Week 11: Lecture

tree limbs and birds in foreground and city in the background
Complexity is all around us.
  • Beginning of Class Writing
    • Click on the heading of this blog post title above–“Week 11: 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 the Final Team Project and Form Teams.
    • Primary deliverables are the collaboratively written report and in-class presentation with slidedeck.
    • Bonus points for creating a mock up of your website using GitHub or OpenLab/Wordpress (create as a Project).
  • Review homework and readings for next week. If you are behind on homework assignments or weekly writing assignments, get them done as soon as possible and let Prof. Ellis know what assignments you’ve caught up on via email.

9 thoughts on “Week 11: Lecture”

  1. The first reading explains about the complexity and practice of web information architecture. The World Wide Web is a major communicating medium that informs viewers with an abundance of information. The Web must have organized information that delivers the content in an architectural structure. The ability for users to find information comes from the attention of information designs. The content must be easily accessible and readable in order for the user to understand. It is key for information architects to lay out and structure the content in the most pristine way possible. Information Architecture holds an importance to our daily lives as we consume information almost 24/7.


    The second reading also talks about the complexity of information architecture. The complexity is developed by the different patterns of understanding architecture. Architecture is the creation of a complex, organized system of parts. There are a lot of processes that occur to maintain information architecture. All of the processes are what makes information architecture important.


    The third reading talks about the different layers of the Web’s information. The several layers that were discussed were: Post-modern, Pseudo-modern, and Post-digital. The role of information architecture is to answer the questions and needs of a user. This holds an importance to the users and the content’s structure.


    The summary that I gathered from this week’s readings was that information architecture is a complex yet important organization system that is used in our daily lives. I believe that more individuals should learn about the importance of information architecture and how it is used in life.

  2. TO: Prof. Ellis 

    FROM: Khaled Akam 

    DATE: April 24, 2023 

    SUBJECT: Complexity in Architecture 

    The World Wide Web has evolved into a medium that everyone should use for any organization’s growth. The practice of large companies is to use the web to the best of their ability. A lot of research needs to be done with several factors to make the web user friendly. Information architecture is used to supply structure to the web. Research has concluded that guidelines for set principles to achieve goals and create a design that users are able to follow. Morville and Rosenfeld devised a lot of information architecture design for implementation. Websites should be an easy and accessible way to get information on, using a well-designed form of taxonomy. In a case study of these companies, five concepts were noticed: Provisional information structures, concessions to best practice, experts and novices, timing and opportunity, and practice and projects. Although information architecture is carried out by individuals with various ranges of knowledge in this discipline, at the end of the day, owners decide to put out work too early or without the right practices because exploration in IA is still new.

    Architecture organization is complex and has two concepts: entropy which is complexity and information of an organization’s communication breakdown. These work together to create an adaptive system to carry out affordable methods in the environment of complexity and information. A method of “patterns of relationships” was designed and later accepted. Architecture patterns were used to capture objects’ complex relationships which increased the amount of information stored in these objects. Complexity is an important concept in architecture design. It’s a way to understand the complex structure of objects and their information.

  3. To:                        Professor Ellis

    From:                   Sandy Fougeres

    Date:                    4/24/23

    Subject:                Weekly Readings

    In the article, “Complexity and the Practice of Web Information Architecture,” by Sally Burford, she talks about the difficulty within the information architecture community with finding the right ways to organize information on the World Wide Web. She explains that the issue stems from the internet being vast and a new way of disseminating information, that with online enterprises there may be different types of audiences where it can be hard to organize information to serve everyone. Burford describes some of the solutions to the web IA organizational problem being the Research-Based Web Design and Usability guideline from the Department of Health and Human Services, and the drawing from early methodologies in the IA field. These methodologies show that practitioners of web IA would need skills in research, focused designing, evaluation, coordinating internal and external stakeholders, and management to organize information online successfully. I found this article interesting and informative, along with all the other articles I’ve read so far describing the field of information architecture.

