2020 09 15
September 15, 2020
#design Information Architecture - Class
Introduction to Information Architecture
Definition and History
What is Information?
During World War II, “information” was defined as a technological term to define anything that was sent over an electric or mechanical channel. This definition was extrapolated to general usage as something told or communicated, whether or not it made sense to the receiver.
- Information -> communication
- “communication of instructive knowledge.”
- Information = ==data==
- Information is ==organized data that is made meaningful to a specific audience to serve a purpose.==
- Information and ultimately communication is in the very ==fabric of our humanity.==
What is an Information Environment?
- spaces that contain information, and where we interact with them
- can be both physical and digital
- can extend from multiple systems -> smaller spaces like a page
- e.g. library
- Content: information itself
- Consumer: interacts with content and operates under a context
- Context: circumstances of the situation and the environment
- information in the envrionment = content
- Architecture: the art/practice of designing ==structure==
- pioneered by architect Richard Saul Wurman
- “creating structure to information to yield meaning”
- IA is everywhere around us
- What isn’t IA:
- Visual design
- Software development
- Good Information Architecture helps people ==understand their surroundings and find what they’re looking for== - in the real world as well as online.
Components of good IA:
- “We organize to understand, to explain, and to control. Our classification systems ==inherently reflect social and political perspectives and objectives”==
- “Structure and organization are the about building spaces. Wayfinding about ==about adding doors and windows.”==
“The goal of labeling is ==to convey meaning without taking up too much of a user’s cognitive space”==
- “The goal of labeling is ==to convey meaning without taking up too much of a user’s cognitive space”==
- Components of good IA:
- consumer = user
- can be actively/passively shaped by user interactions
- Your job as an architect is to guide them along a path that takes to where they want to go. The architect can teach them how to find their needs, but ==they bring their own goals with them when interacting with the environment.==
- ==relationships== between the environment, the content and the consumer.
- within this, there are goals, constraints and circumstances.
- e.g. in grocery, context is different for someone trying to lose weight v.s. someone trying to gain
- e.g. spoilers w/o context
Information Environments + Information Architecture
Give an example of a flawed information environment that you have recently observed. Identify and describe the elements of the space, and recommend a way to make it better.
- What content is being presented in the environment?
- Is the environment digital or physical?
- What are the flaws of the space?
- What goals can you assume from the users of the space?
- What is are the probable circumstances of being in that space? What are possible constraints can be gleaned from the space?
One flawed information environment I’ve recently encountered is the Ateneo Integrated Student Information System a.k.a. AISIS. It’s a digital environment that, true to its name, presents vital student information, such as the IPS, grades, etc. Students mainly use this to enlist in their classes. However, due to its cluttered and unintuitive interface (i.e. miniscule text, hard to press buttons), the enlistment process ends up becoming stressful and overwhelming for students. One way I’d improve AISIS is refreshing its typography system. For me, the currrent font being used, along with its size (especially for body text) isn’t the most readible; as a result, it’s easy to miss classes while enlisting. Improving the typography would definitely make enlistment easier.
Ideas of Modernity
- Newer technology
- Use of tools to help do work
- Exact measurements
- Global Trade of Spices
Modernity v.s. Tradition
- free individuals
- state ruled by elected government
- individual self-fulfillment
- Modernity: both a ==condition== and a ==process of being==
- Foucault: a break with tradition (characterized in terms of consciousness with the discontinuity of time)
Modernity as Inventor of Traditions
- contrary to assumption modernity actually invents traditions - invented tradition e.g. Scottish kilt ### Modernity as Progress - we associate modernity in terms of economic, political, and intellectual progress #### Economic Processes - **Capitalism:** economic system in which natural resources and the means of producing goods/services are ==privately owned.==
- Three features:
- Private ownership of property
- Pursuit of personal profit
- Competition and consumer choice
- Karl Marx: capitalism is the epitome of modernity
The purpose of capitalism is to build our culture
- Industrialization: related to capitalism. highly uneven; must look beyond towards other markers of modernity (technological aspect)
- Colonialism: aided Western economic expansion. but very ==Eurocentric== (e.g. Asians considered primitive)
- **French Revolution:** inaugurated beginning of modern era. ushered formation of ==broader nation-state consciousness==, and enabled the creation of new forms of government due to the promotion of Enlightenment ideals. undercurrents of ==freeing the working class== in hope of creating a more equitable society. #### Intellectual Processes - **The Enlightenment:** dubbed as the *"Light of Reason"*. sought to apply rationality to not just the sciences, but other fields as well. implied the general process of society awakening from superstition, skepticism, etc. However, Enlightenment took a darker turn: ==knowledge was used to craft new forms and classifications of power.==
- Panopticon (Foucault): “Knowledge, once used to regulate the conduct of others, entails constraint, regulation, and the disciplining of practice.”
Modernity as a Myth of Contemporary Europe
- highly inspired by Western processes; uses the =="imperial gaze"== - a charter of a social order - Parisian salons: mostly for white men
- exclusive - Modernity: ==ethnocentric== term - The pursuit of modernity further reinforces ==colonial mentality==: we have internalized our own inferiority
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