When resources are limited, the design must be optimized to make the best use of all resources. To account for this complexity, it is important to have a clear understanding of both sides of the design equation—what you have to work with and what you are trying to build.
We’ve all seen blueprints–formally known as contract documents–which architects produce and builders use to construct. No one person knows all the details of the design; the end result is entirely a product of teamwork. But there is one axiom: architects do not build.
The web is awash with sterile design solutions. IBM, Dell, Microsoft, and countless others are virtually indistinguishable from each other. Though one might say this makes browsing easier by virtue of a standardized interface, in reality such sites create mundane experiences for their users and fail to make a positive connection with their audience.
Semiotics teaches us as designers that our work has no meaning outside the complex set of factors that define it. The deeper our understanding and awareness of these factors, the better our control over the success of the work products we create.
What do cognitive psychology and information architecture have in common? Actually there is a good deal of common ground between the two disciplines. Certainly, having a background in cognitive psychology supports the practice of information architecture, and it is precisely those interconnections and support that will be explored.
Over the coming months and years, RIAs will move from cutting edge to mainstream. That transformation will accelerate with the Flash and user experience communities working together to understand and develop best practices and shared knowledge.
Long before anyone was looking for “godfathers” of information architecture, our fellow species were wrestling with some of the same problems we face today. The real godfathers of information architecture, as it turns out, emerged a very long time ago with the earliest origins of life on this planet.
What distinguishes a web application from a traditional, content-based website and what are some of the unique design challenges associated with web applications? A reasonable launching point is the more fundamental question, “What is an application?”
Visual designers working on the web need an understanding of the medium in which they work, so many have taken to code. Many have entered the usability lab. But what about the other side? Are developers and human factors professionals immersed in literature on gestalt and color theory?
Despite predictions to the contrary, it doesn’t seem that the advent of networked information sharing has reduced human consumption of paper. In fact, given the amount of printouts modern offices and homes produce, one is inclined to say that even MORE paper is generated today than ever before.