Information Structures

Shana Penta || Jake Martin

Artist Statement

This class has introduced me to many new ideas and thoughts about information structure that I hadn’t thought of before. Some of these were things that I had always noticed or done myself, but never understood why it was the way that it was. The most interesting thing we talked about was that once you start to organize something in a specific way, you lose the opportunity to organize it in any other way. While this seems very obvious, it was something I didn’t even think about before it was brought up in the course. I also think that’s the point of organization though. You don’t want the information to be organized in any other way, and if you did, you probably would have done it that way in the first place. It’s being organized in a way that should most make sense to the person who needs to use the organization system, so it doesn’t really matter that it can no longer be organized in these other ways.

I’ve also done many infographics before in other classes, but this class was different since it had us focus more on the information rather than the overall design. It’s important in an infographic to have the right mix of information and design, that’s the whole appeal of doing an infographic over a different type of structure. I’ve always been on the design side of things, 2D graphic design/animation, 3D Modeling, Animation, so it’s been interesting to discover more of the structural and content side of things in this class.

-Jake Martin

The DTC 356 Information structures course has introduced several key elements that have affected me on various levels. From basic aha moments, which highlighted simple things such as why I organize my photos a certain way, to a more profound understanding of what an information structure is. The complexity of a database or website made sense before this class. After taking DTC356, I have developed a more profound understanding of all the elements involved in both types of information structures.

It is within this understanding of how information structures form, the way that they can be organized, and why they develop differently based on a user's needs that has been the most important. Learning why controlled elements might restrict both physical and digital information structures, and what that means for the person searching for information gives a more sophisticated understanding of the need to either control the information presented or give up that control for a browsable experience.

The printed copy of this essay is an information structure of the first order and second order. The paper's organization structure lies in the outline of information deemed necessary. In creating a web site as an information structure, this is a form of both second and third order. The goal to implement a user-friendly medium while conveying the complexity of the class content in a simple format that's easier to understand. Elements implemented to achieve this are easy search navigation, a contrast in colors, visual hierarchy, chunking text to allow easier readings, and, therefore, a better understanding of the data provided. Combining the elements of the assignment; the infographic, essay, and artist statements together on the website is a third order structure. The infographic is yet another representation of this complex understanding of information structures.

-Shana Penta