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World Information Architecture Day Teaches Best Practices in Organizing, Sharing, and Publicizing Information

MARCH 1, 2019 — Last weekend, OR&R team member and Genwest employee Kristen Faiferlick attended World Information Architecture (IA) Day to learn best practices in organizing, sharing, and publicizing information.

Man addresses a group while standing next to a projection screen.
Lassana Magassa of the Tech Policy Lab begins a presentation discussing information architecture in artificial intelligence. Image credit: NOAA.

What is information architecture and why is it important to OR&R? The Information Architecture Institute explains that "information architecture is the practice of deciding how to arrange the parts of something to be understandable. Information architectures are in the websites we use, the apps and software we download, the printed materials we encounter, and even the physical places we spend time in. If you’ve ever tried to use something and thought, 'Where am I supposed to go next?' or 'This doesn’t make any sense,' you are encountering an issue with an information architecture." 

On a day-to-day level, OR&R team members constantly create and use information architecture by: 

  • adding sections and headers to our papers and presentations; 
  • organizing our files into folders;
  • adding labels and stars to our emails and search within our email inboxes; and
  • creating menus and navigation for our websites, Intranets, and software, and more.

For those on the OR&R team who focus on creating usable software and digital products, World IA Day provided valuable insights into the current issues and practices in the field. The four-hour event--celebrated in over 60 countries across six continents--brought expert practitioners to present on topics such as the challenges of making scientific papers widely accessible to the public, the intersection of information architecture and artificial intelligence, and how to leverage subject matter experts and "experiential" experts in product design. Insights from the event will contribute to OR&R's ongoing work to provide high quality software to keep the coasts clean from threats of oil, chemicals, and marine debris.

For further information, contact Kristen.Faiferlick@noaa.gov.

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