Archive for October, 2006
Just below these words are the slides from my Oz-IA talk called ‘Lakoff’s Women, Fire & Dangerous Things: What every IA should know’ (I don’t think the slides appear in my feed – you have to visit my site).
I think this was the best presentation I have ever given. This is a quite hard topic and somehow it ended up quite hilarious – no doubt helped by Alex and his ‘boobies’ comments.
My husband asked me a funny question this afternoon:
“Do you need the wireless. I might have to give the box back to (our friend who loaned it to us)”
Aaaaghhh. How do I manage without the wireless? I can’t watch TV and write at the same time, check email while I do dinner or read feeds while my daughter uses the computer in the office.
Luckily our friend doesn’t need it back…I think I owe him one.
I’ve been using Quickflix for a while – one of Australia’s answers to Netflix and have had a very odd experience.
Every time they send me an email saying “We’ve just sent you xxxx” I think “Oh, cool, how exciting – I wanted to watch that”.
Now of course I wanted to watch it – they chose it from my queue of things I said I wanted to watch. But despite this being completely logical, I am excited every time I learn what is coming next.
This may be related to the paradox of choice – standing in the video store, making a decision from all the movies and wondering whether it is a dud. Somehow the element of surprise is quite different to this.
With all the discussion about information architects not being interested in anything bigger than sitemaps & wireframes, I’d like to remind you of a fabulous conference organised by the Information Architecture Institute: IDEA2006: A conference on designing complex information spaces of all kinds
This conference has an amazing speaker line up and incredible topics. I so, so, so wish I could go but have been a-conferencing too much already this year and can’t hop on a plane to Seattle.
Is information architecture about site maps & wireframes. No!
A couple of things have been bothering me recently (and I’ve been working in the garden with time to mull them over):
- At Oz-IA last weekend a number of people implied employers associate IA with site maps (hierarchies) and wireframes
- Oz-IA had an entire session about sitemapping in which no-one really knew what was being discussed
- IA consultancies in Australia pitch nothing but card sorting, site maps and wireframes and never solving information challenges
- Adam Greenfield thinks “I don’t believe that information architects are interested in taking on these particular challenges” (challenges of mobile & ubiquitous information)
- Thomas avoids the IA label
This is a real problem, and it is completely within our power to manage and solve. IA is not about hierarchies, card sorting, sitemaps and wireframes. It is about solving information problems, designing information solutions and thinking about how information embeds itself within people’s lives. Sure, you may need to deliver something to a client at the end of the thinking process, but it does not need to, and maybe should not, be a hierarchical site map and wireframe stack.
So next time someone asks you to produce sitemaps and wireframes, say no! Instead say “I will help you think about the information challenge, solutions to solve it, information structures and how to deliver information to people. At the end, I will document the solution in detail”. If the end result happens to be a simple hierarchy and website page layout, that’s fine. But pitch IA in the right place, not the wrong place.
I spent a large amount of time earlier this week and today looking after my social networks. I set up Yahoo MyWeb, maintained my webconnections, connected to friends on flickr (& finally added some photos – more to come) and connected to new people on LinkedIn.
I apologise to my friends who were hit more than once today. As someone/s (I think Kelly & Derek) said at Web Directions – I just want to be one person. Don’t make me do this over and over again.
Feeding and caring for online social networks is harder than offline ones…
OZ-IA was, predictably, terrific. I met lots of interesting people and caught up with some I hadn’t seen for a while. There was a good mix of presentations – some philosophical, some practical and some hands on.
I particularly liked the way the conference was structured. The first day was a single stream with a mix of conceptual & practical talks. The second day had 2 streams with case-study material in the morning, mini-workshops in the afternoon and an open session last.
I talked about George Lakoff’s ‘Women, Fire & Dangerous Things‘. I had talked about this at the IA Summit this year and hated my presentation. I completely rewrote it for OZ-IA and this time was very happy with it – there was much laughter, which is good for a dry topic in the after-lunch slot. It has been recorded so I’ll blog it when it is ready.
I think there were around 100 people – that’s a great turn-out for a first IA conference, on a weekend, and on a grand final weekend. I’m impressed & think we can do bigger & better things next year.
I only have a small list of things to follow up: