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Architecture & IA: Expanding the Metaphor - WIAD 2016 - Milwaukee

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World Information Architecture Day (WIAD) 2016 - Milwaukee. Presentation exploring Architecture & Information Architecture:
1) What is IA & how do we explain what it is?
2) What metaphors do we use to explain IA?
3) What are the limitations to the most popular metaphors?
4) How can we (and why should we) expand the metaphors we use?
Talk given: Feb 20, 2016

Published in: Internet
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Architecture & IA: Expanding the Metaphor - WIAD 2016 - Milwaukee

  1. 1. ARCHITECTURE & IA Expanding the Metaphor Jessica DuVerneay @jduverneay
  2. 2. PEOPLE EMPOWER PEOPLE The Understanding Group improves 
 the user experience of digital places by using information architecture to plan places that are: • useful, • scalable, • and delightful. Founded in 2011, we have the most experienced team of information architects in the world. We have offices in Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids, MI. We structure our projects as collaborative efforts, both within our team and across to yours.
  3. 3. WE ARCHITECT PLACES MADE OF INFORMATION
  4. 4. PEOPLE EMPOWER PEOPLE
  5. 5. “Information Everywhere, Architects Everywhere”
  6. 6. What is IA & how do we explain what it is? What metaphors do we use to explain IA? What are the limitations to the most popular metaphors? How can we expand the metaphors we use?
  7. 7. WHAT IS IA?
  8. 8. choreography ontology taxonomy arrangement of the parts particular meaning rules for interaction among the parts The Nature of Information Architecture
  9. 9. Information Environment Information Environment
  10. 10. Architectures for
 Digital Places
  11. 11. http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads/ 2012/05/UX1.png http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads/ 2012/05/UX1.png https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/ 20140704013122-9377042-the-abcs-of-ux-the- diverse-disciplines-part-1-3
  12. 12. Anecdotes & Metaphors
  13. 13. METAPHORS
  14. 14. The metaphors we use constantly in our everyday language profoundly influence what we do because they shape our understanding. They help us describe and explore new ideas in terms and concepts found in more familiar domains.” - Earl Morrogh “Information Architecture: An Emerging 21st Century Profession”, 2003
  15. 15. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/15/King's_Cross_Western_Concourse.jpg
  16. 16. . http://tailormadeblog.com/bra-making-pattern-cutting/
  17. 17. . Conductor http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/17/arts/music/susanna- malkkis-wide-appeal-on-both-sides-of-the-atlantic.html?_r=0
  18. 18. .
  19. 19. . is to make places, not just spaces.
 The reason to work with an architect
  20. 20. . Places where strategy shapes the structure to ensure good fit between what you intend…
  21. 21. . experience it
…and how people
  22. 22. Do you use physical architecture as a metaphor to explain or discuss information architecture?
  23. 23. WINCHESTER MYSTERY HOUSE http://somethingwickedhorror.kinja.com/the-winchester-mystery-house-1736574784
  24. 24. https://eatingfastfood.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/fascinating-tales-from-history-the-winchester-mystery-house/
  25. 25. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 2004
  26. 26. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Milwaukee_Public_Library_interior_lobby_and_ceiling_2012.jpg http://ericksonphotography.net/?p=396 https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2113202 https://www.flickr.com/photos/peterhess/8654481770
  27. 27. STRENGTHS & LIMITATIONS
  28. 28. If you use physical architecture as a metaphor to describe IA, what strengths or limitations have you found?
  29. 29. Strengths • All humans have experiences in built spaces • User needs are important in both • Workflows are important in both • Wayfinding is important in both • Seemingly easy mapping by professional roles • Context is important in both
  30. 30. Limitations • Not everyone is familiar with architecture, and the philosophy of architecture is hard for people to grasp, and may turn some people off if discussion is too theoretical • Architecture is a licensed profession, anyone can be an IA • There are many misalignments between websites & physical places - examples: places are bounded by physics where as websites are not; places are built with form and space, websites are built with links and nodes. • Time takes on a different meaning in both constructs - an average website lasts 3-5 years where as building ideally last hundreds of years. • “The objective of IA is not the production of environments for inhabitation, but for understanding.” - Jorge Arango
  31. 31. Hypothesis 1: The discussion of IA and the utilization of built world examples is largely referential to western architecture from the past 100 years.
  32. 32. .
  33. 33. http://www.laurelhighlands.org/things-to-do/arts-culture/frank-lloyd-wright/
  34. 34. Photo Credit: Adrian Torkington, Salk Institute
  35. 35. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Le_Corbusier_buildings
  36. 36. So, what’s wrong with that? Those buildings are cool.
  37. 37. Hypothesis 2: This is problematic.
  38. 38. Lack of Diversity
  39. 39. Sustainability Specifically, what new material facilitated the profound shift in forms and sensibility? What do the history books say? Reinforced concrete? Plate glass? The answer is neither of these, nor any of the other usual explanations, but abundant and cheap fossil fuels. These powered the weekend commute to the house and kept warm in winter the large, flowing spaces enclosed in thin un-insulated concrete walls and slabs, with vast expanses of single glazing. It was also a related material − and later, oil derivatives − which waterproofed Villa Savoye’s and all other flat roofs and terraces. Later too, petrochemicals provided the neoprene gaskets, epoxies, mastics and sealants, as well as the synthetic carpets and fabrics. And it was fossil fuel-derived electricity that lit and air-conditioned modern buildings, which often spurned natural light and ventilation. Modern architecture is thus an energy-profligate, petrochemical architecture, only possible when fossil fuels are abundant and affordable. Like the sprawling cities it spawned, it belongs to that waning era historians are already calling ‘the oil interval’. Although histories of modern architecture still overlook this critical fact − failing to note what is, literally, blindingly obvious − any future history must surely begin by noting this relationship, which is axiomatically unsustainable. - Peter Buchanan “The Big Rethink”, Architectural Review
