A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Information Design

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Information design (also known as 'information architecture') is the study of the details of complex systems. Among these are websites, user interactions, databases, technical writing documentation, and human-computer interfaces.



Hyperviews Online

News and Information from the Society for Technical Communication's Online Special Interest Group.

STC Online Information SIG. Resources>Information Design>Online>Blogs


I Know What You Mean!    (members only)

According to experts, the Semantic Web, an enhancement of the conventional web, is paving the way for new functionalities in future, web-based applications. The possible scenarios that we could face are reminiscent of fiction and cinema, where you just need to think of the question for which we are seeking answers. An invisible assistant would then perform the search.

Sieber, Tanja and Bartz, Wolfgang. tekom (2006). Articles>Web Design>Information Design>Semantic


I'm not Technical. Why Should I Bother to Learn DocBook or DITA?

First of all, understand that you don’t have to learn it. Every year more and more toolds come out that help place a layer between you and the native XML. In a few years time you will hardly even realise there is XML underneath.

Technical Writer (2006). Articles>Information Design>DocBook>DITA


IA and Usability: When to Start

Information design is supposed to be done from the very beginning, as it's not a cosmetic but a substantial discipline. You are much faster if you hire an information designer in the beginning.

Information Architects Japan (2006). Design>Information Design>Usability


IA Classics: Tools of the Trade in Comic Book Form

'What I need are highly condensed overviews,' I thought, 'like those comic books that convert great literary works into a few illustrated pages. They condense Moby Dick down to 12 pages and provide a version of Great Expectations that can be read in 15 minutes.'

Willis, Dan. Boxes and Arrows (2003). Articles>Information Design


Review: IA Summit 2007: Part I

In 2006, I attended my first Information Architecture (IA) Summit. It was the best of the many conferences I attended that year, making this year's conference a must-attend event.

Gabriel-Petit, Pabini. UXmatters (2007). Articles>Reviews>Information Design


IA Think

Thoughts on interactive architecture, business and design.

Adkisson, Heidi P. IA Think. Resources>Information Design>Interaction Design>Blogs



There is a discipline, known as information architecture; and there is a role, known as the information architect. They have developed more or less hand in hand, and up to now any discussion of one has involved discussion of the other. But now that may have to change.

Garrett, Jesse James. JJG.net (2002). Articles>Information Design



iaslash is a news site for information architects, modeled on slashdot, interested in information organization, usability, user testing, user interface design, and other areas related to the access and use of information in information-use environments.

iaslash. Resources>Information Design>User Centered Design>Blogs


IAwiki Index

An glossary of thousands of terms and concepts from information architecture.

IAwiki. Resources>Directories>Information Design>Glossary



IDblog is Beth Mazur tilting at power law windmills. A little bit Internet, a little bit technology, a little bit society, and a lot about designing useful information products.

Mazur, Beth. IDblog. Resources>Information Design>Journalism>Blogs


IDEA 2008: An Interview with Elliott Malkin

Where the seams of information and public space overlap and intersect, Elliott Malkin creates projects that span genres from religion to natural science. In a preview of his upcoming IDEA conference talk, Malkin talks about home-movies, butterflies, and designing for unofficial signs in public space.

Danzico, Liz. Boxes and Arrows (2008). Articles>Interviews>Information Design>Scientific Communication


Identifying and Representing Electronic Engineering Resources: A Case Study in Knowledge Management

Current methods of access to the electronic resources offered by the Internet make little use of basic principles of information organization and retrieval, relying instead on relatively informal and, at times, ad hoc approaches. This creates problems in terms of the volume of information retrieved by a user of the Internet and the precision with which that information matches the user's information need. There is a plethora of engineering resources available on the Internet, yet no systematic method of retrieval is available to engineers who are in need of the most current information in their discipline. The Internet is often the only immediate source of the most current engineering resources. The purpose of this project is to identify electronic resources that could be of value to engineers and to represent these resources in a manner that enables engineers to make timely, informed decisions about the usefulness of the resources. This paper addresses the specific objectives the project which include: 1) the development of selection criteria for electronic engineering resources; 2) the identification of electronic resources of interest to engineers, as defined by the selection policy; and 3) the creation of abstracts for these electronic resources that will include at least two hyperlinks to other related electronic resources.

Connaway, Lynn Silipigni, Rochelle Logan, Christopher Brown. ISRDP in Digital Libraries (1997). Articles>Knowledge Management>Information Design>Engineering


Identifying Information Design Heuristics   (PDF)

This paper identifies common problems faced by information designers and suggests a set of heuristics that could be used to evaluate information design. By examining reception and transmission errors, the paper explores the different channels available to the designer, the errors that can be introduced through those channels, and possible solutions that might mitigate or eliminate those errors.

Sukach, Rebecca. STC Proceedings (2002). Design>Information Design>Assessment


If This Is Information Architecture, I Need a Plumber!

