Standard Information Design

Published by Lex on

Information is infinite and yet we have this idea that we can come up with some sort of standard information design that works over and over again.

A big part of the reason of why is that we have developed standards throughout the years. We have language standards, technical standards and standard standards. These standards simplify communication and interoperability.

The standards create boundaries which are helpful. However, boundaries are somewhat arbitrary because a line was needed somewhere. Was it the best place to draw the line? Who knows? Maybe at one point it was, but perhaps not anymore. Even if it is demonstrably no longer the best place for a boundary, changing the boundary now would be really difficult.

Information and knowledge are fluid and most of our information systems are designed with the mindset that at some point information becomes static or obsolete.

In some cases this is true, but information is not static. Information is most relevant at a certain point in time, but its relevancy ebbs and flows with time and circumstance.

Designing information systems for fluid situations is more difficult. The current approach is to anticipate different scenarios in advance and hope that it paths out OK. The emerging trend for this is to us artificial intelligence to analyze the scenario and figure out what is coming next and present the right options for that.

This approach has a lot of promise, but there is still a long way to go. Systems like this are still based largely on the likeliness of a certain scenario happening, but there is always a scenario that you didn’t anticipate.

The quick solution is to allow for some manual overrides, but this inevitably leads to other problems.

On one hand, standards lead to innovation, but standard information design can lead to the risk of thinking within boundaries.