Definition of Information Design"My own belief is that there is a unique design practicethat can be identified as information design. Its purposeis the systematic arrangement and use ofcommunication carriers, channels, and tokens toincrease the understanding of those participating in aspecific conversation or discourse." -Robert Jacobson, Information Design, p 4
What is Information Design?Resource composed of 16 chapters written by many differentauthors most of whom identify themselves as "informationdesigners"What is its purpose?To answer the following: 1. Is there such a thing as information design? 2. If there is, what might constitute a formal theory of information design? 3. How can we implement this theory in a systematic practice that can be described to others and taught to new entrants to our field? (Jacobson, Information Design, p 4)
Components of Information Design1 Theoretical Foundations of Information 2 Practice of Information Design 3 Designing for the Technologies Design of Information Because there are many topics covered in Information Design, readers may find it helpful to read or refer to chapters that are of particular relevance to them as illustrated in the chart on the next page.
Chapter 5 Chapter 11 Signage & Interactive Wayfinding Design Theoretical Designing for Foundations Chapter 4 Chapter 12 the Technologies Human- Meaning of of Information Centered Interactivity Chapter 3 Design Chapter 13Chapter 2 Sense- Ambiguity in Making MultimediaEmergence Chapter 8 Chapter 14of the Field Chapter 15 Graphic Web Chapter 7 Tools Chapter 9 Materials Web Evolution Museums Visual and Public Design Spaces Chapter 10 Chapter 6 The Practice of Information Collaborativ Individual e Design Perception Design
Concepts in Information DesignBecause of the number of authors that contributed to the book,there are numerous concepts and opinions expressed inInformation Design. I chose to focus on and create graphicalrepresentations of the following three concepts: 1. How data takes on new meaning 2. Wayfinding 3. Differences in Perception
When does data take on new meaning?One idea expressed by several authors in the book is thatinformation architects design data in order to transform it intousable information. Data Information Knowledge organization integrationData becomes information when it is well organized andclassified. Information becomes knowledge when it isintegrated into a users web of knowledge.
WayfindingAnother concept explained in Information Design is wayfinding.It refers to the way in which an individual makes sense of ornavigates an area. As illustrated in the chart below, wayfindingcan be complicated because there is almost always more thanone way to get from point A to point B. Task Decision Further Actions & Decisions Read Map Determine Airport Check Departures & Arrivals To get to Terminal Look for Help Desk the correct Take Escalator Airport Get to the Terminal Correct Take Elevator Floor Use Stairs Follow Signs Go through Look for a Map security Observe and Follow Others
Efficient WayfindingIn order to effectively design spaces (virtual or otherwise) inwhich people use wayfinding as a way to navigate, informationarchitects must study and understand the ways in whichindividuals are using the spaces and where there is adisconnect in understanding."To be efficient, wayfinding communication, should not justfollow the architectural conception of the layout and berelegated to "mopping up the mess," but should be utilized fromthe first to define the wayfinding problems future users will haveto solve." -Romedi Passini, Information Design, p 95
Differences in PerceptionThe perception of information is limited by several factorsincluding physical limitations, cultural differences, level ofengagement, etc. An information designer must compete withall of these factors in order to make his or her design effective Designers must recognize the users Ability to Understand level of awareness. Complex Information high For Example: A driver on the road does not have very long to level of read a sign which is why they understanding must be as clear and noticeable as possible. lo w in motion stationary
Lost in TranslationOnly information that makes it through personal filters &environmental distractions can become knowledge. Information Information Filter Distractions Attentiveness Knowledge Cultural Differences Information Information
Differing Opinions in Information DesignOne of the most valuable aspects of the book is the number ofdifferent expert opinions of information design.“Information design is defined as the art and science ofpreparing information so that it can be used by human beingswith efficiency and effectiveness.” -Robert E. Horn, Information Design, p 15"Information no matter what it is called--data, knowledge, orfact, song, story, or metaphor--has always been designed." -Brenda Dervin, Information Design, p 36"Information cannot be designed; what can be designed are themodes of transfer and the representations of information." -Jef Raskin, Information Design, p 342
Who it is useful for"This book is for information designers. And because all of us,all the time, are both producers and consumers of information,it is for you." -Robert Jacobson, Information Design, p 1 Examples from the text: ● Graphic Designers ● Writers ● Architects ● Computer Programmers ● Technical Communications ● Librarians
What will you get out of it?What it is● A composition of many different theories and ideas about Information Design● Different perspectives about theory, history, and practice of information design● Information is often more theoretical than practicalWhat it is not● A How-to on information design● Written around a single theory, idea, or definition of information design
Works CitedJacobson, R., Horn, R.E., Dervin, B., Cooley, M., Passini, R., Whitehouse, R., . . . Raskin, J. (1999).Information Design. Robert Jacobson, (Ed.). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.