This morning I took a look at my brief to see that we are moving onto how information can be presented in more visual, graphic ways. I jumped onto Moodle and found some links to begin my research on such a topic. At first glance, I thought: “What do they mean by information architecture?” Now, I know what an infographic is, and so I thought that by architecture, Paul is likely referring to the way in which the select information is placed on the page – a sort of hierarchy of information according to its importance/how the designer wants the information to be read.
After reading through the brief, I think this is exactly what he means…The Interaction Design Foundation website also explains that information architecture should not be worried about ‘technical infrastructure’ but should instead tend to focus on the organisation of and way in which information is displayed. What is important is the “user experience”. If the information is sorted into likened groups, a hierarchy of importance is established, use of text and graphic imagery is incorporated, minimal design for maximum impact – these things when considered carefully – all help to create a positive user experience by allowing for an easy understanding of the given information/data.
Some things that User experience designers keep in mind are site maps: these help with structuring a successful layout that is easy to navigate, making for a more intuitive design. I quite liked the simplified way in which the Information Architecture Institute defines this type of design: “Information architecture is the practice of deciding how to arrange the parts of something to be understandable.”
Sounds rather easy when you put it like that, arranging bits and pieces together to make sense of something…but it really isn’t, a lot of well thought planning and concentration goes into the design process! When you think about it, information is all around us everyday! We are faced with informational graphics that are integrated into our daily lives and because of this, I believe that we take such well thought designs for granted (such as Facebook, Youtube, bus timetables etc). Reading about such designs has made me ponder how successful is the information architecture that I use in my daily routine? To be honest, I really don’t like the layout of our bus timetables; all jam-packed with small print it can take quite a while to sift through each suburb and time to find the one you want. The navigation of such information could be made better!
This leads me into the do’s and don’ts site provided to us which actually mentions that typography and words should not be the most dominant element on the graphic: there simply shouldn’t be a lot of it taking over the entire message. Instead, it is best to think of how such facts or info could be visualised through pictorial charts, mini graphics and so on. When making such charts and graphs, always remember that you are a designer; think of ways to make it not just another typical powerpoint graph. However, typography should of course be used, but is best suited for headings or subheadings in this circumstance. It really depends on how you’re wanting to convey the information.
Here are some examples sourced from Pinterest that I thought were just mind blowing and beautiful – yet they’re also expert at using hooks leading the eye exactly where the designer wants it to go, and carries the message across because of this.
More things to consider:
- Three colour palette works best
- Use colours that do not make the eye work too hard
- Wire framing: columns, placement of information
- Hook: the primary, most dominant image that you want the user to remember
Use these sites to help you with picking palettes that work well together:
So overall, ‘showing not telling’ is the essential tip that should be at the forefront of information architecture thinking.