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Design for Discovery
Peter Morville & Jeffery Callender
renewal, restoration to wholeness
“The making up or composition of a whole by adding
together or combining the separate parts or elements.”
Source: Oxford English Dictionary
“There are two kinds of people in the world…”
Information Architects + User Experience Designers + Content Strategists + CEOs +
Interaction Designers + Software Developers + User Experience Designers
Information Architects Teachers + Visual Thinkers
“…those who divide the world into two
kinds of people, and those who don’t.”
Big Architect, Little Architect (2000) firstname.lastname@example.org
“The little IA may “The big IA may
focus solely on play the role of an
bottom-up tasks orchestra conductor
such as the or film director,
definition of conceiving a vision
metadata fields and moving the
and controlled team forward.”
Eric Reiss, Euro IA (2006)
“I’m an information architect. I map paths and places across
physical, digital, and cognitive spaces.” Peter Morville
“A picture can connect the strategic with the tactical in a
way no other communication form possibly can.” Dave Gray
Polar Bear IA email@example.com
in•for•ma•tion ar•chi•tec•ture n.
• The structural design of shared
• The combination of organization,
labeling, search, and navigation
systems in web sites and intranets.
• The art and science of shaping
information products and experiences
to support usability and findability.
• An emerging discipline and
community of practice focused on
bringing principles of design and
architecture to the digital landscape.
Wurman IA firstname.lastname@example.org
in•for•ma•tion ar•chi•tect n.
An individual who organizes the
patterns inherent in data, making
the complex clear.
I mean architect as used in the
words architect of foreign policy
…as in the creating of systemic,
structural, and orderly principles
to make something work.
The person who creates the
structure or map of information
that allows others to find their
personal paths to knowledge.
“Aboriginal Creation myths tell of the legendary totemic beings who had wandered over
the continent in the Dreamtime, singing out the name of everything that crossed their
path - birds, animals, plants, rocks, waterholes - and so singing the world into existence.”
The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin 12
Animals use a combination of egocentric
and geocentric techniques for wayfinding.
Ambient Findability by Peter Morville
“Probably the best statistical graphic ever drawn, this map by
Charles Joseph Minard portrays the losses suffered by
Napoleon’s army in the Russian campaign of 1812.” Edward Tufte
Unwritten Rule #1
“Whoever best describes a
problem is the person most
likely to solve the problem.
…or, whoever draws the best
picture gets the funding.”
Design for Discovery
“Search is among the
innovations of our time.
It influences what we
buy and where we go. It
shapes how we learn
and what we believe.”
Peter Morville & Jeffery Callender
Illustrated by Jeff Callender, Q LTD
Search is a…
Complex, Adaptive System
Goals Interaction Features Indexing Tools
Psychology Aﬀordances Technology Structure Process
Behavior Language Algorithms Metadata Incentives
Query Results Engine Content
Source: Search Patterns (2010) 20
Camera in glasses
Image recreated on
grid of 400 electrodes.
User feels the shape
on the tongue.
Brain learns to see
through the tongue.
The quality of being locatable or
The degree to which an object is
easy to discover or locate.
The degree to which a system or
environment supports wayfinding,
navigation, and retrieval.
enveloping (e.g., ambient air)
the ability to find anyone or anything
from anywhere at anytime 30
“Information is blurring the lines between products and
services to create multi-channel, cross-platform, trans-
media, physico-digital user experiences.” Peter Morville
32,000 B.C. Visual Thinking
I n t e rt w i n g l e
1976 Information Architecture
1995 User Experience
1982 Service Design
2005 Ubiquitous Computing
1986 Interaction Design
“People keep pretending they can make things deeply
hierarchical, categorizable, and sequential when they can’t.
Everything is deeply intertwingled.” Ted Nelson
The URL Is Dead, Long Live Search
Over 50% of REI
online business is
picked up in a store.
Cross Media Integration
Source: Subject to Change (2008)
“After a half-hour, a three-tone alert sounds…If the
bottle still has not been opened, the system makes an
automated reminder phone call to the patient or a
caregiver. The GlowCap system compiles adherence data
which anyone can be authorized to track. That way the
doctor can make sure Gramps stays on his meds.”
Email Web Store Catalog Phone
“When a unique identifier is
attached to an object, it
becomes possible to collect the
metadata about that object into
a single information shadow.”
“The unique identifier is the
leverage point with which to
access and manipulate the
whole information shadow in
relation to similar shadows.”
While Kuniavsky advises that we view information as one of many design
materials (like wood and carbon fiber) from which devices can be made, he
also highlights its role as “the core material in creating user experiences.”
Pervasive Information Architecture
Andrea Resmini & Luca Rosati
Mental Models email@example.com
New Soft City
by Dan Hill
Urban Sensing by Dan Hill
IA Therefore I Am
Yosemite Valley Panorama (Photo by John Colby)
When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it
hitched to everything else in the universe. John Muir