Top 15 Information Architects
Information Architecture (IA) has evolved over the last few decades alongside the advancement of information technology. The discipline itself arose from the need to create solutions to design problems, and bridge the gap between disciplines surrounding the presentation of information. This article will get you acquainted with 15 of the top information architects in the business.
An information architect's job is to present information in an elegant, concise way. Typically, IA revolves around working with digital products like applications or websites, but it can be used to facilitate the structure of information in any space. The Information Architecture Institute states that, "Information Architecture is the practice of deciding how to arrange the parts of something to be understandable."
It can be hard to classify information architecture, because it is inherently transdisciplinary. IA is a symbiosis of science, entertainment, design, and communication. Those who call themselves information architects come from a wide variety of different disciplines that encompass design, engineering, information technology, and cognitive science.
Jorge Arango has written extensively on the subject of IA over his 20+ year career designing digital products. He is a partner at Futuredraft — a digital product design agency out of Oakland, California. In the past, he served as president of the Information Architecture Institute, and was editor in chief of Boxes and Arrows.
Arango is noteable for co-writing the groundbreaking book, Information Architecture: For the Web and Beyond. Most people know it as "the polar bear book."
Unlike the other entries on this list, Stephano Bussolon's professional background is rooted in Psychology. He holds a Master's of Science in Experimental Psychology from University of Padua, and a PhD in Cognitive Sciences from the University of Trento.
As a contract professor, he teaches data analysis. His works have been published in The Journal of Information Architecture, Web without Barriers, and countless other respected publications. His work centers around informtion architecture focused on analyzing data. See his portfolio to get a feel for his work, or friend him on Facebook.
Abby Covert is the former president of the Information Architecture Institute (IAI) a non-profit organization established in 2002. As an independent Information Architect, she has worked as a consultant for a diverse set of established brands, including: Nike, Staples, Craft, KFC, KMART, BlueCross, and Bank of America.
She also goes by the name of “Abby the IA,” which is coincidentally the name of her website — AbbyTheIA.com. She published one of the most accessible books on Information Architecture to date, How to Make Sense of Any Mess. This book serves as a case study, as well as a guide to practical information architecture. She works as a speaker, teacher, and independent Information Architect based out of New York, New York.
Jesse James Garrett
Garrett started his career as a writer, and interface developer. Later he co-founded Adaptive Path, a design and consulting firm based in San Francisco, California. These days you can find him traveling around the world teaching people about information architecture, and the web.
Checkout Adaptive Path's website, where you can find lots of free resources and information. He was an active blogger back around 2011, but has since slowed his production. Instead, you can follow him on Twitter.
Dan Klyn is the co-founder of a The Understanding Group, an IA consulting company. His work is focused on the practice of translating the principles of architecture from the physical world (buildings and structures) — into places made up of information. Dan serves the IA community at large as president of the Information Architecture Institute. Visit his website, Wildly Appropriate, for lots of great free literature.
Most people know Steve Krug from his best-selling book on IA, Don't Make Me Think — a book about computer human interaction, and web usability. The book, which sold over 300,000 copies, has been revised and updated several times since its original publication in 2000.
His extensive knowledge comes from a 20+ year stint as a usability consultant for big-name clients like Apple, Lexus, NPR, and Bloomberg. Krug is a highly sought after keynote speaker for events such as Convey UX.
Peter Moreville embedded himself as one of the pioneers of Information Architecture early on. His teaching has influenced an entire generation of professionals, and his body of work has had a major impact on the industry as a whole. As an author, Moreville is responsible for some of the most useful books on IA. Moreville wrote and co-authored best-selling books such as Intertwingled, Ambient Findability, and Information Architecture for the World Wide Web.
He also holds a number of advisory roles at some of the most vibrant IA community organizations, including:
- Journal of Information Architecture — Board of Directors.
- The Understanding Group — Strategic Advisor.
- Rosenfeld Media — Board of Advisors.
- Q LTD. — Strategic Advisor.
Moreville is the founder, and president of Semantic Studios, a private information architecture and consulting firm. As a consultant, he has worked with AT&T, Cisco, Harvard, IBM, the Library of Congress, and many others.
Samantha Raddatz has a background in project management, library science, and qualitative sociology. She also holds a Master’s degree in Information and Library Science. As the founder of Logic Department — Samantha does IA-related services for non-profits, cultural institutions, agencies, and corporations. She serves as the Director of Events and Programming for the Information Architecture Institute, and is also the founder of a fun company called Burrito Solutions.
