Information Architecture (PDG-6970)
Teacher: Abby Covert
- Skype: Abby_The_IA
- Phone: 617-504-2030
- Email: Abbycovert@gmail.com
Design work is fraught with complexity. Because of this, it is entirely possible to make “things” and even “systems” without making much sense to other people. Information architecture is the act of deciding how the pieces of a whole should be arranged to make sense of those you intend to resonate with. It is a critical life skill that is the backbone of all successful design work.
In this class, we will improve your IA skills by focusing on making sense of your thesis work. You will be taught IA frameworks and theory to assure that your work makes sense not just to your peers within the walls at SVA but more importantly to the audience you intend it for.
- To teach the importance of language and structure in design projects, especially those projects that are large and across various media and channels.
- To provide frameworks and theory needed to be thoughtful in the creation of structures that can strengthen the potential for shared meaning and resonance with your audience.
- To encourage clarity when breaking down goals, audiences and concepts.
- To explore what it takes to think-through, document and gather feedback on structures that you can implement within your thesis to get to your goals and serve the needs of your audience.
Weekly Class Meetings:
We will meet every Monday morning. Lecture will start promptly at 10 AM. Lateness will not be tolerated. Absences must be excused 24 hours in advance.
Blog: For the first 8 weeks of class you are responsible for furthering your research and design process while documenting your work publicly. Blog posts are expected to be live by noon on Tuesday each week. If a week’s blog content is missed, it must be made up by the end of the semester to pass this class. No blogging in private, don’t even ask.
Due 1/10: Email Blog Link to Doug & Ailun Due 1/19: Write about Audience & Market Due 1/24: Write about Goals & Objectives Due 1/31: Write about your Linguistic Choices Due 2/7: Write about your proposed methodology & research Due 2/14: Write about Factors, Context and Channels Due 2/21: Write about a before/after case study about a diagram Due 2/28: Write a project plan for the rest of the semester
Book: Starting in mid-March you will be working within a small group to peer review your book as you finish completion.
On 3/13: Review Controlled Vocabulary & Full Outline of Book
- On 3/20: Review Introduction, Goals & Objectives and Research chapters
- On 3/27: Review Book Visual Layout Templates
- On 4/3: Review Methodology and Audience & Markets chapters
- On 4/17: Review entire book including Looking Forward, Footnotes, Bibliography and Appendices
- On 4/24: Review Fully Designed Book as a print-ready PDF
By showtime you must provide receipt from Blurb of three professionally printed and bound books of no less than 25,000 words each. Each book must contain the following content:
- Table of Contents
- Goals & Objectives
- Audience & Market
- Looking Forward
Editor: By March 6th you must hire a professional editor to work with you on the production of your final book. You will pay this person and they will not be related to you. You will not have the same editor as any other student in the class.
Dossiers: By March 13 and April 24 you must submit one dossier of work completed in this class, according to the standards of the department.
- No one is late (this means you are early)
- Three instances of being late equals an absence
- No existential crises
- No changing thesis topics
- No whining
- No mobile phone use in class
- No note passing
I promise to see my thesis work from the fall semester through without questioning all of the other topics I could work on instead. I will not allow my impending post-school life to leak all over my last semester of school. I promise to treat my classmates with the respect with which I would like to be treated. I promise to spread out the writing part of my thesis so as not to screw myself later on. I promise to make decisions about how I use my time with future me’s happiness and wellness in mind.
Class Materials: Lecture slides will be uploaded below on Sundays before each class.
- How to Make Sense of Any Mess – Abby Covert
- Information – Marcia Bates
- Lost in Translation – Lera Boroditsky
- Intertwingled Chapter 3: Connections – Peter Morville
- Class Syllabus
- Class 1 Lecture Deck (1/9): Information, Content and Data
- Class 2 Lecture Deck (1/18): Prioritize Users & Stakeholders
- Class 3 Lecture Deck (1/23): Establish Intention
- Class 4 Lecture Deck (1/30): Ontology
- Class 5: No Lecture, just 1:1s
- Class 6: Lecture Deck (2/13): What is Your What?
- Class 7: Lecture Deck (2/20): Diagram the Damn Thing
- Class 8: Lecture Deck (2/27): Fidelity & Resolution
- Class 9: Lecture Deck (3/13): Objects to Ecosystems
- Class 10: Lecture Deck (3/20): Taxonomy