Robert N. Phillips
CEO, Lasotell Pty Ltd.
An Information Architect is a high-level designer who uses information as building material. Every time someone says “I could not find/use the information I wanted,” it points to an information design flaw. It is just the same as “No Step Here” is an engineering design flaw.
How Can You Avoid Information Design Flaws?
First, you can avoid information design flaws by recognising there are three types of information architecture:
- Enterprise Information Architecture: identifies the information needs of business functions as part of enterprise-level IT planning (based on the US National Institute of Standards and Technology model)
- Web Information Architecture: focuses on the Web site blueprint upon which all other aspects are built—form, function, metaphor, navigation and interface, interaction and visual design (from HotWired)
- Everything-else Information Architecture: all the other information-based activities that need to be resolved in a cost-effective manner—meaning someone should specify the structure of the components and their relationships, together with the principles and guidelines governing their design and evolution over time before any money is spent on software/hardware (based on IEEE STD 610.12)
Second, you can avoid information design flaws by realising that Information Architecture is about what information you need and what needs to happen so you can use that information. Figure 1 shows the primary functional views of any enterprise—notice that there is not a direct connection between the