Information Architecture (IA)

Enterprise IA Roadmap from Lou Rosenfeld

Lou Rosenfeld shares some thoughts from his current Enterprise Information Architecture seminars with his EIA Roadmap - a diagram showing the progression of IA within the enterprise. As well as laying out a course for pursuing IA within an organization, it acts as an interesting measure of capability and maturity of IA within the organization.

Speaking of EIA, I've been thinking about the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) that measures competence in software development. When there finally is a central UX advocacy organization, it would be interesting to see what kind of UXCMM would be possible. There is already the Usability Maturity Model but that lacks integration across UX disciplines (IA, ID, etc.) If you're interested, here's more details on the UM model. [34 pg pdf]

AIfIA Tools section launches!

Wow! Erin Malone throws down and gets the AIfIA tools initiative rolling with a great collection of tools that can be used in everyday practice. Thanks Erin and all who worked on this!

Document templates, process map posters and other tools to help you in your practice. The documents, which have been donated by various people in the organization, have been found to be useful at one time or another. Items can be used in combination or alone as needed.

If you have templates and documents that you would like to share with AIfIA and other members of the community, contact iatools@aifia.org. A Tools initiative volunteer will work with you to "cleanse" your submission(s) of proprietary logos and language and add it to this page.

Information Architecture for Designers book site

The book site has been launched for Peter Van Dijck's Information Architecture for Designers: Structuring Websites for Business Success (link to pre-order from Amazon), complete with table of contents, sample chapter, and templates for producing IA deliverables. Congratulations, Peter.

keeping igloos off the beaches...

"Information architects are keeping igloos off the beaches [MS Word .doc link] by working on project teams to build the most appropriate site for a given task, balancing business goals against the needs and desires of users."

Laurie Kalmanson, the founder of Request Marketing

What being user-centered means for UX professional groups...

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:

  • Lou Rosenfeld discusses how defining the damn thing is a waste of time. (Not) Defining the damn thing - Discussions of how we should label ourselves and define our work are like flu epidemics. They break out from time to time, follow a fairly predictable course, and often make us want to barf. [Boxes and Arrows] Update: Lou dropped a note to let us know that he wrote this article before Tog's article was posted. Still very applicable.
  • Mark Hurst thinks that usability professionals should disappear...that a good UX professional is invisible like a good interface - we just facilitate things. While the point that the whole defining the damn thing discussion is narcissistic and not user centered at all, the notion of a disappearing act seems naive - unseen functions become re-engineered functions.
  • Finally, and most interesting, is Beth Mazur's notion that the key need is not a new dedicated specialist organization (as Tog is proposing), but an umbrella organization to evangelize user experience with executives, analysts, government, and media. Her nominee: spin off AIGA-ED from AIGA.
    I completely agree - the Interaction Architecture Association is all well and good, as is a new Information Design professional group, if some people have their way. But they don't address the real reasons the UX disciplines are seen as tactical. It's not a branding problem. It's an understanding problem...and largely for UX professionals not understanding business, and not speaking to business on its own terms.
    An umbrella organization can address executives and other decision makers and influencers with language and messages tailored to those audiences, and educate practitioners about how to do the same. That's being user-centered, instead of navel-gazing terminology debates. That's something to get excited about. I hope it happens soon.
Cognitive Psychology & IA: From Theory to Practice

Cognitive Psychology & IA: From Theory to Practice - What do cognitive psychology and information architecture have in common? Actually there is a good deal of common ground between the two disciplines. Certainly, having a background in cognitive psychology supports the practice of information architecture, and it is precisely those interconnections and support that will be explored. [Boxes and Arrows]

IA Summit 2004: Save the date...

FYI: Just noticed that the ASIST site mentioned ...

Information Architecture, February 28-29, 2004, Austin, TX

When a site comes up we'll put a link here, however I think saving the date helps folks plan their budgets for conferences next year.

International IA

Peter Morville tackles the biggest growth area for IA - not a new technology platform, but IA practice outside the USA.

"Now is the time to actively work on building these international relationships. IA in the US has reached a plateau. We enjoyed major investment and rapid learning in the 1990s. We developed core concepts and methodology, and we experienced the trials and tribulations of interdisciplinary collaboration. As the economy revives, we're positioned to invest real energy in cross-cultural IA."

