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SIGIA-L Mail Archives: RE: [Sigia-l] Information-centered Design

RE: [Sigia-l] Information-centered Design

From: Daniel R Drop (adrop_at_juno.com)
Date: Fri Apr 04 2003 - 10:45:22 EST


Matthew Rehkopf wrote:

> In the future, there will not be these independent brand sites. There
will
> be *one furniture site* where all the brands will post their products.
Why?
> Because we consumers will go there for all the other relevant
information,
> including reviews, photos, stories, etc. etc. The Web will empower the
> individual to create and own information, taking it away for the
> organizations that used to own and control it in the past

This is the future I want to be a part of.

Recently, I have been considering what has drawn me to Information
Architecture as a career and what passion will drive me to continue in
the field. Matthew's response relates to the answer to my question and
also to a dilemma about my choices.

I have come to realize my passion is to enable people to make good
decisions. Matthew's description of the single "furniture site" relates
to that vision. Why have one site? It's in one site so that all the
information is brought together so that people can make good decisions.
It doesn't have to necessarily be a "site;" it could be an application
that collects the information from the web and does the same. In effect,
the application, or single site, operates as a personal decision support
system.

I would like to work on these personal decision support systems, not at
the "information nodes" described in Matthew's post. The "IA" type work I
would find most enjoyable in these personal decision support systems is
the structuring and presentation of the various tools, databases,
libraries, etc. that enable a person to make a good, rational decision.
To make such a system accomplish its goals, the designer needs to
consider how information relates to each other and how people make good
decisions. Is this designer an "information architect?" Because
understanding the relationship of information is paramount in making the
system work, I would venture that these design tasks are a bit more than
simply user experience.

According to Matthew, the IAs of the future will "develop and maintain
these [information] nodes, concerned only with the relevance of content."
Seemingly, the IA is not concerned with navigation, not concerned with
labeling, not concerned with presentation. If you do a search in google
using 'decision support "information architecture"', you get a similar
perspective on what is classified as information architecture. I would
venture to guess that the offshoot thread among Boniface Lau, Sean Coon,
and others is about this same problem.

As a person trying to get a foothold into this field, I sometimes find it
very difficult to have a fluid definition. As much as I understand the
profession's need not to exclude anything in a nascent field, I really
could use more structure. I need structure so I can find people and
information directly related to my interests. As much as I can use
knowledge from the many fields that are brought together under IA, I need
some focus now and again.

-- Daniel Drop

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