UPA Site Redesign

The Usability Professional's Association is currently redesigning their website. The interesting thing is that they have a redesign journal of sorts that documents the process and many of the deliverables. What interests me most is how "usability professionals" are engaging in IA (not a bad thing)...and it underscores for me how little of the information architecture in the world is actually created by information architects.

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Just like so many buildings are created without architects. That's not necessarily a bad thing; vernacular architecture can result in many beautiful things. But when it's more than a few stories, or has to be great, better hire an architect.

Lessons learned...

I found this (from the above link) amusing and insightful:

“The design students we worked with to generate the original mockups of the look of the pages had a background in graphic design, but had no knowledge about usability. Also, these students have been trained to design purely for aesthetic value. Finally, they are accustomed to working purely from inspiration, and not "to spec." Therefore, it was important that we communicated to them the importance of usability. It took several iterations of mockups to get them to produce something that was both attractive and usable. And, whereas thought this would be a valuable learning experience for them, it's quite possible they perceived this as a painful nuisance!”