Toward a culturally focused information architecture
In the course of a few decades, beginning in the mid-1970s when the first consumer-focused computers started to appear in homes, software has moved from being a curiosity embraced by a minority of early adopters to being a natural extension of human activity and a part of daily life in nearly every corner of the globe. In the mid-2000s, networked computing moved from the desktop and laptop computer and into the pockets of people the world over. While culture hit a flection point and technology was going through this burst of rapid evolution from desktop to mobile computing, the discipline of information architecture went through its own developmental challenges. The period from 2007 to 2009 saw the field change and face a sobering challenge to its very relevance, and the infusion of a new spirit and direction. This rebirth of information architecture has been marked by a renewed focus on the fundamentals of the discipline as seen in the work and research of Andrea Resmini and Luca Rosati and their exploration of its application across the many channels through which we encounter information, in Andrew Hinton's studies of the contexts in which people use the systems we design, and in the work of Dan Klyn. This chapter adds one more facet to this new spirit of information architecture—culture. Culture is a critical component: we design the tools that people will use within their own complex cultural contexts. New methods and approaches to our practice are needed, as those that we currently use lack a focus on culture and its dynamics: this paper argues that the academic practice of anthropology can lend information architecture those tools.
Fiorito, D. (2014)., Toward a culturally focused information architecture, in A. Resmini (ed.), Reframing information architecture, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 71-84.
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