Workplace and Career

The following ten things have been said by actual clients and represent common and very human reactions to a new wrinkle in the process of building software: design. By gathering these comments in one place and sharing them widely, it becomes easier to recognize them, so we can keep our calm and contribute to effective software teams.

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.

Both programming and IA are oriented towards abstraction. They both want to find patterns and rules that describe and predict. They both are concerned with handling structured content and metadata. But more often than not, IAs don’t know what’s going on with code. In this article, Andrew Otwell introduces IAs to the basic building blocks of programming.

A few months ago, on the cusp of another reorganization, my boss challenged me to present ideas about how my group should be organized. The challenge: “If you could organize the group in whatever way you wanted, what would you recommend doing?” Everyone who has ever been a manager longs to hear those words.

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.

Teaching information architecture as a profession in the process of being born, author and educator, Earl Morrogh, in his new book, “Information Architecture: An Emerging 21st Century Profession” places IA in an historical context analogous to the history of architecture.

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?

October 27th, 2002

Talking with Jesse James Garrett

Upon publication of his new book, “The Elements of User Experience”, Boxes and Arrows talks to the author, Jesse James Garrett, to discover how the diagram evolved into the book, why he only wears black and how his work as an information architect has evolved.

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