Where is the research in information architecture? You may come across research involving information architecture or relevant for information architecture, but not necessarily written with a specific purpose of developing the field of information architecture, of adding to the body of knowledge about information architecture, developing concepts for information architecture, nor in general addressing the theoretical foundations of information architecture. Now, with a Journal of Information Architecture, we have a forum where we can publish what is central to the development of the field of information architecture.
The article presents a point of view about analyzing and designing the user experience within pervasive networks made of distributed services and applications, where the user is the primary actor who freely and opportunistically connects and activates the system components following an activity-driven process. A digital content case study is used to outline the main characteristics of this scenario and to introduce a tool for user experience modelling and designing. From the application of this model are proposed some considerations about how the design process could change to support this vision.
Information architecture (IA) and document architecture (DA) provide two, partly overlapping, perspectives on the creation of document structures. This article suggests how the architecture of a document can be analysed from these two perspectives. Literature on IA and DA has been examined in order to identify central ideas that are of relevance for analysing the architectures of digital documents. The article contains an overview of how IA and DA have been used and defined. The article shows how a model for analysing documents as sociotechnical artefacts can fruitfully draw on parts of the theoretical and practical complexes of IA and DA. The aspects that are identified as particularly important from IA are organisation systems, navigation, and labelling. From DA, logical structures, layout structures, content structures, and file structures are all applicable aspects. It is discussed how these various aspects may be interpreted in order to support an analysis of the organising principles of documents.
New Architectures for a New Dimension
The article reframes Information Architecture as designing context in the digital layer, contending that IA has always been less about organizing information than about designing architecture for a new kind of contextual space. It explores how a global network of user-created hyperlinks has changed how we experience context, and how IA practice emerged to contend with this change. In addition, the essay proposes that IA study and practice develop tools and methods that improve our understanding and methods for solving the increasingly complex design challenges brought about by this new contextual reality
Uncertainty, in general, is a fundamental aspect of human activity and underlies much of our decision making. The notion of uncertainty in information seeking, in particular, dates back to Shannon and Weaver (14) and since then has been investigated in many forms. Kulthau’s (13) work on information uncertainty is perhaps the most extensive. Through two specific examples, this article proposes uncertainty as a unifying heuristic in information architecture. Measurements of uncertainty can serve a diagnostic function in both the design and evaluation of information technologies and user interfaces.