Information architecture in the age of complexity




While the distinction between complex and complicated may seem negligible, the key is understanding that complexity applies to a system that cannot be simulated, modeled and predicted. Website architecture within the Internet environment may be just such a system with evolving underlying technologies and demands, and handling their complexity is the information architect's challenge. Complexity is added by the undercurrent of social, cultural and economic influences, infusing pervasive layers of extra meaning, often indirect and detached from the immediate content in a postmodern sense. Progress has moved to postdigital, where the focus is on the user, not the technology, generating pseudo-modern cultural products dependent on user interaction. The result is a new need for place and meaning that supports the user's cross-channel experience. Resulting websites, still complex, may elude modeling, but with new meanings and structures emerging from a new style of usage, they can still be designed.