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Andy Clarke is an information architect

Who knew? I always thought Andy Clarke was a great visual designer and CSS dude. But what I didn’t know was that he’s a closet information architect.

I attended his workshop today at Web Directions. In this, and in his book (Transcending CSS), he spent a big chunk of time talking about meaning and structure – about identifying meaningful content chunks, using semantic naming for pieces of content and using microformats to make small pieces of content more usable.

I know this isn’t usually considered to be information architecture, but I personally think it is. What is more IA than analysing content, finding meaning and creating macro and micro-structures? That sounds like IA to me.

Andy talked about the idea that ‘designers’ should be involved in the development (or at least planning) of code structures. I think this is a perfect place for IA folks to also be involved (if they are involved in a project) – to best figure out how detailed content chunks can be used. But I don’t think this is only an IA role – it is important that everyone thinks at the broad level of communication design and the detailed level of communication execution.

And it was a fantastic workshop, wonderfully supported by The Jam & Paul Weller.

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