DSIA Information Architecture Glossary

DSIA

This glossary reflects proposed terms within the context of IA theory, science, and practices based on DSIA Research. See What is Information Architecture? for additional context.

This is a working document managed by Methodbrain.

Last Updated: 6/26/2020

A

Abstract Construct

A conceptual relationship between two or more unique entities.

Abundance (Information Overload)

An excessive amount of information and content.

Activity Branch

(Activity branch definition coming soon.)

Activity Phase

(Activity phase definition coming soon.)

Architectural Intent

The rationalized objective of two or more reciprocating entities within a domain of behavior.

Application User Interface (AUI) Function

A function of network computing where human behavior is the central performance dependency.

  • Related article pending review

Application Technology Interface (ATI) Function

A function of network computing where technology is the central performance dependency.

  • Related article pending review

Architecture (Activity Branch)

The definition of architecture has been temporarily removed.

Architecture (Project : Activity)

The collective effort to frame systemic, relational constraints in a way that provides context and reveals an expression for an explicit intent.

Area of Interest

See: Subject Matter; relates to Practice Tier.

Assertion

A loosely supported concept that claims theoretical or practical relevance; conjecture.

B

Behavior Definitions

The collective set of models for the perceptive factors and tendencies within a given domain.

Boersma Assertion

The Peter Boersma assertion implies that the complete practice of user experience design overlaps or entails some aspect of every form of professional practice in the architecture and design of computing interfaces.

C

Classic Information Architecture (Practice)

A school of thought concerned with the strategy and design for navigating, organizing and relating information in ways that promote information findability, management, and use.

Common Set

An official grouping of probes and constructs that make up the tactical interests of professional practice.

Complex Domain

Describes the state of an information architecture where the physical and abstract constructs are not adaptive across modes and domains.

Conceptual UI Structure

Refers to application user interface structures that rely on static UI engineering documentation and as a result lack systematic intervention.

Conjecture

A conclusion deduced by surmise or guesswork.

— Source: Merriam-Webster

Contemporary Information Architecture (Practice)

“A school of thought concerned with the design of information environments and the management of an information environment design process.” — Source: Earl Morrough

Context Definitions

The collective set of models for the base objects and environmental relationships that constrain behavior.

Construct (Common Set)

See: Abstract Construct, Physical Construct

Content

A set of information structured by language for the purpose of an intended communication.

Content Component (Application UI)

An interrelated set of content objects used to enable an interactive presentation and engagement within a user interface.

Content Definitions

The collective set of models for the concrete and abstract constructs that impart meaning in support of sustainable behavior.

Content Model (Application UI)

A model of related content objects and the inherent attributes they require to achieve an intended outcome for an application user interface.

Content Object (Application UI)

A presentation-based HTML element with which a user of an application user interface will engage. For instance: text, image, table, list, header, etc.

Content Module

A description (model) for a set of interdependent components; the parent container of one or more content content components.

Content Type (Application UI)

A description (model) for a collection of interrelated content modules within an application user interface; the parent container of one or more content modules.

Context

The temporally interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs.

Cross-Domain Information Architecture

A site information architecture that serves as the canonical model for accommodating and enabling multiple abstract and physical constructs across multiple subject domains.

D

Design (Activity Branch)

The definition of design has been temporarily removed.

Design (Project : Activity)

The collective effort to provide a solution within the respective constraints of architectural intent.

Design Solution

The outcome of design activity that serves as the representational requirement for an intentionally (with reference to architectural intent) built object.

Device

Equipment or a mechanism designed to serve a special purpose or perform a special function.

— Source: Merriam-Webster

Digital Literacy Gap (Information Overload)

The degree of education that a user needs in order to effectively use and contribute to a knowledge system and information architecture; literacy gap

Domain Extension

Integration of the physical and abstract constructs of UI structure into other physically independent domains.

Domain

A related set of concrete and/or abstract constituents (like a device, network of devices, or subject matter like Science or History).

E

Empathy

The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.

— Source: Merriam-Webster.

Engineering (Project : Activity)

The collective effort to rationalize a structure [5] that allows a design solution and architectural intent to instantiate in the intended context.

Entity

Something that exists as a particular and discrete unit — Source: The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition.

F

Feedback (Information Overload)

The undesirable human performance or behavioral response as a consequence of an information overload event.

Filter Failure (Information Overload)

Ineffective controls for determining content quality and relevance.

First-Order Domain

An informational pattern that is the symmetrical grouping of multiple subject domains and their primary tiers.

G

H

I

Interaction Definitions

The collective set of models for the affordances that enable engagement with an object within a given context.

IA

An acronym for the term information architecture.

Information

That which can be used as an asymmetric reflection of experiential phenomena and accommodate relationships with other phenomena to facilitate language; a building block for language.

Information Architect

A practitioner who designates the function of information architecture as their core competency or primary functional responsibility within a business organization.

