How do we design information spaces for collaboration when we no longer have shared information spaces? So often in IA, we start from the place where people will access information – yes, we should start with user needs, but often place (in-person or digital) is pre-determined. In 2020, we went from in person to remote, with hybrid services, and now there are hybrid events, hybrid work, and even some fully in-person contexts. Meanwhile, some people never went remote at all. These shifts (and shift-nots) have surfaced many issues that have always been there but were not salient to us before: the differences of experience that marginalized people have in the office, the feasibility of accommodations that disabled people have been requesting for years, the uneven distribution of broadband access, the number of managers who still don’t know how to evaluate job performance. There are certainly things that cannot translate digitally and much joy in connecting in person. But have we ever truly had shared information spaces? And if we don’t have shared information spaces—does that have to be a bad thing? What does that mean for information architecture?
Janice Chan (she/her) is a proud generalist who is passionate about increasing agency through access to information. Her number one pet peeve is watching people get needlessly frustrated. As an independent consultant, she does a lot of facilitating, asking questions, drawing diagrams, sensemaking, coaching, and generally getting people, process, and structures into alignment. Outside of work, Janice enjoys snacks, writing, traveling, building community, making playlists, and taking way too many pictures of her cat.