a thought

navigation is information architecture made visible. p.s. this is my one thousandth entry, according to movable type.

navigation is information architecture made visible.

p.s. this is my one thousandth entry, according to movable type.


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  1. 1
    Lyle Kantrovich

    First reaction: Yep.

    Second reaction: Navigation is a visible aspect of IA. I include metadata, taxonomy and labeling in IA — these aren’t always visible, and not wholely encompassed in navigtion.

    Third reaction: I’m being anal. You said navigation is IA, not IA is navigation. See first reaction.

    Fourth reaction: Wow! 1,000 entries! EH is getting long in the tooth!

  2. 2

    I dunno, I kind of prefer IA to be invisible. If you notice it, it’s getting in the way.

    But I suppose that’s from the perspective of the user, where your aphorism is from the perspective of the IA. From that point of view, yeah, it makes sense.

  3. 3
    Joshua Kaufman

    But does the user prefer IA to be invisible?

    Reminds me of a moment at the IA Summit, after Krug’s speech, when an audience member asked him what he thought about the discipline of IA. (Sorry I can’t remember the exact question.)

    He simply responded, “I don’t think about information architecture.”

  4. 4

    I get the gist of this, but I would put it differently. Here’s an attempt:

    Navigation is what the user does or undertakes (semantics…). A navigation scheme is comprised of cues and “landmarks”. The deliberate placement of these elements is “visible IA”.

  5. 5

    Well, I really loved the simplicity of it, and was resisting explaining….

    If you think about it, if you are doing IA you are organizing information into a findable fashion. Now how to you communicate this structure to help guide folks to the things they want? Navigation. Navigation sits in that slice of the Venn between IA and InfoD. From the yahoo hierarchy to the Amazon tabs, navigation is IA made visible.

  6. 6

    By the way, you asked for images not long ago. You know, I write a book about IA in russian, and I decided to illustrate chapter about navigation with image, showing, let’s say, some grass field (well’ i dontknow how it will be GAZON in eng, sorry:)) with some paths, covered with asphalt. But people usually make their own paths on the field, so that is, imho, good illustration on what we think user should go onthe website, and where he goes. By the way, there was a, lets’say, russian politician, named Kirov. The legend says, that he loved workerz sooo much, that he followed them, when they were going to plant and made all the discovered paths with asphalt. Bullshit I think, but funny 🙂

    P.S. if you like the idea, I believe, none will confuse if find 2 similar images in 2 different books in 2 different languages 🙂

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