Imagine this page bereft of grammar and punctuation: it would become a wash of unwieldy words, essentially indecipherable. Periods, indentation, commas, spaces, capitalization -- all serve to architect the space of the page; they create how the words look next to... [more]
Imagine this page bereft of grammar and punctuation: it would become a wash of unwieldy words, essentially indecipherable. Periods, indentation, commas, spaces, capitalization -- all serve to architect the space of the page; they create how the words look next to each other. Meanwhile, the rules of grammar architect the sense and the meaning of the word; they let us know who's a do-er and what's an action. We, of course, don't normally even notice that this architecting is taking place (except in certain kinds of poetry); the structuring of the page flows seamlessly with our reading.
But what happens when the page no longer consists of just words? Or, for that matter, when we're no longer dealing with a page but with a sign, a screen, a hologram? How is an Internet user to access a previous page? "back button," you say, but someone had to think of the back button; and once it had been conceived, it needed to be presented to the user so that the user would know what a back button even is. We can take the back button for granted today because an Info Architect did a good job structuring and displaying this information. He led us to the proper place, as if using a back button were the most natural thing in the world. The Info Architect must forge a grammar of data, of image and text and number, so as to create a meaning as familiar and seamless as the grammar of the printed page.
Coined by Richard Saul Wurman in 1976, Information Architecture has flowered in today's data-heavy world. From marketing graphs and PowerPoint presentations to video game controls; from fire escape signage and instructions to 3D visualizations of a database; from courtroom presentations of the mafia's elaborate organization to desktop configurations, the Info Architect and Theorist gives order to this reign of data, creating order from chaos, giving us a grammar to order the nonsense. [show less]