Information Architecture is a discipline born of a drive for structure and coherence in human-computer interaction. From our early days as librarians of the internet, we have adapted to fill a particular niche that seeks to classify, describe and organise the entities that users interact with. And we’re good at it! Our special talent for organisation has no doubt helped billions of people find what they were looking for in the vast and tangled domain that is the world wide web.
But things are changing. In the not-too-distant future, users won’t need to mediate their decisions through a screen in their pocket. The confluence of AI assistants, Wearable Technology and Spatial Computing will birth a new interaction paradigm, one that relies on hyper-context aware AR devices with powerful on-board machine-learning capabilities. And yes, maybe people will inhabit the “Metaverse” where landing pages have become lobbies and dropdowns have become reception desks.
Which brings us to a worrying question: what will IAs even do anymore?
In this workshop, we will explore our role as part of a future that looks beyond two dimensional interfaces and structural navigation. We’ll consider taxonomy, ontology and choreography alongside IA principles, before projecting them forward into a world that has moved away from traditional websites and apps. We’ll ponder which heuristics we can confidently keep, and where we might have to adapt in order to survive as a discipline.
To do this, we’ll look to the real world for inspiration. Humans have evolved to experience the world in 3D and (after all), we are a type of “Architect”. Surely we can use our own experience and particular way of thinking to get sight of the gaps in this new domain of coordinates and signifiers?
Most importantly, we’ll seek out the invisible aspects of future experiences that the machines will miss. That way, we can start to develop new tools and practices that help us keep focusing on the Human part of HCI.