Andy Fitzgerald is an information architect who focuses on content for digital experiences.
He helps organizations bridge the gaps between their users' human needs and the constraints and requirements of their digital systems.
A website or other digital product will always have an information architecture. Being purposeful and intentional about its design yields better digital experiences.
As Andy says, "Information architecture always happens – either by design or by default."
Andy and I talked about:
his background in information architecture, interaction design, and user research
his definition of structured content: content that makes the relationships between its fundamental units clear and machine-readable
the importance of focusing on humans - information architecture is a human-centered design practice - while harnessing the power of computers to serve them
how information architects make content findable and understandable
the importance of orienting yourself in the domain you're operating in as an information architect - and the important distinctions between domains and, for example, a website
knowledge graphs and graph databases and how they differ from the tabular data formats that CMSs typically use
an intermediate narrative/syntactic layer in content structure, between simple tabular data and semantically organized graph data, that can be organized serially to tell a story
the complexity inherent in natural language, e.g. "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana."
the standards that underlie the creation of knowledge graphs
how his Ph.D. in literature gave him the academic skills needed to consume advanced information in this quickly evolving field
how machine learning and natural language processing are advancing the modern Semantic Web
how responsive web design permits different ways of expressing messages
the story behind his recent article, "Delivering Information architecture"
how separating the creation of a classification scheme from its expression as a website navigation scheme can help keep stakeholders aligned and discussions harmonious
how "an artifact is the end 1% of the other 99% that's thinking through the sets of problems"
how "information architecture always happens - it either happens by design, or by default"
how standards like ANSI and ISO guide his professional work and lend legitimacy to our craft
how information architecture acts as an adapter, a bridge between two fundamentally different systems:
human users, who are associative, heuristic, and approximate, and
digital systems, which are enumerative, exhaustive, and exact
his article, Delivering Information Architecture
Andy Fitzgerald is an independent information architect and digital experience designer. He works with organizations of all sizes to create elegant solutions to complex information problems. Prior to forming his own practice, Andy held design and director positions at Deloitte Digital, Anthro-Tech, and Frog, where he tackled the problem of effective communication in complex information spaces for a wide range of client organizations in healthcare, education, financial services, retail, entertainment, and transportation. Andy is an active member of the IA and experience design communities and speaks and leads workshops at UX and IA Conferences all over the world.
Here’s the video version of our conversation:
Podcast Intro Transcript
Content professionals face a vexing problem when we try to organize information for digital media. The humans we serve want engaging stories and quick solutions.