When I tell people that I am an Information Designer or that I’m taking Information Design in school, I usually get a blank stare. I try to follow it up quickly by saying that it’s a combination of graphic design, information architecture and web development. That’s okay to tell people quickly, but it’s not 100% accurate; it’s much more than that. It also takes complex information and makes it simple and clear of the user. Usability is another big part of Information Design is usability; the ease at which people can use a tool in order to achieve a particular goal.
The top roles of an Information Designer:
Being able to come up with an original and unique idea from nothing and creating materials and documents (print or digital) that are attractive and readable.
Developing the information makeup of a web site (wire frames) and creating a good user experience from that structure.
Having strong rhetoric and writing skills and being able to write documents for a variety of fields and topics.
Developing beautiful and functional websites for the internet.
Being able to write and understand the coding.
The person accountable for the accomplishing of a certain project, through the planning, execution, and closing.
Overall, creativity is a must; any one of these jobs requires you to have an open mind, be imaginative and original.
The neat thing is that all these roles fit together and interact when working on a project. Take the development or redesign of a web site, for example. The project manager is in charge of it all; they keep the project going through the ups and downs. Then comes the information architect; they develop the foundation for the website, by making the wire frames. The designer takes those wire frames and creates the individual pages of the website. Meanwhile, the writer (technical, or not) takes the wire frames and writes the copy for the website. The designers will insert the copy into the pages. Then programmers and web developers take the designed pages and wire frames and put it all together. They link all the pages and add functionality to the buttons (call to actions), as well as the more complicated back end parts of the web site. Together, they all work together to create a attractive and functional web site.
Being an Information Designer and having knowledge on all of these roles, makes it easier to see where other areas are coming from and understand what they are taking about. I am technically an information architect intern, but I work with designers, web developers, project managers, etc. on a daily basis, but I also have firsthand experience with what they do and how they do it. I have found this ability to be very helpful in my internship.