IA Summit: Pervasive Information Architecture

by April 10, 2010

In his Pervasive - Information Architecture for the Augmented Tomorrow presentation at the IA Summit in Phoenix, Andrea Resmini outlined the transition information architects need to make to design ubiquitous computing experiences. Here's my notes from his presentation:

  • Who designs pervasive experiences and how? Increasingly, cyberspace is a layer tightly integrated into the world around us. Not a separate place we go. But when we engage with multiple forms of media today, it is often a complex, tiring experience.
  • Ubiquitous ecologies: not simple objects but ecologies of products, services, and objects, all round and follow us. When different media and different contexts are tightly intertwined, no artifact can stand as a single isolated entity. Every single artifact becomes an element in a larger ecosystem. All these artifacts have multiple links or relationships with each other and have to be designed as part of one single seamless user experience process.
  • It’s a process where everything is connected and this process needs to be designed. When every single artifact, be it content, product, or service, is a part of a larger ecosystem, focus shifts from how to design single items to how to design experiences spanning processes.
  • We need to design cross-media experiences not interfaces and single interactions. Experiences bridge multiple connected media and environments into ubiquitous ecologies.
  • Heuristics we can use to design this type of process are focused on defining (place-making, consistency, resilience) and refining (reduction and correlation).
  • Place-making: help users reduce disorientation and increase legibility and way-finding in digital, physical, and hybrid environments.
  • Consistency: provide and sustain internal and external, in-context, on-task coherence.
  • Resilience: human-information interaction models to shape and adapt to specific user needs, targets, and seeking strategies
  • Reduction: to reduce the cognitive load and frustration associated with choosing from an ever-growing set of information sources, services, and goods.
  • Correlation: to suggest relevant connections between pieces of information, services, users, and goods to help users achieve explicit goals or stimulate latent needs
  • Information architecture can be used to design the entire range of shared information spaces, places, services, and processes. All the artifacts in these physical spaces don’t stand-alone, they are connected and have to be designed as part of one seamless user experience process.