ProgrammersAsInformationArchitects (ThoughtStorms)

Browsing the new edition of InformationArchitectureForTheWorldWideWeb I'm struck by the authors' dismissal of similarities between InformationArchitecture and SoftwareDevelopment.

Whereas many other professions are allowed insights into information architecture, the book merely says "People rarely confuse software development and information architecture ... developers help us understand what is and isn't possible." And later on "Programmers are often excellent at modelling content and metadata for inclusion in a database. They're also great at figuring out how all of the component systems and technologies ... fit together."

In other words, programmers play the same role with respect to information architects as structural engineers play to real architects.

But here are a couple of thoughts on why programmers should make good information architects :

:To cope with this they've adopted many information architecture strategies :

** metadata (typing, reflection),

** controlled vocabularies (variable and method naming conventions, namespaces)

** synonyms (#define)

** classification schemes (methods belong to interfaces belong to classes belong to modules or frameworks)

** prefered terms (facade pattern)

** broader and narrower terms (class hierarchies)

** faceted classification (multiple inheritance, polymorphism)

I'm not trying to argue that software people come pre-trained as Information Architects. But, apart from actual librarians and information scientists, it's hard to see how any other profession can be more familiar with or more habitually engaged with the problems and solutions of information architecture. If you need to train someone from another profession to be your IA, your skilled programmer is likely to be the best bet. (Though remember the DevilIsInTheDetails)

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