Contemporary phisical-digital ecosystems surpass our capability to fully understand and predict their behavior: openness and unpredictability are emerging patterns challenging the design of today. Embracing ambiguity — embracing the possibility of not understanding exactly how the pieces fit together — means designing systems that surpass our expectations of them; it means leaving the idea of the information architect as a producer of well-defined artifacts and embracing on the contrary that of the information architect as an enabler.
Information architecture isn’t about designing websites anymore. Better, isn’t about single products or artifacts anymore. The scenario in which information architecture operated in the late 1990s has eroded its channel-specific connotation as a website-only, inductive activity, so as to become a multi-disciplinary sense-making cultural construct concerned with the structural integrity of meaning in complex, information-based cross-channel ecosystems.
Our Manifesto of Pervasive Information Architecture synthesizing the main ideas underlying the book is now available also in other languages than English. French, by Jean-Michel Salaun; Italian, by Luca Rosati and Andrea Resmini; Russian, by Elizaveta Oreshkina and Larisa Simonova.
Every product or service is today part of an ecosystem: as a consequence our user experiences span more and more several channels and devices. In such a perspective information architecture and UX design have to embrace the idea of flow and narrative.
«A Brief History of Information Architecture», part of Chapter 3 of Pervasive Information Architecture, has just been republished in an edited version by the Journal of Information Architecture. The text tries to draw a few lines in the history of information architecture and describes the ongoing shift from structuring a single item (page or website) to structuring the ecosystem.