What is Information Design?

According to an article published in Technical Communication, Information Design has two definitions:

  1. The overall process of developing a successful document.
  2. The way the information is presented on the page or screen (layout, typography, color, and so forth).

Information design is what we do to develop a document or communication that works for its users. Working for its users means that the people who must or want to use the information can

  • Find what they need
  • Understand what they find
  • Use what they understand appropriately

This definition comes with two additional points that information designers must always remember:

  • Most of the time, most users of functional information are using that information to reach a personal goal—to answer a question or to complete a task.
  • The users, not the information designer, decide how much time and effort to spend trying to find and understand the information they need.

Thus, creating successful information design (in a document, website, software, etc.)  requires a process that starts with understanding what you are trying to achieve, who will use it, how they will use it, and so on.



Redish, Janice C. “What Is Information Design?” Technical Communication Second Quarter (2000): 163-66.


2 thoughts on “What is Information Design?

  1. I enjoyed the chart you posted in your blog. I checked many infographics in pintarest or other sites, the most important items are listed in the charts; interestingness, function, form and integrity. Many successful infographics have interesting graphic elements/layout/copy to attract audience and also the information is easy to digest. I am always curious about how much graphics vs. content we can use for effective infographics.
    I visited the site, informationisbecautiful.net. I really like the site. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Guided by Neal’s discussion in his Instructor’s Commentary, I thought about the text and the graphics of your blog. The content and its presentation as related to the process and result of Information Design. I liked your concise summary of key points from the Technical Communication article. Your outline format works well in presenting the concepts and emphasizing that information design needs to work for its end users. The process should establish effective communication between the user and the information resource; and not just satisfy the designer’s esthetic. Excellent choice of illustration! (InformationIsBeautiful.net is a very interesting website!) That Venn diagram itself is a great example of information design; and even fits Dan Roam’s approach of text-pictures. I also like the graphic theme you chose for your blog; a neutral palette that make for easy reading and frames the illustrations well.

    –Gwen Lubey

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