As a CMS specialist, I’ve witnessed first-hand the immense amount of information that’s now readily available to us at any moment. The digitization of information has resulted in the growth of information in ways that were once difficult to imagine. But with this abundance of information comes an equally immense challenge: how to make it all findable and understandable.
Historically, information was typically housed within a specific container – whether that was a book, a file cabinet, or a physical storage device. But as information has dematerialized and become detached from its container, it has become increasingly difficult to manage. This abundance of information, combined with the various ways we can interact with it, has created a need for information architecture.
Information architecture is the discipline focused on making information findable and understandable. It is the process of organizing and structuring information so that it is easily accessible to those who need it. Information architecture addresses the problem of information overload by asking designers to think about information in two important ways: as a place made of information, and as an ecosystem that can be designed for maximum effectiveness.
For information architecture to be effective, it must be defined at various levels. This means not only thinking about the abstract concepts behind information organization but also considering the concrete details of how information is presented to users. This is why information architecture is a holistic approach that takes into account both the big picture and the small details.
In conclusion, the dematerialization of information presents a significant challenge for information architecture. By approaching information as both a place made of the information and an ecosystem that can be designed for maximum effectiveness, information architecture is uniquely equipped to address the challenges of information overload and make information findable and understandable for all.
This text is based on my notes from part I of the book “Information Architecture for the Web and Beyond” by the authors: Louis Rosenfeld, Peter Morville, and Jorge Arango. O’Reilly 2015.