From the Editors

Once upon a time, we were curious and everything we encountered was new. We were excited about discovering new things and the world offered unlimited possibilities. Then we went to school and were taught to color inside the lines, that everything had its place and the world was ordered.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOXES AND ARROWS! On this, Boxes and Arrows’ one year anniversary, Christina Wodtke muses about our original goals, some of our accomplishments, and even shares a few tidbits from behind the scenes at B&A.

We stand poised to dive into the new year. What will 2003 hold for the profession known as “what we do” and its children, information architecture, usability, interaction design, interface design, and graphic design? We asked our authors to hazard a guess.

December 1st, 2002

Leading from Within

While there are IAs fortunate enough to work in companies that wholeheartedly embrace user-centered design, there are many more whose biggest challenge isn’t the work itself; it’s finding the opportunity to do the work, at the right time, in a meaningful way.

November 1st, 2002

Coming of Age

It seems like a lifetime ago when I asked my boss if I could adopt the title “Information Architect.” After all, according to Richard Saul Wurman’s definition, that is what I was. He laughed at me and said Information Architect isn’t a title, or a role. It’s not a job. That conversation took place only four years ago.

By committing all their attention to a single craft, often literally over hundreds of years, each town in France has received the renown that comes with great work. But what happens when you leave the autoroute, lured by one of those signs proclaiming the town’s mastery and claim to fame?

Ivy-covered halls are filling up again with eager students of the user experience fields ready to change the world (or at least to study out the recession). But are these programs really teaching them what they need to know?

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.

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?

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