TAOI: Ten Years

The architecture of information:

A core principle of information architecture is that user interfaces change faster than their underlying structures. Given how quickly digital things change, this principle is easier to contemplate in the abstract than in practice.

“Bored coder” Neal Agarwal recently published a one-page website called Ten Years Ago, which showcases fourteen websites’ homepages as they looked in February 2011 (through the graces of the amazing Internet Archive, which deserves your support.) I took Neal’s page as a prompt to look at how websites have changed in a decade.

In Ten Years, I examine Apple, ESPN, Goodreads, Reddit, and IMDb. As expected, the sites look different than they did ten years ago. (Some more so than others.) However, their core navigation structures remain remarkably consistent.

As expected, the sites look different than they did ten years ago. (Some more so than others.) That said, their information architectures remain remarkably stable. As I’ve said many times before, structure changes more slowly than look-and-feel. These five sites offer compelling proof.

The Architecture of Information: Ten Years