An Information Architect (sometimes called a “digital librarian”) organizes complex systems of information so that users can find exactly what they’re looking for—a docent of digital data, you could say. If you’ve ever been searching for info on a website and thought, “If I designed this, I would make this particular thing so much easier to find!” — then the Information Architect role could be your true calling.
What does the Information Architect do?
An Information Architect’s job is to help discover and articulate the “why” of a project.
They will work directly with clients to ensure consistency and continuity in project design and execution and are responsible for website/user interface design and development, including layout, navigation, and flow, as well as developing IA documentation (site maps, navigation models, content models).
The daily tasks of an Information Architect can include:
- User research
- Determining hierarchies of information and content flow
- Creating PDFs and spreadsheets in Visio, Omnigraffle, and Adobe Illustrator
- Delivering taxonomies and wireframes
Basically, an Information Architect needs to understand a client’s website requirements inside and out, and be able to organize content in such a way that will anticipate the end user’s experience needs.
Information Architect Responsibilities and Skills
In order to be an Obi-Wan to a Luke Skywalker clientele, you will need to have a mastery over a wide range of programs and thinking styles. An Information Architect needs an eye for detail and a simultaneous focus on the big picture. While different clients will have different needs, they will always need an Obi-Wan to provide the techniques that will help them master the force—the website (sorry, lost in our Star Wars metaphor):
- Client-Facing Communication
- Understanding of User-Centered Design
- Concept Testing
- Critical Thinking
- Thought Leadership
- Card Sorting
- Advanced Computer Skills
Suggested Software Proficiency
- Adobe Illustrator
- Microsoft Excel
- Wireframing Tools
In conclusion, the World Wide Web needs organizational Jedi masters, ready to step in and turn websites into lean, mean, information-efficient machines.
The projects of an Information Architect require technical know-how and superb neat-freak tendencies. If this sounds like your kind of vocation, then check out our open list of jobs. Looking for your next Information Architect? Contact us today and we can find one that’s perfect for you.
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