The validity of the term architecture for information work has been the source of some contention among both IAs and traditional architects. I have been forcefully reminded in recent weeks, through my dependence on information technology, just how limited the architecture of information spaces can be compared to the physical structures of our world. Just as a problem with the plumbing or the roof of your home tends to grab your attention and demand resolution, computers in their various forms can make demands on users that stretch the patience and emotional stability of even the most sanguine.

Dillon, Andrew. ASIST (2001). Articles>Information Design


If You Can't Measure It, You Can't Manage It

Intranets don't self-organize. Without planned, centralized information architectures and clearly defined published processes, they become unproductive. Intranets often have applications that either don't work properly, are too difficult to learn, or have no clear business benefit. Applications, like content, must be able to establish a clear return on investment.

McGovern, Gerry. New Thinking (2003). Articles>Information Design>Intranets>Assessment


IM Bots   (PDF)

Campbell discusses the role technical communicators can play in developing IM (instant messaging) bots--programs that correspond with IM users--for customer support purposes.

Campbell, Walter. Intercom (2003). Articles>Information Design>Communication>Instant Messaging


Image Maps for Help System Navigation

One of my goals was to make it easy to get help for using specific parts of our application. Users don’t need to know the name of the panel or feature they are trying to use. They just need to know where they are working on the screen, and they can click through to get the help that discusses that part of the screen.

Pehrson, Paul. Technically Speaking (2009). Articles>Documentation>Information Design>Technical Illustration


The Impact of Single Sourcing and Technology   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Design of information tends to be controlled by the functionality of the tools and technology. The last decade has seen a powerful move to online materials and a move away from paper. The next 5 years will see a move to new ways of structuring information for multiple media, multiple audiences, and multiple types information. The use of document databases, single sourcing, and knowledge webs will redefine 'writing.' As we move into the next millennium, information developers need to take control of the technology to support information design. This article addresses the changing face of technology, information design, and skills required to ensure effective information development in support of user needs.

Rockley, Ann. Technical Communication Online (2001). Design>Information Design>Single Sourcing


The Impact of XML on the Processes and Efficiencies of the Federal Government

The focus of this paper and the presentation will be to discuss how XML has changed and improved the legislative and regulatory document creation and management processes for agencies of the federal government. During the presentation, we will briefly describe the evolution of XML adaptation in the Legislative Branch agencies. A more in depth discussion can be found at xml.house.gov.

Schulke, Edward. IDEAlliance (2004). Articles>Information Design>Government>XML


Implementing Information Architecture Using XML: A Business-Driven Approach

A few of aspects that are easy to miss in the excitement of trying to implement an XML-based information architecture in an organization.

Pant, Asit H. and Aoyon Choudhary. Indus (2005). Articles>Information Design>XML


Implementing SGML in the Mainstream: The First Steps   (PDF)

“SGML is too complex and too costly to implement widely. ” This criticism has often been leveled at the Standard Generalized Markup Language. Mainstream SGML, a new open architecture, challenges that view. Traditionally, implementation has required companies to invest heavily in training. Authors had to learn how to create documents using complex SGML syntax. This method was time-consuming and yielded a slow return on investment. The Mainstream approach to implementing SGML uses resources that already exist in a company. Mainstream SGML provides an alternative to costly, complex native SGML document management systems. This workshop shows you how you can use mainstream SGML to successfully implement SGML in your mainstream business and publishing processes.

Luoma, Ray N. STC Proceedings (1997). Presentations>Information Design>SGML


Implementing SGML: The First Steps   (PDF)

Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) is an accepted standard today. It promises to free many companies and industries from problems with document conversion, compatibility, and interoperability. Whether you’re curious about SGML’s benefits or actively planning to implement SGML, this workshop will help. As a participant, you will learn how to apply a life-cycle approach to implementing SGML. Through hands-on exercises, you will gain the knowledge to succesfully plan and implement SGML solutions.

Holman, G. Ken and Ray N. Luoma. STC Proceedings (1996). Articles>Information Design>SGML


Implementing SGML: The First Steps   (PDF)

Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) is an accepted standard today. It promises to free many companies and industries from problems with document conversion, compatibility, and interoperability. Whether you’re curious about SGML’s benefits or actively planning to implement SGML, this workshop can help. As a participant, you will learn how to apply a life-cycle approach to implementing SGML. Through hands-on exercises, you will gain the knowledge to successfully plan and implement SGML solutions.

Holman, G. Ken and Ray N. Luoma. STC Proceedings (1995). Articles>Information Design>SGML>Standards


Implementing the Atom Publishing Protocol

Joe Gregorio's latest Restful Web column implements the Atom Publishing Protocol as a Python web service using WSGI.

Gregorio, Joe. XML.com (2006). Articles>Information Design>XML>RSS



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