25 November 2006

Thoughts on the impending death of information architecture

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Joshua Porter, a user interface engineer published an interesting article on the respective merits of a predefined taxonomy versus a user-generated folksonomy, and concludes that the latter has now prevailed.

“IA as it has lived will soon die. Not because it wasn’t valuable, not because IA’s didn’t do great work, but because the Web is moving on.”

“The problem is that IA models information, not relationships. Many of the artifacts that IAs create: site maps, navigation systems, taxonomies, are information models built on the assumption that a single way to organize things can suit all users…one IA to rule them all, so to speak.”

“Either you believe meaning is inherent in the natural structure of the universe, or you believe that meaning is relative, personal, and different for everyone.”

“The biggest cleavage along these lines, as Shirky alluded to, is Google Search (meaning is relative and can be modeled by links) vs. Yahoo Directory (meaning is inherent in the structure of information). We all know who won that battle. Yahoo has all but demonstrated that the directory model, and not the folksonomy model, doesn’t scale.”

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(via Usernomics | Usability in the News)

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