Back to the Future of IA
With the 2003 IA Summit only weeks away, I'm remembering Peterme's Future of Information Architecture piece penned following the 2001 Summit. Looking back on his ideas is fascinating to compare them to where we are now.
(I hasten to add that I'm not embarking on some hair-brained analysis of the accuracy of these predictions. Since we can't really predict the future, I think predictions are useful instead as a vision to help us reconsider the future.)
The Spread of "Good IA"...the idea being that information architecture becomes an approach toward managing your information, a set of processes and methods undertaken by anyone. While we're not there yet, core IA ideas from personas to metadata are spreading out from a small base to many more practitioners.
Data Analysis...the practice of information architecture will become increasingly informed by usage data... I fear this hasn't become much more sophisticated that analyzing server logs. Though companies like NetRaker that combine remote usability and analysis could be seen as an alternate path to better data.
IA Playing Nice in the Sandbox...optimizing how these various [internet product development] disciplines interact will become of paramount importance...not sure if we can make any general statement about this yet. From my vantage point, there's more interesting tension between IA and technologists than IA and other experience design disciplines. Partially because, as a friend of mine remarked, visual design is becoming a commodity (also see n_gen).
Library Science Impacts Agency Information Architecture...no question this has happened, but has far to go before both LIS ideas and practices are ingrained in most IAs.
Data-Driven Information Architecture...[reducing the] umpteen different formats used to express the same dataset. While I've seen examples that give hope, I'm inclined to think we'll continue with umpteen formats until we're all saving our work in compatible XML languages.
Professional Affiliations for Information Architecture...a likely outcome will be the development of a professional organization to represent the discipline. Of course with the launch of AIfIA he was proven right. He later added the focus should be a) research, b) curriculum development, and c) methodology development.
Further Specialization...this might have happened more if not for the economic downturn. As it is, I think most of us are instead learning more skills ourselves.