Journal of Information Architecture

FALL 2009, VOL 1 ISS 2 — Emergence

Open 24/7


As our Editor in Chief Dorte Madsen wrote in her editorial “Shall We Dance?” in our Volume 1, Issue 1, Spring 2009, the Journal invites everyone to the ball: being an arena for both practitioners and researchers is a demanding task, and strictly dependent of the views readers, authors and the Editorial Board express and maintain. I In the best tradition of co-design, the Journal will try to reach out even more in the coming months, as a joint view on the Journal’s scope and its quality codex, where topical and reliable information architecture discussions are at the core, is paramount.

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Card Sorting, Category Validity, and Contextual Navigation

One of the main goals of information architecture is to organize an informational domain into a usable taxonomy. This is, however, a difficult task: final users can classify the same domain differently from experts, differences can arise between different groups of users, and the same users can create different taxonomies for different goals.

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From Prediction to Emergence

This paper aims to discuss the position of the traditional usability model in the context of current technical interaction, and in particular in internet interaction. The traditional usability model was developed in the context of software development. Yet it is relevant to information architecture for two reasons: firstly, on the internet information design and retrieval (IR) benefits from its application just as much as software development did, due its vast user base. Secondly, large parts of the internet are application or software driven by now. At the same time, the interplay of information and applications on the internet has produced new ways of interaction, and new demands towards the quality of interaction.Consequently, the traditional usability model needs to be expanded beyond an entirely functional focus, to accommodate the richer notion of the user experience. This article then inquires how an expanded understanding of emotions can support such an enriched usability model.

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Mediation as Message

Design and the Media Ecology of Information

Recent formal and informal discourse within information architecture (IA) and interaction design (IxD) suggests that the fundamentals may not be working as well as they used to. We interpret these concerns as opportunities and, by engaging with the principles and practices of media ecology, have perceived them for some time. We propose that the problems projected onto IA / IxD fundamentals may not be with the fundamentals per se, but rather with the perceptual model that we used to create them. Fundamental methods are, after all, the consequence of dominant perceptions. We further propose that our current perceptual model is based on the perceptual biases inherent in print culture and that, as we evolve from a culture dominated by print to one inclusive of it, a new perceptual model for informing IA / IxD fundamentals is needed. We suggest that media ecology provides a perceptual framework that can be used to correct the perceptual inadequacies of current IA / IxD design models (the fundamentals). Media ecology provides a flexible, contemporarily attuned, and human-centered perceptual framework for understanding and designing for emerging new media, new forms of mediation, and new forms of interaction regardless of the space (physical, augmented, virtual) where they occur.

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