Physical-digital work environments.

Information Architecture and the importance of planning physical and digital environments in a consistent and integrated way was discussed during the jelly session organized at the Isola WOW! Lavoro Agile (Cozzi Swimming pool). Architects talk about functional and comfortable rooms while information architects talk about digital environments, functional and comfortable. Yet the two worlds don’t connect.

Information Architecture (IA) is a subject that helps to plan digital environments, where information can be found, understood and used; the actions to do should be clear, quick and safe; and everything should work with all kinds of devices, fixed and mobile.
Every day we interact with physical and digital ecosystems, crossing the border between on-line and off-line all the time, even for a simple buy (do I buy on-line or off-line or vice versa). But, what’s more, we live in a world where digital is real, for it has tangible effects on our life, changing it and sometimes saving it.
Information Architecture is almost 20 years old and has well-established means to study the relations people have with digital environments, so to improve their User Experience.
But now planning digital environments  (real and not virtual) without pitting our skill against the physical world doesn’t make sense any more.
For instance, people are asking for a supermarket with a layout consistent with their website, a physical experience enriched with digital devices to get an “augmented reality”. And, obviously, to work well (and with other people) both at the office or on a train or at the seaside.
Architects and information architects should therefore collaborate, knowing that well-being and work quality also depend upon how physical and digital environments are built and connected, made consistent and therefore complementary.
Text by Claudio Muci, Information Architect & User Experience designer.
Ikea’s augmented reality catalog (upper).
Interior design with augmented reality app by Awesomeness (lower).

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