding and/or prompting attention to issues or topics. A checklist can be general e.g. outlining the steps in a process so steps are not missed.

    Information Overload

    Information architects should be equipped Digitally Literate, DLi. Information Overload, IO, is relevant because of skills to enhance their work and users must be also aware.

    If IA is the organization of information to support findability, manageability and usefulness all the way to the user interface level, then the IA checklist is an important component.

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