Information Architecture

See: Information Architecture (Business Function); Information Architecture (Practice); Information Architecture (Work Product).

Information Architecture (Business Function)

The organizational function that is responsible for simplifying how people navigate and use content that’s connected throughout an organization.

Information Architecture (Web Practice)

The practice that concerns itself with providing the conceptual “blueprint” for application user interfaces.

Information Architecture (Work Product)

The assumptions and governing constructs for assigning properties and attributes to information and the endowment and evolution of information relationships over time within a given domain; a governing model for information behavior within a digitally mediated environment; the governing framework for content behavior.

Information Domain

A set of modeled information behavior that includes properties, attributes, and base information.

Information Environment

A set of modeled information behavior that includes one or more information domains.

Information Overload

See: Micro Information Overload and Macro Information Overload.

J

K

Koltay Assertion

The Tibor Koltay assertion argues that low digital (information) literacy contributes to the propagation of information overload. View Tibor Koltay’s original article.

L

M

Macro Information Overload

Where the abundance of information becomes a quantitative obstruction to an underlying intention of an information technology system.

Micro Information Overload

Where the abundance of information becomes an obstruction to an underlying intention of an agent interacting with a system.

Mode

The physical container and its inherent properties by which information is consumed on a device.

Multi-Domain Information Architecture

A site information architecture that accommodates and enables multiple abstract and physical constructs of multiple sites within a single subject domain.

N

Natural Domain

Describes the state of an information architecture where the abstract and physical constructs are adaptive across modes and domains.

Navigation

See: Physical construct

O

Order Grid

The first order mapping of a segmentation.

P

Physical Construct

The interactive sequence and dependent nodes for a single or all directed paths to content within a domain; navigation and content designated for consumption.

Physical UI Structure

Refers to application user interface structures that promote systematic structural intervention.

Practice Tier

A single area of interest of a practice vertical.

Practice Vertical

A set of practice tiers that represents the primary areas of interest of a single professional practice.

Practice

The collective behavior of intentional empirical probing around an area of interest, whereby the contribution of documentation of discovery enables a consensus that builds and reinforces discipline around such behaviors.

Probe

A target set of perspectives or content relative to shared and dependent contexts.

Production (Project : Activity)

1) The collective effort to instantiate a design solution as a concrete object for use in accordance with its respective architecture, design, and engineering specifications; 2) the effort by which a product is made.

Q

Quartet Compression

The co-dependent relationship between a technology platform, applications, information and an individual or group of people.

R

Reactionary Propagation

A perpetual cycle of increasing volatility and volume of use, adoption, and performance encouraged by a quartet compression.

S

Search Engine Optimization

A practice of improving the relevant discoverability of information by search engines.

Segmentation

A proposal for base properties within an information domain.

Single-Domain Information Architecture

A site information architecture that does not share its abstract or physical construct with other information sources with an intention.

Shirky Assertion

The Clay Shirky assertion implies that the failure to properly filter information is what humans are inaccurately interpreting as information overload. Nathaniel Davis describes filter failure as a signature of information overload.

Structure

The coherent order and relations between physical and abstract constructs in support of a communicated design.

Subject Domain

The collective behaviors and vocabulary of an individual or group that directly relate to a unique subject matter or function within a business, organization or social context.

Subject Matter

A topic of inquiry and discussion of a single or multiple subject domains; area of interest.

Syntax

Rules that govern how information forms linguistic constituents like words, phrases, images, gestures, and sound.

Systematic Structural Intervention

The ability to manage and modify the structure of an application user interface as part of an integrated system.

T

Taxonomy

An abstract construct that reflects the collective division of entities into ordered domains arranged in a way that demonstrates parent-child relationships between domain constituents.

T-Model

A concept that argues how a multi-disciplinary practice is a set of shared subject matter from other unique practices, and how a practitioner’s added focus in a given practice vertical creates a “T” shape when graphically plotted.

Tier

A child domain of a subject domain within an order grid.

U

User Experience Design

A practice of determining the content, form, and behavior of a user interface and its related systems given the holistic exploration of situational context and user empathy.

UI Engineering (User Interface Engineering)

A practice concerned with defining the structure of application user interfaces with the application of information architecture science.

UI Structural Engineering

See UI Engineering.

User Interface (UI)

The apparatus through which a human uses to communicate as a proxy for the purpose of computation, communication, or mechanical effort. 

Utility Gap (Information Overload)

The amount of unused and unusable information stored within a domain.

V

Volatility (Information Overload)

The rate of information flow within a domain.

Revision History

06.26.2020

  • Content Component – Edited language for clarity.
  • Content Model – Edited language for clarity.
  • Content Module – Edited language for clarity.
  • Content Object – Edited language for clarity.
  • Content Type- Edited language for clarity.

07.29.2020