Pervasive Information Architecture / Book Review

I recently came across a great reference book for exploring the concepts emerging from the user experience space.
Pervasive Information Architecture: Designing Cross-Channel User Experiences by Andrea Resmini and Luca Rosati features a 7 point manifesto about approaching life where technology is making the interactions with products, organisations and services seamless. It suggests that we no longer need to think in terms of singular experiences but rather in terms of ecosystems. Here are Resmini and Rosati’s theories:

MANIFESTO

  1. Information architectures become ecosystems

When different media and different contexts are tightly intertwined, no artefact can stand as a single isolated entity. Every single artefact becomes an element in a larger ecosystem. All these artefacts have multiple links or relationships with each other and have to be designed as part of one single seamless user experience process.

  1. Users become intermediaries

Users are now contributing participants in these ecosystems and actively produce new content or remediate existing content by ways of mash-ups, commentary, or critique. The traditional distinction between authors and readers, or producers and consumers, becomes thin to the point of being useless and void of meaning. All build new relationships and meanings by means of mash-ups, aggregators, and social networking tools, and all agents contribute content through the crowdsourcing leveraged by the Web via wikis, blogs, and other participatory tools, and mobile devices.

  1. Static becomes dynamic

On one hand, these architectures aggregate and mash-up content which physically may reside elsewhere and which might have been released for completely different purposes. On the other hand, the active role played by intermediaries makes them perpetually unfinished, perpetually changing, and perpetually open to further refinement and manipulation.

  1. Dynamic becomes hybrid

These new architectures embrace different domains (physical, digital, and hybrid), different types of entities (data, physical items, and people), and different media. As much as the boundaries separating producers and consumers grow thin, so do those between different media and genres. All experiences are cross-media bridge-experiences across a breadth of different environments.

  1. Horizontal prevails over vertical

In these new architectures correlation between elements becomes the predominant characteristic, at the expenses of traditional top-down hierarchies. In open and ever-changing architectures hierarchical models are difficult to maintain and support, as intermediaries push towards spontaneity, ephemeral or temporary structures of meaning, and constant change.

  1. Product design becomes experience design

When every single artefact, be it content, product, or service, is a part of a larger ecosystem, focus shifts from how to design single items to how to design experiences spanning processes. Everyday shopping does not concern itself with the retail shop only, but configures an experience process which might start on traditional media with a television commercial or newspaper advertisement, might continue on the Web with a research for comments or for locating the nearest convenience store, might proceed to the shop to finalize a purchase, and finally returns to the Web for assistance, updates, customization, and networking with other people or devices.

  1. Experiences become cross-media experiences

Experiences bridge multiple connected media and environments into ubiquitous ecologies. One single unitarian process where all parts contribute to the final, seamless user experience.

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The book is available online from http://pervasiveia.com/book/manifesto

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