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A World Made of Information


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Not too far into the distant future, everything from our current existence that can be digitized will have been. Every traditional organizational model will have been tested to the ends of its limits. Every business, organization and individual will be expected to keep up with the wave of change that information will have inflicted. No one will have escaped.
Structures that make complex ecosystems more understandable will become even more necessary to combat dis/misinformation and create social momentum. We will slowly and methodically have to reinvent every single policy, process and tool across every community, industry and medium to deal with our new digital reality.
To do this responsibly, we will learn and expand the use of an ever growing and changing set of concepts and principles called information architecture. We will use the practice of IA to cut through a minefield of change and consequence. We will use IA to pour understanding, clarity and consensus like concrete to be built upon. We will create a truly new world. A world made of information.

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A World Made of Information

  1. 1. a world made of information by: @Abby_the_IA
  2. 2. Not too far into the distant future... Elm Tree Squirrel Home (.25 miles) Pick Up eggs at grocery in .1 mile Work (.8 miles) Next Train leaves in 5 minutes from West 4th St. 11/5/2024 4:15 PM (Abby’s idea of hell)
  3. 3. Every traditional business model will have been tested, broken and reimagined.
  4. 4. We will have new things and new silly words. OMCheese, you arent still using fampage are you? Derp. NO! I moved to ourpage ages ago
  5. 5. Information will be seen as the glue that binds us.
  6. 6. We will even consider information a basic freedom. The 4 Human Freedoms Freedom of Speech Freedom of Worship Freedom from Want Freedom from Fear Freedom from Nonsense 5
  7. 7. Information architects have laid awake waiting...
  8. 8. 5 Lessons for Architecting a World Made of Information
  9. 9. 1 Reduce Linguistic Insecurity
  10. 10. Dropping semantic bombs is bad for business. But you just ______.
  11. 11. Linguistic insecurity is rampant. Jargon
  12. 12. Controlled Vocabularies help reduce insecurity. Familiar Words
  13. 13. Lexicography is the practice of compiling dictionaries. It is the collection of different meanings for words.
  14. 14. Ontology represents the knowledge of terms and concepts within a domain. It is the act of choosing the language you use.
  15. 15. Lesson Take Away • Know what you mean when you say what you say. • Ontology is a group sport, focused on the clarification of meaning and the reduction of linguistic insecurity. • Carefully choose the language you use, not just when communicating with users, but also communicating internally and with partners.
  16. 16. 2 Map Ecosystems
  17. 17. Marketing Campaign Blog eCommerce Storefront Silos! Silos! Silos!
  18. 18. Users are wandering between our silos. Marketing Campaign Blog eCommerce Storefront
  19. 19. Placemaking is the art of turning a space into a place by arranging it so people know what to do there.
  20. 20.
  21. 21. Lesson Take Away • Understand places you are making and the other places in the ecosystem you may effect. • Strengthen the connections between the places you already have while looking for silos that may exist. • Use your taxonomic mapping skills to map entire ecosystems across physical and digital divides. • Identify the spaces between your places and make them into places by arranging them for use.
  22. 22. 3 Strengthen Heterarchy
  23. 23. Patterns may, but hierarchy is never going to die.
  24. 24. Every hierarchy has a bottom. “When groups, rank, categories or grades exist to aid a user in making a choice.” Hierarchy a B C Heterarchy “When all content exists on a single level without further grouping, rank, categorization or grading”
  25. 25. Social & search have a need for bottom up thinking. Cooks Top Down Cooks Cooks Cooks Cooks Cooks Bottom Up
  26. 26. The barnacles are taking over. Old Landing Pages & Microsites Forgotten social Media Accounts Old technology Old websites old content What you hope people Experience What social and search allow people to experience
  27. 27. Lesson Take Away • Question the scalability of your heterarchies as much as your hierarchies • Start identifying and dealing with the barnacles on your ship before they start to hold you back • Understand the length of life that your content has and how your hierarchies and heterarchies change over time as content matures
  28. 28. 4 Understand Transclusion
  29. 29. Transclusion is suddenly everywhere. Abby the IA download Slideshare Transcluded Linked
  30. 30. Social networks are at war over transclusion. Does anyone Remember when instagram posts were transcluded into your twitter stream? Well Not Anymore
  31. 31. Transclusion can go wrong (and be hilarious.) this is not me
  32. 32. Lesson Take Away • Consider the role of transclusion and hypertext for your context. • Understand your user’s potential desires to take your content with them • Test how your content reacts to common social media transclusion schemas
  33. 33. 5 Information is not content
  34. 34. Data is facts, observations, and questions about something. Content is whatever you’re arranging or sequencing. Information is is whatever a user interprets from the arrangement or sequence of things they encounter. The individual pieces of context, knowledge, assumptions and questions each viewer considers during their judgement of the cookie arrangement. The cookies, the plate, the signage, the crumbs, the smells in the air, the other products in the case and items on the menu et al... Each viewer’s: • Belief or non-belief that other cookies were on that plate. • Subjective reasoning for the unequal amount of cookies. Let’s dissect this scene.
  35. 35. Lack of content or data can be just as informing. $3.99 $7.99 $5.75 Ask three customers the reason for this empty spot on the shelf and what product might go there, and expect three answers.
  36. 36. Lesson Take Away • Reduce your synonymous use of words like data, information and content • Reserve the word information to describe that mushy, uncontrollable material our users make in their minds • Teach everyone we work with that we can create and arrange our content with the intent to communicate information, but we can’t make information
  37. 37. Today’s Lessons in Review. IA is good for... To get better, we need to... Controlling Vocabularies 1. Reduce Linguistic Insecurity Mapping Taxonomies 2. Map Ecosystems Strengthening Hierarchy 3. Strengthen Heterarchies Understanding Hypertextuality 4. Understand Transclusion Thinking of information as material. 5. Remember information is not content
  38. 38. Remember information is a responsibility that we all share.
  39. 39. More information at: Q&A