Workplace and Career

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.

What the design student needs is a design course that stresses usability, human factors, and clarity, instead of the typical branding and interpretation problems they usually encounter in their other design classes. James Spahr recounts a year of teaching at Pratt Institute that attempts to cross those boundaries.

Polar Bear book co-author Peter Morville shares the inside stories about the making of the new edition—from its original scribblings on an airsick bag to the ideas that didn’t make it in—and his thoughts about how the field has changed since their book was first published.

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?

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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