YADIA: “IA defines spatial relationships and organizational systems, and seeks to establish hierarchies, taxonomies, vocabularies, and schema—resulting in documentation like sitemaps, wireframes, content types, and user flows, and allowing us to design things like navigation and search systems.”
from Sara Wachter-Boettcher. “Content Everywhere”
Yet Another Definition of IA (YADIA):
“The activity of Information Architecture [is] designing an abstract and effective organization of information and then exposing that organization to facilitate navigation and information use.”
-from The Discipline of Organizing, by Robert Glushko
I ran across this definition of information architecture at IBM’s developerWorks site and thought I’d share it here:
Design patterns for information architecture with DITA map domains
Information architecture can be summarized as the design discipline that organizes information and its navigation so an audience can acquire knowledge easily and efficiently. For instance, the information architecture of a Web site often provides a hierarchy of Web pages for drilling down from general to detailed information, different types of Web pages for different purposes such as news and documentation, and so on.
An information architecture is subliminal when it works well. The lack of information architecture is glaring when it works poorly. The user cannot find information or, even worse, cannot recognize or assimilate information when by chance it is encountered. You probably have experience with Web sites that are poorly organized or uneven in their approach, so that conventions learned in one part of the Web site have no application elsewhere. Extracting knowledge from such information resources is exhausting, and users quickly abandon the effort and seek the information elsewhere.
The same issues apply with equal force to other online information systems, such as help systems. The organization and navigation of the information has a dramatic impact on the user’s ability to acquire knowledge.
(This post originally appeared on The Machine That Goes Ping.)