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NexD Journal has a follow-up article to GK VanPatter's Unidentical Twins that triggered much discussion a few months ago. The follow-up is a 4 way conversation between Bob Goodman, Peter Jones, Eric Reiss and GK VanPatter.
I feel like I should post a witty summary, but it is too long to summarise, covers too much ground and (for me) is somewhat hard to grasp (though much easier than the first article).
So I'll pull out just one tiny part that made me chuckle:
"GK: Perhaps we could each talk a little about what the most significant challenge facing us in practice is today and how we grapple with that challenge?
Eric Reiss: The problems facing our practice? In general, I’d say it’s folks who push their personal agendas rather than pursuing the greater good. And how do I “grapple with that challenge?” Well, I listen, learn…and give them lots of rope…"
I recorded some notes from the UXnet panel on UX disciplines held in New York City last night. Lou Rosenfeld led the discussion and on the panel were Whitney Quesenbery, Marilyn Tremaine, Conor Brady, Mark Hurst, Josh Seiden and James Spahr. The requisite issue of defining UX pervaded the discussion, although many people were also interested in how we might identify and bridge gaps in our understanding of the processes of the many disciplines under the UX umbrella. There was also some interest in identifying what disciplines are not currently included in our UX world that should be.
2004 UX professionals salary survey has interesting data , though since most respondents were from the US, information on other countries is limited.
Tog's initial branding argument for Interaction Architects has touched off a lot of discussion (even a mailing list dedicated to defining the damn thing). So far, it's generated a lot of heat and little light.
However, three more formal responses have been interesting:
Of particular interest to me is the shift to value as the key message(note the lack of the word "design" as Peterme recently discussed). Those who read ia/ regularly may have noticed my own focus on value-centered design, so it's gratifying to see others in more influential positions than myself popularize this view.
Along with a new look comes a new article detailing Jesse's web team model (first shown at the DUX open house- correction - at the AP workshops).
Team models are particularly useful because they show the different skillsets required for a project. While using the "Elements" diagram to explain that user experience works at a deeper level than pretty pictures is fine, it requires a lot of effort for business folks to absorb the staffing implications (or RFP implications). Jesse's team model breaks it down into chunks that are easier to relate to team requirements.
Well, over on Beth Mazur's IDblog Dirk Knemeyer suggests that information design should assume a director role over all the other disciplines in a project and that IA isn't a discipline, but a tactical practice. Hope he wore asbestos undies ;-)
Seriously, I'm not sure that one can argue for ID, IA, or interaction design as the 'director' without also making the case for the other two disciplines. Experience Architecture or Design seems a better fit for said director role. I've said more to that effect in the comments on Beth's blog.
What's UX Cross Training you say? It's simple: Often the best place to learn about user experience isn't at DUX or CHI or the IA Summit - it's through other disciplines (72kb gif).
This week, I've really enjoyed learning from industrial designers. Take some time in the workshops section of the Design and Emotion Society, particularly the furniture section (requires Flash). One of the main contributors to the society, Pieter Desmet has some great stuff too (with some frustrating broken links, but I've emailed a request to fix them).
Lessons Learned Now it's all well and good to pursue becoming a T-shaped person, but driving improvements to practice should be part of our cross training efforts. To that end, here's my top 3 take aways:
Jeff Lash reviews Jesse James Garrett's new book, "The Elements of User Experience" in Boxes and Arrows. The book can be ordered from Amazon through Jesse's book site.
Peter Morville calls for a unified front in the UX community to take on the Enemies of Usability in his latest Semantics column.
Christina posted a wonderful essay titled "Leaving the Autoroute" on B&A on the importance of being T-shaped -- having the knowledge and understanding a generalist in your industry would have and the wisdom and experience of being a specialist in your particular discipline (or perhaps within an area of your discipline). I couldn't agree more that this is what makes a thoughtful team member and producer on a project.
User-centred design, user interface design, web design, HCI and usability list started by William Hudson of CHI-WEB. Subscription info. and archives here.
The table of contents is available for the Information Architecture issue of the Journal of the American Society for Information Science & Technology (JASIST). Full text is available to members who have opted for electronic access only.
In a new issue of Digital Web Magazine and a brand new column entitled IAnything Goes, Jeff Lash takes an in-depth look at just what is the big deal with IA: what it is, why it's needed, who should do it, and how it came about. The Age of Information Architecture. Also in this issue David Wertheimer writes about going Beyond the IA Guy: Defining information architecture in his Wide Open column.
There's a rumor that dan wrote it, but I'm not sure which dan that exactly is. but I'll guess this Dan...if I'm wrong, let me know in the comments.
With the overwhelming quantity and demand for information, organizations are starting to think about the nature of their business's institutional knowledge, content and information and its increased burden on today's organization to find an effective means of collection and distribution. To best meet this need, information architecture helps to organize, prioritize and manage the generation, capture and distribution of information. This white paper addresses the ten most critical questions about information architecture in respect to its value in today's evolving business environment.
Lately I've been interested in the connection between information architecture and urban planning, city culture and design, and related areas. Not the connection between IA and (traditional) architecture, but city structures and urban development. (“Information architecture is to the Web what urban planning is to cities.”) I'm obviously not the first one to make this connection, what with things like How Buildings Learn and A Pattern Language popping up on mailing lists and IA book surveys. I recently came across a handful of new (to me) links and thought I'd share:
New to me is this IBM developerWorks article "Information architecture concepts: Misconceptions expained" by Thomas Myer which aims at educating web developers about IA's and their role in the development of team-designed web sites.
An information architect is a vital member of a Web development team, playing a critical role in how content is organized on a Web site. This article seeks to clear up some of the misconceptions about information architecture and help define the role an information architect plays in Web site development.
Thanks, Digital Web
The AIGA Design Forum has a few articles on Information Design by Eric Spiekermann, Terry Irwin and Nigel Holmes. Hopefully some discussion will follow on the forum.