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Architecting Reality

A talk by Kat King at 2015 IA Summit

About the Talk

April 25, 2015 10:15 AM

Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis, MN

As information architects, we are responsible for understanding and communicating what is, and, in doing so, shaping what will be. In order to do this well, and ethically, we need to understand the structures which shape reality: how are they formed and maintained? How does our work resist or uphold existing structures and narratives? How can we make sure we are looking where we ought to be?

Richard Saul Wurman’s LATCH, is one tool for understanding meaning, and when used correctly it is an important tool, but it doesn't go far enough to help us question or even see the most pernicious structures that shape our reality. What do the fields of philosophy, psychology, and language tell us about how these structures are created and maintained, and how can we make sure the solutions we are architecting are good, not just because they are easy to use, or meet client specifications, but because they actively resist harmful structures, and support beneficial ones?

Session Takeaways

  • ‘Reality’ is a construct which persists through our continued use of it.
  • We can either resists structures or uphold them, but nothing is neutral.
  • If we are not aware of all the structures that control the meaning of the things we are architecting, we are doomed to uphold the prevailing structures.
  • In order to see these structures we need a practice or tool like LATCH which shows us where to look and how to push, but one which addresses more structures.
  • We have an ethical duty as information architects to be aware of the structures we are upholding and how they impact our future, but are likely to fail unless we engage in a practice wide conversation about what this means.

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