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Why Information Architecture Matters

The accelerated growth in the use of the Web has created many challenges that were never anticipated by business organizations and individuals.  Due to an increasing dependence on Web-based communications and the use of computing interfaces as an alternative to normal physical and cognitive tasks, a new functional concern around our interaction with information and information-based products and services has emerged.

This functional concern is not to be equated to the multi-disciplinary scope of human-computer interaction (HCI) or the management of digital information (Knowledge Management), how it might be transmitted (Information Theory), or encrypted (Information Security). The new functional challenge lay with the underlying relational interactions and theorized nature of information itself—the qualitative management of information.

Methods such as data modeling and semantic data modeling can be viewed as tools that can further the aims of information architecture, but their contributions to date have mainly been in the improvement of machine-related processes more than the understanding of human-to-machine based communications.

As humans interact with computing interfaces, we increasingly contribute to our own personal and networked web of information and information relationships. Over time and with continued use, we naturally become dependent on the information we've stored to recall previous knowledge, or to influence and create new knowledge. However, as our personal and organizational repositories grow, it becomes more challenging to interpret, manage and discover information in an efficient manner.

To improve our future relationship with information, we must seek efficient methods for its navigation and use as the amount of information grows. If not, much of the information we retain may become useless.

It is felt that particular interests held in the field of information architecture can contribute to tackling the threat of information glut and the anxiety it introduces to the human experience.

The Basics of IABack | Next: The Business Function of Information Architecture

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