During this weeks readings, I was reminded of an adage traditionally associated with modern architecture that claims basically that a building’s appearance is dependant on its actual purpose. This term is, of course, “form follows function.” Easy enough to grasp, this means that how something looks is secondary to whether or not it is useful. While a skylight window may look nice, for example, it is a means to natural light, first and foremost.
This concept absolutely holds true for information architecture as well. The immediate first impressions of a homepage may look sharp, but it may be concealing bad information layouts. Conversely, a website may look outdated or ugly, but all of its information is in an easily found location. Which of these two options is preferable: the one that looks nice or the one that has the information? One of the readings calls a website, a “canvas,” which got me thinking about information architecture as an art form. If all this is true and continuing the art theme, wouldn’t the most effective forms of web design be minimalist?