Workplace and Career

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?

Part 1: My entrée into the web world—Spaceland, or “Hyperspace”—was not a smooth one; in fact, it was downright mind-bending. My personal journey from designing and writing for print media to becoming an information architect for websites conjures up images of Flatland, written by Edwin A. Abbott, an English clergyman, educator, and Shakespearean scholar (1884).

Attending conferences often crystallizes the direction of a career or confirms choices made as people meet and communities bond over similar goals. It isn’t often that you hear about someone throwing off the mantle of a title or dropping out of a discipline altogether. David Heller explains why he feels the title IA isn’t appropriate to what he does anymore.

A recent book captures a larger movement within the academic field of human-computer interaction away from its traditions of behavioral science and engineering towards “interaction design.” But re-labeling isn’t enough, it also requires a shift in philosophical foundations as well as professional practice, and the language of HCI is not the best place to look for inspiration.

At the end of April, the AIGA Experience Design sig will hold its first joint Forum as part of CHI 2002. Intended to be the first of several collaborative ventures to bring the Experience Design communities of practice together, the success of the forum marks a milestone in the life of the AIGA ED group.

Recently Boxes and Arrows caught up with Samantha Bailey, formerly at Argus and current lead IA for Wachovia Corporation’s Wachovia.com website. She talks about the transition from being a consultant to an “innie” IA, unravels the mysteries of metadata and taxonomies and shares her vision of the future of IA.

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