  40. 40. http://chrisdent.co.uk/new-york-skyline
  41. 41. “The problem…is also that these structures lack an authentic connection to nature and the very cultures in which they exist. This, in turn, leaves us feeling disconnected, isolated and longing for true connections to each other and our communities.” - Monica Gray “The Problem With Architecture Today”, 2014
  42. 42. The Big Rethink But first it is useful to briefly take stock of the current architectural scene… much, if not most, of what is being built today is pretty dismal and does little to heal the fragmentation of our cities wrought over the last century. …Most of what we now see as exceptionally stupid design concepts – such as the ubiquitous, a-contextual, energy guzzling, airconditioned glass box – were initiated by architects and once hailed as exemplifying Modernist ideals. …No amount of the desperate fad for jazzing up facades in syncopated ‘barcode’ patterns and other jittery rhythms, and jollying up with strong colours can conceal the tawdry, mean-spiritedness of the design and the flimsy thinness of much construction. (Even inoffensive seems beyond us.) These faults are largely the inevitable consequence of the rhetoric of cheap and ‘efficient’ utilitarianism promised by Modern architecture. - Peter Buchanan “The Big Rethink”, Architectural Review
  43. 43. increased isolation increased disparity increased pollution increased illness economic collapse ecological collapsehttp://www.handsoffmydinosaur.com
  44. 44. universal independence uniformity urbanism efficiency economy industry machined mass production material centric profithttp://chrisdent.co.uk/new-york-skyline
  45. 45. As the field matures, and as more of our daily interactions involve information environments, we must become also increasingly proactive in our role as agents of cultural and political change.” Jorge Arango “Architectures”, Journal of IA, Sep 2011
  46. 46. ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT - A HUNCH
  47. 47. Hypothesis 3: We can become better practitioners of IA by expanding our metaphor and the architectural examples we reference to include ideas from natural and indigenous architecture.
  48. 48. local interdependence customization earth integration quality affordability community hand made bespoke ideas people
  49. 49. If we use physical architecture as a metaphor to describe IA, what other types of architecture should we reference, and why?
  50. 50. local interdependence customization earth integration quality affordability community hand made bespoke idea centric people
  51. 51. local interdependence customization earth integration quality affordability community hand made bespoke idea centric people
  52. 52. local interdependence customization earth integration quality affordability community hand made bespoke idea centric people global independence uniformity urbanism efficiency economy industry machined mass production material centric profit
  53. 53. https://prezi.com/1mul6vuq_a2s/earthships/
  54. 54. local interdependence customization earth integration quality affordability community hand made bespoke idea centric people global independence uniformity urbanism efficiency economy industry machined mass production material centric profit
  55. 55. local interdependence customization earth integration quality affordability community hand made bespoke idea centric people global independence uniformity urbanism efficiency economy industry machined mass production material centric profit
  56. 56. Our goal must be not to disparage, deny the threats under which we live, but to boldly go forward toward a new practice, an understanding that may save us from what many past and present follies are now dumping in our laps…If we take it up as a goal, it will spread like fire to other minds and other fields… Information architects should adopt this as a goal. We are uniquely qualified to get it done, so let's do it.” Brenda Laurel Closing Keynote 2015 IA Summit
  57. 57. Dan Klyn - Origins of Pattern Language: Learning from Christopher Alexander (IAS 2016 Workshop) • Theoretical bases for Christopher Alexander’s ideas • Survey and comparison of the many attempts by people working in digital to apply Alexander’s teachings to information systems and interfaces • Business models within which Alexander’s work has worked more and less well • Contrasting Alexander’s practice model with those of “typical architects” • Mapping Christopher Alexander’s ways of thinking and making into The Understanding Group’s IA practice. We'll get hands-on with: • Trees and Semi-lattices as a requirements modeling structures • Describing the problem/solution ecologiesa of complex information spaces using patterns from A Pattern Language, as well as certain patterns we detect and formalize together in the session • Understanding and applying Alexander's fifteen geometric properties of wholeness to information architecture and interface design
  58. 58. Reading List Information Architecture Understanding Context, Andrew Hinton, Book Making Sense of Any Mess, Abby Cover, Book The Understanding Group’s (TUG) Newsletter & Blog Architecture & IA “Architectures”, Journal of IA, Jorge Arango, Journal Article Criticism of Typical Architecture “The Big ReThink”, Architectural Review, Peter Buchanan, Article Series The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs, Book Natural Building The Hand Sculpted House, Ianto Evans, Book
  59. 59. LOCAL CONNECTIONS
  60. 60. WIAD 2016 Lunch Discussion 1. Discuss your most commonly used IA or UX metaphor 2. Identify a strength & a weakness 3.Explore how you might seek to further examine & expand your metaphor
  61. 61. THANKYOU Jessica DuVerneay @jduverneay jessica@understandinggroup.com @undrstndng understandinggroup.com

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