    I thought it was interesting because it shows that though some may find organizing information as something easy to do this isn’t true. There are many things to consider when designing information on the internet because there are many people who will come across the website and information, therefore, there would be different audiences with different needs. I found this article informative because it breaks down the issues with web IA and the different approaches to design, as well as the how information architects allocate information on these sites which will be useful to me in the future as a technical writer.

  4. TO: Professor Jason Ellis

    FROM: Ronald C. Hinds

    DATE: April 24, 2023

    SUBJECT: Complexity

    Figuring out a definition for Information Architecture, IA, is not an easy task because IA consists of so much, including many moving parts. It is not that the topic is too complex. A complex system being any relationship among its parts and a system within a system.

    The context may seem complicated but it is not in itself because the web can enable much activity in a semantic space. Semantic Space is a domain of possible expression and is a prized possession of the whole website. Place the focus on the user, not on the technology, in and of itself, and you will not go wrong. Consider the technology, the union of many areas of study, and do not focus on the web as a single piece.

    When you consider this, then you can seek the IA to fulfill your needs. Information Architecture laser-focuses on the user. So, while the web was seen as a unifying factor, we now have to think beyond and think of the whole system; the architecture, including its organization. Morville and Rosenfeld, in their seminal book, “Information Architecture for the World Wide Web”, note that, in our efforts to understand and implement IA, “we’re all becoming librarians” because we latch on to the traditional library activities of:

    • classifying
    • cataloging
    • indexing.

    Some tout an idea of a post-digital world. What do we mean when we say post-digital and what does postdigital have in store for us? But, post-digital is not equal to anti-digital. I tip my hat to Marshall McLuhan, whose frame of reference may be associated with these words: “The web becomes not a destination but a route-map to the real deal”.

    The role of the IA is to design a cross-channel user experience. By cross-channel experience I mean channels working together to create a connected message that leads from one to another.

    Cross-channel includes:

    • emails
    • web
    • mobile
    • apps
    • SMS.

    And who is best suited to design this than a pragmatic information Architect? Practitioners of web IA require a broad set of skills viz.,

    • in research
    • focused designing
    • evaluating
    • communicating with stakeholders and management.

  5. Burford writes about the results of web information architecture (IA) in large organizations. 

    IA occurs in a complex environment, as discussed, the World Wide Web has evolved and became a major form of communication and it requires the structuring of information. Somec patterns of Web IA consist of these five concepts. Provisional information structures, concessions to best practice, experts and novices, timing and opportunity and practice and project. Some implications are that , “Viewing the practice of web IA as a complex adaptive system indicates that routine and ordered processes for struc-turing information do not provide an adequate model of practice.”

    Information, Architecture and Complexity mentions Architecture and complexity. The article mentioned how architecture is defined as the technological production of built structures, from their inception or design to their construction. Traditionally seen as a system of juxtaposed elements – objects above objects, objects next to objects, objects supporting other objects – but its organization has usually been disregarded revolving around modern science. Architecture has a creation of a complex, organized system of parts, the act of creating order out of disorder, of transforming plain raw materials into an organized whole that acts coherently, and organization maintenance  (i.e., the building) against all odds.In the 1990s software programmers rediscovered patterns  based on objects 2 – mostly object-oriented interfaces. It was found that software systems tended to repeat certain basic processes like opening a file, and responding to interaction. 

    The third article distinguishes between complex and complicated, with the key elements of understanding that complexity applies to a system that can’t be stimulated, modeled and predicted. There needs to be a place and meaning that supports the user’s cross-channel experience.  Cinema in the Digital Age emphasizes parodies and citations. I agree, information has gone mobile and blends into the aspect of physical space. Futuristically, users will create their own architectures based on their perception.

  6. In Complexity and the practice of web information architecture Burford discusses the complexity  and practice of the web. He argues that web information architecture occurs in a complex environment and has emergent, self-organizing properties. The complex environment requires a responsive and adaptive shift in process and behaviors. In the reading Bruford also discusses the Cynefin framework. The Cynefin framework challenges the belief that all things, with enough time and effort can be ordered. 

