|An information architect is one who models strategic objectives, human behavior, and content as a way to bring structure and sustainability to how people engage with computing interfaces.
Similar to how system architects model physical and software architecture, Web information architects model strategic objectives, conditional human factors, and the content artifacts that are used for human computer interaction. Information architects give careful attention to the conceptual coherence of content and their host user interface in complex information environments.
An information architect's recommendation is generally influenced by a systemic perspective that requires the collective, contextual assessment of intent, environment, and the physical and cognitive human constraints of a system's targeted users. When they have completed their assessment, an information architect provides the underlying structural plan for complex user interface (UI) environments and information interactions.
In smaller projects or environments that appear to be less complex, the information architecture (IA) strategy (often referred to as "the IA") can be rationalized with less formality. In such cases, documentation may be minimal and the IA solution will likely be defined by someone other than an information architect. However, highly complex environments require the collaboration of many "stakeholders" such as business and marketing professionals, and a diverse team of HCI practitioners. In this case, the information architect works to integrate the content-dependent aspects of each practice to establish a sustainable and scalable site structure that correlates to strategic intent and a set of anticipated usage patterns.
Contributed by Nathaniel Davis
Information Architecture as a Practice