We are a community

by: and   |  Posted on

Message from the publishers

As a native Texan in the Pacific Northwest, and a transplant Texan from Southern California, we are very aware of the significance of today’s date: Juneteenth. And we celebrate its significance and reflect on what it means to us. We’re left asking ourselves how we can be better allies. We know we haven’t done enough. We are educating ourselves on how to do more.

Boxes and Arrows has always been a platform for community.  We are a Latinx owned, volunteer run publication, and we stand with the community in proclaiming loudly that Black Lives Matter. Over the past three weeks we have watched events unfold showing the effects of systemic racism and police brutality. It is difficult. It is emotional. We are deeply affected. We’ve huddled closely to our families, and marched beside members of our communities to send a clear message that change must happen now.

 We believe in community. We believe that Black Lives Matter. We believe that the power of design in the hands of empathetic creatives can and must be used for good. 

We are committed to making sure that Boxes and Arrows is a place to share ideas and make voices heard.

We continually seek diverse authors, who can share their voice, experience, values and cultural perspective, so that we may all learn from each other and in doing so show our support for each other. If you know (or are) an author whose voice can benefit our community by sharing your unique perspective, please encourage them to reach out to us, or send us a message and let us know to reach out to them.

We are bonded in our love for design. Let’s strengthen that bond in showing our love for each other.

Your sister and brother in design,
Amy & Frank

Photo by Derick McKinney on Unsplash

Taking Research out of the Lab

by:   |  Posted on

To date, usability testing has been largely confined to usability labs. This ensures a controlled environment where users can interact with products or designs and researchers can field questions. The downside of this is not being able to get the context of use of what you are testing. But a recent project for a life science organization cemented the idea that taking user research out of the usability lab yields the best results.

Continue reading Taking Research out of the Lab

Focus on Usage Maturity: Part II

by:   |  Posted on

Meet Users Where They Are, Draw Them Deeper In

If we want users to remain our users, we ought to entice them deeper into our design ecosystem.

Attempts to extend or expand users’ usage, frequently results in designs complicated by added features, and functions. My user experience research has informed digital and physical designs often with an emphasis on correcting the usability of such complexities. Users interact with the things we design at varying levels of usage maturity. Usage maturity is a measure of users’ comfort and familiarity with, and degree of use of a product, process, or place. 

Continue reading Focus on Usage Maturity: Part II

Information Architecture Expert Panel – Part One

by:   |  Posted on

The Structure of Complexity

Wikimedia Commons

With the 2020 events for World IA Day (est. 2012) and the IA Conference (est. as IA Summit in 2000) approaching, the team here at Boxes and Arrows is taking this opportunity to highlight the importance of Information Architecture (IA). We reached out to some pillars of the IA community to ask them for their thoughts on, where information architecture is today, and where it’s going. Their response was so enthusiastic that we will be breaking this into multiple posts.

My thanks to the generosity of Abby Covert, Peter Morville, Jorge Arango, Donna Spencer, Madonnalisa Chan, Dan Klyn, Andy Fitzgerald, Grace Lau, Dan Brown, Andrew Hinton, Lou Rosenfeld, and Boxes and Arrows patron saint, Christina Wodtke. The time and insights they provided to bring this post together are very appreciated.

“IA is all around us and is mostly practiced by people who don’t even know they are doing it.”

– Abby Covert

If you’re unfamiliar with IA, Abby Covert, information architect, teacher, and author of How to Make Sense of Any Mess: Information Architecture for Everybody, has a straightforward description of it:

“Information architecture is the way we arrange the parts of something to make sense as a whole, whether that be arranging screens in a mobile application or arranging various pieces of signage at a baseball stadium. IA involves the careful consideration of the language you use and the structures you enable for users to understand something. So IA is all around us and is mostly practiced by people who don’t even know they are doing it.”

Continue reading Information Architecture Expert Panel – Part One

An Out of the Box Rebranding

by:   |  Posted on

Just before the 2020 new year, we decided it was a good time to refresh the Boxes and Arrows brand identity, a time to start a fresh decade with a fresh logo. And, after a few weeks at the drawing board, we’re liking the results. 


To us, the new, dynamic, and pleasingly symmetrical icon—a box made of arrows—represents the emerging dimensions of information spaces, greater interconnected continuity between people, and an ever-expanding collection of knowledge which we hope to bring to our readers. 

Continue reading An Out of the Box Rebranding