A pattern library of architectures

Technical architecture has a mature understanding of architectural patterns. That’s not something we think explicitly about much in IA, but pattens exist regardless. This is an (ironically) unsorted list of patterns I see in use:

  • Junk drawer
  • Big ball of mud
  • Inbox
  • Ledger/Data table
  • Activity feed
  • Thread
  • Search within
  • Pin board
  • Folder
  • Recommended content
  • Guided tour
  • Neighborhood
  • Clickable metadata
  • Glass door (the way you can see the contents of a module from the learning path)
  • Card
  • List
  • Detail page
  • Wizard (?)
  • Beads on a string
  • Tabletop
    • Nesting doll
    • Bento box
  • Landscape
    • Hub and spoke
    • Star (dense interlinking, like wikipedia)
    • Hierarchy
      • Table of contents
  • Façade: Create a new thing in front, so nobody has to look at the old
  • Strangler: Create a new thing that gradually overtakes the old
  • Refactor: Change little pieces of an old thing as you can

Q: What anti-patterns do we have in IA?

  • Wizards
  • Role-based navigation
  • Anything accomplished with an army of interns


Foote, B., & Yoder, J. (1999). Big Ball of Mud. Pattern Languages of Program Design 4. http://www.laputan.org/mud/?ref=coding-horror