UPDATED: Boxes and Arrows Redesign Call: This just in: Hillman Curtis joins the panel of judges. The entry deadline has been extended until August 15th, 2004 and the panelist of judges confirmed.
In the information economy, the longevity of an organization is based as much on the sophistication of its knowledge management practices as it is on traditional differentiators such as the strength of its products, the talent of its employees, and its marketplace reputation and partner relationships. Simply speaking, as actionable and insightful information becomes the currency of an organization, there are few other ways to tap into any latent potential lost in the office corridors.
How does a user interface designer know that a given design will work? How does anybody develop enough confidence in a design to move it toward the real world? The methods designers use to evaluate user interfaces require training and experience. But the people who need to hire designers are unlikely to have those skills. How do the people who are paying the bills know they are getting good answers?
As information architects we all know how important it is to keep the user in mind. The same is true in teaching IA: we must keep the learner in mind. Learning objectives are one tool to help keep your classes focused on the student. They will also help you develop the syllabus, lesson plans, and assessment methods.
User-centered design professionals pay special emphasis to one type of stakeholder—the users of the system—arguing that user experience needs to be carefully crafted to satisfy user needs. While understanding user needs and goals is certainly necessary, it is often not sufficient for producing a successful design.
Guidelines. We seem to have a love-hate relationship with them. At the same time we construct them, we worry they’ll come back to haunt us. How did guidelines get such a bad reputation?
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.
Just what are the design practices on the web that have the highest frequency? And are there design practices that all (or nearly all) sites employ?
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.
In my experience, I have found that creating and documenting process has been a good exercise to help institutionalize ways of working, to help educate new team members as well as to unveil the mysteries of what we do for executives, product folks, and development teams.