Andrea Resmini holds a MA in Architecture and Industrial design, and a PhD in Legal Informatics. He is an accomplished teacher at Jönköping International Business School, an information architect, writer, and a piano player among other things. His specialties lie in the fields of architecture, design, and information communications technology.
As editor in chief of the The Journal of Information Architecture, a peer reviewed scholarly journal, he is one of the leading authorities on Information Architecture today. He was also the editor of an important book, Pervasive Information Architecture — Reframing Information Architecture. As one of the most notable information architects, Resemini shares his experience and practical knowledge to help others understand IA.
Rosati is another leading figure in the world of information architecture. This independent information architect from Italy specializes in omnichannel design, and UX design. His long career in the field includes a stint as a teacher at the University for Foreigners of Perugia, Italy. Rosati has been published in numerous magazines, websites, journals, and books related to IA. He co-authored Pervasive Information Architecture with Andrea Resmimi, and also contributed to Reframing Information Architecture. Follow him on Twitter, or visit his website, Luca Rosati, to learn more.
Louis Rosenfeld is another vanguard who helped build the industry of information architecture. Since 1991 he has been actively consulting companies on Information Architecture, while managing his company, Rosenfeld Media. As a teacher and consultant — his experience and insight in the field are unmatched. He famously predicted the downfall of Yahoo! with uncanny accuracy.
Rosenfeld has taught private workshops on enterprise information architecture, and site search analytics for a laundry list of fortune 500 companies, including: PayPal, American Express, AT&T, Pfizer, Ford, Sun, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Wells Fargo, McDonald's, and Microsoft. We'll stop there since the list goes on and on.
In 2002, he and Christina Wodtke co-founded the Information Architecture Institute. He is also co-founder of Argus Associates, one of the very first information architecture firms.
Although Judy is relatively new to IA compared to most of the names on this list, she is quite engaged in the community. Her journey to the field of IA started as a grant writer, researcher, and application designer. She has been invited to work on exclusive IA projects such as UX 4 Good.
Siegel has also held senior positions as a User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) Designer for clients like CNN, MSNBC, and the Center for Disease Control. As the Director of Development for the Information Architecture Institute, and an active volunteer for the Society of News Design her role is to come up with solutions to usability problems.
Donna Spencer is the creative mind behind Maadmob, a freelance agency specializing in information architecture, user experience design, and consultation. She is the author of three books, including A Practical Guide to Information Architecture. Donna's area of expertise is rooted in writing and digital design. Some of her work is showcased in her portfolio, which includes information architecture, writing, mentoring, and web design.
Christina Wodtke specializes in User Experience (UX) Design. She is an active speaker, author, and consultant. Her book, Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web is one of the defacto reference materials for IA students. As a consultant, she has spearheaded projects for such clients as MySpace, Yahoo!, and Zynga.
A gifted teacher, Wodtke teaches the next generation of entrepreneurs at California College of Arts, and Stanford Continuing Education. Her curriculum surrounds game design, designing social websites, and the fundamentals of user experience design. She is also co-founder of the Information Architecture Institute. You can find her on Twitter, or checkout her blog ElegantHack.
Richard Saul Wurman
With a background in architecture, and graphic design — Richard Sault Wurman was one of the earliest champions of Information Architecture. He coined the term "Information Architect" and is considered to be the founder of IA. Wurman's prolific contributions have earned him a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Smithsonian, Cooper-Hewitt Museum.
He is most well-known as for founding the TED foundation (Technology, Entertainment, and Design), in 1984. TED is an independent, nonprofit organization devoted to spreading ideas. Over the past few decades, TED has hosted conferences featuring some of the most innovative thinkers of their time — bridging the gap between the design community, entertainers, and business leaders.
Wurman has also written and published over 89 books on a wide range of topics, including the revolutionary book titled: Information Architects — which was first published in 1997.
Get Acquainted with Information Architecture
Information architecture is an exciting field full of amazing opportunities, and innovative people. It takes a holistic approach to the practice of arranging things, even 715 slices of bread. One of the best things about the field is how accessible it is for anyone to learn. Follow the happenings of information architects on this list to learn about the IA community, and find helpful resources. For a definitive roadmap to information architecture, visit the Information Architecture Institute's website.
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