"Billions of web pages have sprung up since the Web began. And
guess what? Information architects played no role in designing most of them.
This has been an emergent, bottom-up, grass-roots phenomenon. But every single
web site that exists does have an information architecture. They're riddled with
labels and taxonomies, vocabularies and metadata, sitemaps and indexes. There
are portals linking to portals linking to search engines. Pure navigation. Some
is good. Much of it isn't. We can critique it and we can make fun of it, but we
can't stop it. Information architecture happens!" (Morville/Rosenfeld)
I think the same goes to many (if not all) other design disciplines. We specialize in certain aspects of the design to enhance it, but our work can be ignored. Unlike medicine, engineering, we don´t really build anything but ideas to better shape existing technologies. Our work "happens" because it exists almost only to our own eyes, as a highly specialized, creative, conceptual and hypothetical view of what is already there.
So my philosophical question is: is there a way to name or better define those disciplines that "happen"? I am looking for some good ideas to make my clients and students (and even family) see that work more easily, and I would appreciate any thoughts on this.