Information Design in context

From the Information Design Atelier
What is information design [ID for short] and how does it relate to other areas of design?

One misconception... that ID is the practical art of web design and as such basically just a sub-field of graphic design. Not so... web design is certainly a main current practice of information design, but web design is just one embodiment of ID. Course design is another embodiment, as is book design, the design of technical manuals, and certain aspects of product design. The classic field of interface design, indeed the whole human-computer interaction field, is one of ID. The scope of ID is large indeed.

Define information, consider how we interact with it, and then decide how to represent it... that is ID. Those tasks just listed are huge challenges if taken at all seriously, hence the depth and importance of ID.

ID is a relatively new field, despite long origins in related fields, for it is the advent of information technology that has brought out the practical challenges that need to be dealt with. And along with them, the theoretical challenges of a philosophical nature that circumscribe the field and push its evolution onwards.

ID will continue to grow in importance over time, for we are headed to a future ever more technology-laden and hence more virtual as well. The potential of virtuality is transformative, for it will inevitably change the very context in which we interact and live, not unlike discovering a new continent with novel fauna and new adaptations to be made.

ID is often closely associated with interaction design and with experience design. Understandably, since we design information to interact with and that interaction creates an experience with a certain emotional flavor. All three terms are pretty interchangeable... no need to quibble over words.

ID is highly creative, evolves with technologies, and can be fairly abstract. Definitely a challenge. A most exciting one.

        Philip Duchastel via e-mail.