One thing that we all have to deal with, now more than ever, is the over-saturation of data. We can easily get immersed in it, without ever gaining any actual useful information from it.
It’s our jobs as designers (and information architects) to take those sloppy chunks of data and sculpt them into usable information. We need to build some sort of structure from it all and organize things into some sort of logical order.
I’ve thought about equating this issue to the obesity epidemic. People are getting plenty to eat, but actual nutrition is horrible. There’s plenty of stuff, but little actual substance. The way to fix this is to find an appealing and efficient way of acquiring adequate nutrition.
This is how I look at information architecture. We have plenty to pull from; we just need to figure out how to bring out the good stuff. We can do that by organizing data into categories and spectrums and using that to structure our communication of information. A large determining factor of how something is organized is how we as designers want that information to be understood. If I want to show a time-based set of data, then I’d better make a timeline of some sort. Or I could find another common aspect of that data and use that as the means of organizing it.
Being an information architect is about creating structures to hold data. Those structures then turn that data into information. And that’s what we’re here to learn.