This poster offers insight into the evolution of information architecture (IA) framing between 1998 and 2014.

Download Information Architecture Schools of Thought – Beta

The criterion for selecting unique frames

This research captures unique IA practice definitions and related concepts that have given shape to the industry. Selected works have persisted over time and are actively endorsed, practiced, or developed as an area of research and theoretical inquiry.

To make the list, contributors must demonstrate a commitment to their ideas, publish, and continue to advance and provoke inquiry in the practice of information architecture in a formal context. The plotted graph at the bottom of the poster shows a contributor’s string of related works by graphically plotting corresponding publication dates.

Who made the List?

The timeline for the research begins in 1998 with the first book dedicated to information architecture practice, Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, written by Lou Rosenfeld and Peter Morville. Rosenfeld and Morville, who remain active in the field, leave a respectable footprint across the IA framing landscape. However, their contributions are matched by a small group of contributing framers and thinkers who have provoked constructive conversation.

Contributing framers meet the criteria of original information architecture framing and supportive works of said framing. Additional contributors have produced significant works that relate to one or more contributing framers.

Contributing Framers
  • Andrea Resmini
  • Andrew Hinton
  • Dan Klyn
  • Jorge Arango
  • Loca Rosati
  • Louis Rosenfeld
  • Nathaniel Davis
  • Peter Morville
Additional contributors
  • Andrew Dillon
  • Abby Covert
  • Christina Wodtke
  • Don Turnbull
  • Earl Morrogh
  • Jesse James Garrett
  • Jess McMullin
  • Marsha Haverty
  • Wei Ding
  • Xia Lin

Updates & Tasks

As a “beta”, this poster is open for refinement. Your constructive comments are welcome. Also, feel free to suggest IA framing or works to be considered for inclusion in this research.

  1. Task – Add citations to this page
    • Status – 0% complete
  2. Task – Update list to include contributions from 2014 – 2020.
    • Status – 0% complete
  3. Task – Move the data collection to a software platform for more flexible data presentation options.
    • Status – 0% complete
  4. Task – Draft commentary.
    • Status – 60% complete
  5. Task – Consider new visualization for the entire poster.
    • Status – 0% complete


3 Responses

  1. When this poster was originally published, @peterme and @keithinstone made comments that were lost during a server move. I made changes based on their comments — as much as I could remember. These changes will be reflected in the next update.

    • The term information architecture has been around four decades and used in multiple contexts. The earliest and most relevant concept of information architecture that predates “information architecture for the Web” is that of Richard Saul Wurman. While Wurman is not considered a framer, its worth noting that his early non-Web perspective is influential to some of the contributors included in this research.

  2. In addition to the contributing framers already on the list, I’ll be considering Jason Hobbs @jhobbs_za for works of framing and/or influence. Feel free to post additional recommendations.

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