Information Architecture Gets Super-Sized


Long time no type -I’ve been really busy writing content for my latest courses and this came up during research. Each month I play a game – search Google for the keywords “Information Architecture” and see how many bogus links you find before you get to the real stuff. Today I only got to this Maskery Tom Foolery (sorry – this link is gone – guess they were a little embarrassed at all of the attention) before I had to stop and write something.

The sad thing is that I don’t know the answer to my question – how many pages does it take before one searching for information architecture can get to the real stuff? Last month, it took 19 pages of Google links before I found something that even resembled information architecture.

Why do I call the fluff not so real? There are so many folks eager to super-size IT, IT Roles and borrow or steal the work architecture to make their products look a little more salable, and specifically those working in pure web site development and content management are the villains here.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again – Information Architecture INCLUDES content management and web page/site structure design. It is not Information Architecture. IA is all that surrounds the information domain within the system or enterprise architecture. It includes servers and software that house the databases, their structures and operational systems. It includes the many types of data and database models, as well as the repositories, scripts and dictionaries used to describe the data and content stored. It CAN include content management software and the infrastructure required to run it.

This page I’ve referred to above states the following:

Below is a schematic of an information architecture.

NO – this is not a schematic of an information architecture. It is purely a website navigational map, or as VISIO terms it, a WEB SITE MAP. It is not the architecture – do you see any diagrammatically objects that depict where the information is to be stored, how it is to be stored, and in which technical manner? Do you see any models of the data, or conceptual intent? Do you see any relationships between the data.

Sadly enough, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of companies slogging this marketing type with their product. Super-Size is a McDonalds term, and I’m using it here to refer to the act of making something seem large just to sell more, without much more than added calories. If you want to see more of what this stuff is really made of, see my Information Architecture page.

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