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.

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Reference:

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