Pondering Life’s Big Questions

A colleague of mine at Critical Mass just delivered a presentation that prompted a fascinating question: is Information Architecture worth saving?

The question is posed because of the vagueness surrounding the discipline and its future. With alternative navigational schemes that rely less on architecture and more on tagging or user feedback, how important will Information Architecture be in the future? Is it being developed right out of existence by more democratic options?

The same issues surround digital content. Is user generated content and sharing making the need for professional development and management less important? I think probably not, but the beauty (and danger, for pros like me) is that the audience will decide. Yes, amateur user generated content is the talk of the town right now and it’s what’s getting all the buzz, but just as you likely would get bored if your only outlet for dramatic performance was the local high school production of The Crucible, you probably have an interest for online content that goes beyond Obama Girl or “Chocolate Rain.”

The key is to listen to the audience and understand what it is users are attracted to in these phenoms: ingenuity and genuineness. Apply those to the content you’re creating and the audience will follow.

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