The essence of an interface is that it's literally in your face, right there in front of you, capturing your attention, triggering your brain. It's the vehicle by which you traverse the oceans of information contained on your computer, within your enterprise, throughout the Web or increasingly from some combination of those sources.

Yet no matter how compelling the view, it's only ever a fraction of the whole, just the tip of the information iceberg. The challenge for today's information architects and designers is to ensure that the surface remains somehow emblematic of the broader mystery underneath - hardly an easy task when one considers the amount of data in any large enterprise, let alone the myriad-million websites now online.

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