While I'm not sure about the plateau in the States, I agree that international IA is an exciting area to watch.

Users, Content, and Context over at Builder.com

I read Use a compass to implement taxonomy during Web development with some sense of deja vu since it appropriates the Users, Content, Context model of information architecture first defined by Argus. Among other places, the model also appears in the latest edition of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, and in diagrams I've done with Lou Rosenfeld.

While I may grumble about copyright violation, it's good to see the model reach a wider audience...

AIfIA Translation Project Launch.

Today AIfIA launched it's Translation Project. There are quite a few great resources there that have been translated and I'm sure much more to come. From the press release:

The Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture (AIfIA) Translation Project is translating information architecture (IA) resources and articles to and from eight languages. Today, the initiative provides resources in Danish, Dutch, French, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish on the AIfIA website.

Read the press release.

Understanding information taxonomy helps build better apps

Builder.com article examines basic taxonomy overview.

I'm particularly interested in seeing how IA subjects like this are presented to a wider audience of non-IA specialists. I wonder if a 2 page summary dumbs things down too much, or if it offers a way for interested readers to be introduced to a subject and find resources to learn more.

AIfIA Job Board

Looking for a job? The Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture will soon be announcing the launch of its new Job Board. Here's a description:

The AIfIA Job Board serves as a clearinghouse for position postings relating to information architecture and more broadly to information design, interaction design, and HCI.

The Job Board is a service for AIfIA members. AIfIA is the only professional organization solely dedicated to information architecture professionals and our membership serves as a qualified pool of candidates in this emerging field.

Kudos to the AIfIA folks who worked on this.

XML Presentation Syntax for OWL is released

From the World Wide Web Consortium home page:

The Web Ontology Working
Group has released XML Presentation Syntax for the OWL Web Ontology Language (OWL) as a W3C Note. The Note suggests one possible XML presentation syntax and includes XML schemas for OWL Lite, OWL DL, and OWL Full.

• Read the XML Presentation Syntax note

• Find out more about Web ontologies

Jesse James Garrett in Conversation

For the next couple weeks, our favorite IA named after an outlaw will be a guest on the WELL, discussing the Elements of User Experience and other tasty things.

The conversation is well worth checking out (though it's one long page that takes some investment). You can also participate: send questions by emailing the discussion hosts.

ASIS&T IA Summit 2003 Presentations

ASIS&T has posted all of the presentations from the Information Architecture "Making Connections" Summit in Portland, OR.

Thanks to Gary Price, who I got to meet at SLA.

Goodies From Boxes and Arrows

Boxes and Arrows publishes two great features this week. First, Dan Brown with Special Deliverables #8 - Deliverables and Methods.

Next we have one I found particularly interesting and useful, Remote Online Usability Testing: Why, How, and When to Use It by Dabney Gough and Holly Phillips.

As always great stuff from B&A.

Notes from 2 by Two conference

Dirk Kneymeyer shares his notes from the invite-only 2 by Two conference at the IIT Institute of Design. Lots of bright people talking about the future of design.

O'Reilly interviews Krug and Rosenfeld

Even if you've read separate interviews with Lou Rosenfeld and Steve Krug, and even if you've read the other joint interviews they've done, this interview at O'Reilly is worth reading, if only for Steve Krug's great analogies:


I sometimes think the best analog for my job is a "show doctor"--the person who comes in while a Broadway show is still in out-of-town tryouts, watches the whole thing, and says, "I think it would work much better if you moved the cowgirl dance number to the start of the second act, and killed the love ballad altogether."

But, humor aside, Lou and Steve both have some good things to say, and it's not just a sales pitch for their seminars or a regurgitation of past interviews.

More info:

Data Management meets Unstructured Information

Just came back from a conference on data management(Wilshire Metadata/DAMA International 2003 Conference. A recurring topic that surfaced about data management was the relevance of their work in relation to unstructured information. A reality check for everyone was that most corporate information actually existed in semi-structured of unstructured information and not in databases. From this thought, I was directed to DM Review and in particular this article. Digging Into the Web: XML, Meta Data and Other Paths to Unstructured Data - By Robert Blumberg and Shaku Atre. I definitely see an opportunity between IA(metadata/ux) type folks cross-pollinating with data modelers and data managers. It will be interesting to see and I look forward to hearing more from here. Thoughts?

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