Reframing Information Architecture

Part of the series Human–Computer Interaction Series pp 119-129


Dutch Uncles, Ducks and Decorated Sheds—Notes on the Intertwingularity of Meaning and Structure in Information Architecture

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On what basis can and ought one assess the relative merits of a given work of information architecture? In 2009, Jesse James Garrett pointed to the non-existence of such a normative theory and the community of practice’s consequent inability to indicate “what good means” as evidence that information architecture is not a proper discipline. Garrett’s rallying cry was for a wholesale reframing of that community in terms of User Experience Design, with human engagement as its center. In this chapter, I draw from the work of architects Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi to counter-propose a co-occurring reframing of the mostly-digital sense- and place-making work of information architecture in the normative terms of architecture, where the appropriate interplay of meaning and structural form comprises the basis of what good means.