    In Information architecture in the age of complexity Andrea Resmini discusses information architecture in the age of complexity. Resmini argues that the web is a piece of a larger mechanism and mobile itself is not the revolution, but an enabler. According to Resmini, the revolution is what mobile access to information allows us to do and how it turns receivers into writers. Over time the structure of the web will change and new structures will be created with new meanings. I believe the structure of the web has already changed. Users have already developed their own architecture of meaning out of them, as we have been doing since the times of cave paintings

  7. To: Prof. Ellis

    From: Lisette Rivera

    Date: April 24, 2023

    Subject: Complexity in Architecture

    Reading up on this week’s readings, there’s one word that comes to mind; complex. In ‘Research Information, Architecture, Complexity’, starts with speaking on the way that architecture works hand and hand with complexity to give us a sense of organization. Whereas in ‘Information Architecture in the Age of Complexity’, Andrea Resmini speaks on the way that complexity will never be able to be seen as organized. And then “Complexity and The Practice of Web Information Architecture” written by Sally Burford, speaks on how there is a difficult job trying to organize complexity using information architecture. All three give mixed answers but also be able to give answers nonetheless. All three do agree on the way that the web is too big and needs to fit different audiences who are looking for certain things and finding organizations different.

    Each sort of blames the intensity and complexity of the world wide web being on different factors. Burford blames IA’s organizational programming, whereas Solà-Morales blames it on the way that the elements just happen to work with each other and the patterns of relationships that exist. Whereas in the words of Resimini, she speaks on the blame is that complexity doesn’t have a solid definition. This I find funny because they all seem to be blaming everyone without saying it. And what I mean by that is that they are blaming the people who created the world wide web, they’re also blaming the people who need to search for information on the world wide web, and then the people who continue to follow the format that was made on the world wide web.

  8. To: Prof. Ellis

    From: Bria Glenn

    Date: April 24, 2023

    Subject: Week 11 Readings (Make-up Work)


    After going through the readings for week 11, I realized all of the articles have one word in common. Complexity is a star in all three readings and it is used to describe and allow the reader to understand Information Architecture. Organization is an intricate part of IA and is one of the bigger things to pay attention to. If we think about architecture, when specialists create buildings there is a large idea of organization that goes into how you are structuring a building. In “Information, Architecture, Complexity” by Pau de Sola-Morales, we take a closer look at the large aspect of organization and also the large idea of architecture. Each singular aspect hat contributes to the definition of IA further creates a larger complex learning theory that is also IA.

    When thinking about our final project in class, the layering of information that goes into a proposal is a great definition for Information Architecture and the way each group will organize their work to make one large artifact is also a great way to view IA as a student who is continuing to learn about this. In “Information Architecture in the Age of Complexity” by Andrea Resmini, she dives more into how the term complexity plays into the development of systems within technology. There is a level of nuance between complex and complicated as stated in this article because while they are similar terms, we do not want to think of IA as difficult in the sense that it is not usable, but in the sense that it takes great attention to detail and the proper structuring of information and design.

  9. To: Professor Ellis

    From: Tiana Beatty

    Date: April 24, 2023


    This week’s readings all explain and further discuss the complexities of developing, creating, and designing an IA website. I will further discuss the three articles and what my opinions of them are.

    Complexity and the Practice of Web Information Architecture 

    Large corporations or large chain companies, especially those who need and hire information architects hold tremendous amounts of responsibilities, duties, concepts, and ideas when designing, research, and creating. Information architecture when designing and creating websites is a complex process as there are many things to consider. Practicing IA can be concluded many different results because there are many challenges and things to consider when designing and creating a site. 

    Information Architecture Complexity

    Complexities and complications are more terms than I would use when describing web IA or information architecture. There are many results, issues, and complications that one or a team can deal with when designing, researching, and creating a readable site for an audience. 

    Information Architecture: The Age of Complexity 

    Complexities are more than what I thought when it comes to just the simple word of the term. Complexities in information architecture refers to the architects creating and designing a site that cannot be repeated, cloned, or copied. The internet is a system that is always ever-changing and evolving based on the technologies surrounding it. The complexity of creating a site comes from the process which includes adding the layers, understanding cultural and economic influences, and not focusing on the technology itself but rather the audience or user who will be using and exploring the site. 

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