From Architecture to Information Architecture: How Design is Design is Design


I often come across diagrams like this. And this. And this. And while you can use a million bubbles and graphics to explain these concepts, ultimately all these professions with fancy schmancy names come down to design.

Design is really an act of communication, which means having a deep understanding of the person with whom the designer is communicating.
— Don Norman, The Design of Everyday Things

I went to school for architectural design. It had little to do with frontend interface or backend coding. But it was charettes and design-build (design sprints), floor plans and program (information architecture), circulation (navigation, interaction), sustainability (usability), models (prototypes), envelope and facades (interface), BIM and building codes (design systems), massing (wireframing), spatial composition (UI), and crits (well...crits).

The terminology may be different but design is design is design. To design well means to research with "empathy", solve problems, and communicate with the human user/client through your work. You go through an iterative process, build experiences, and practice design thinking. But beyond the presumptuous methodology and trendy processes, at the root of it all, you must use your disciplined training and wealth of knowledge to create something that serves more than yourself. You need to be passionate about learning about others' problems and communicate a visual and interactive solution in some hybrid form of art and engineering that is both beautiful and practical.

Design is design is design. It's my means of communication, and I can't wait to continue expressing myself through it.