With all the bickering over the “right” tools, we lose sight in these discussions of the fact that we already have the perfect tool: our brains. The knowledge, expertise and skills to solve problems are right between our ears.
Part of me feels for Jakob Nielsen for the grief he’s taken over deciding to work with Macromedia after declaring “Flash 99 percent bad.” After all, the pressures and temptations to provide simple answers to complex issues are ones we all face in our professional practices.
As computers and digital devices increasingly insert themselves into our lives, they do so on an ever increasing social level. Designers need to understand the context of use and include the whole of a user’s experience into the solution when creating a computer interface.
Not so long ago, on my personal site I posted a little entry on design. And a comment was made: “IA is not design.” This sentence has sat vibrating in my head for months. It speaks of bravado in the face of fear. But why should Information Architects fear design?
Part 2: The intense focus on the user experience differentiates websites from printed products—and information architects from print designers and writers—more than anything else. Information architects must think like print designers and writers—and they must do what print designers and writers do—on a much bigger scale, in “N dimensions.”
Part 1: My entrée into the web world—Spaceland, or “Hyperspace”—was not a smooth one; in fact, it was downright mind-bending. My personal journey from designing and writing for print media to becoming an information architect for websites conjures up images of Flatland, written by Edwin A. Abbott, an English clergyman, educator, and Shakespearean scholar (1884).
Attending conferences often crystallizes the direction of a career or confirms choices made as people meet and communities bond over similar goals. It isn’t often that you hear about someone throwing off the mantle of a title or dropping out of a discipline altogether. David Heller explains why he feels the title IA isn’t appropriate to what he does anymore.
A recent book captures a larger movement within the academic field of human-computer interaction away from its traditions of behavioral science and engineering towards “interaction design.” But re-labeling isn’t enough, it also requires a shift in philosophical foundations as well as professional practice, and the language of HCI is not the best place to look for inspiration.
In last month’s welcome, I set out to describe Boxes and Arrows purpose and goals. On a line by itself I stated this is not a place for jargon. I felt that was important enough to call out. I certainly am being called to task for that.