Big Ideas

What happens when web designers really “get” designing for the web? Sarah Horton, co-author of the Web Style Guide, ponders the meaning of beauty and quality in the context of being a good web designer.

At this point in experience design’s evolution, satisfaction ought to be the norm, and delight ought to be the goal. As design professionals, how do we create opportunities for customer delight?

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.

May 1st, 2002

Arrows in Our Quiver

As I write this the Police’s “Synchronicity” is on the radio and that’s a good way of summing up some of the interesting developments experienced during the past few months.

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