Since Peter and Lou wrote “Information Architecture for the World Wide Web,” IA has been seen primarily as an element of user experience design. This deep association has blunted the potential influence and impact of information architecture as a practice and a mindset. Our world is made up of systems built on information, and to apply IA only to user experience does IA, and the disciplines it could enhance, a disservice.
In this talk, I’ll share detailed examples of how the practice of information architecture has enabled my work in organization design. Organizations are complex structures imbued with information–think about organization charts, career ladders, job titles and role descriptions, competency matrices, and cross-functional team building.
Elements of core IA practice — labeling, categorization, lumping and splitting, chunking, relationships between entities, human information processing, diagramming structures and flows — can all be brought to bear improving the design of our organizations, making them more flexible, adaptable, and humane.
IA is too important to be restricted to the application of making better UIs. Let’s think bigger about how IA can drive meaningful organizational, and even societal, change.