What Before How: Making a Home for Information Architecture

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The Understanding Group's cofounders spoke on the following at IA Summit 2013

Are you struggling to carve out a place for information architecture in the world of acronym soup? In this talk, longtime IA Dan Klyn and his business partner Bob Royce explore the pros and cons of bucking the trend of “all encompassing UX” to focus our practice on IA.

Through stories and case studies we’ll explore:

-How the lens of IA helps us solve problems beyond UX and collaborate readily with other non-UX disciplines.
-Our experience delivering services both directly to clients and through agencies.
-How we explain IA to people outside our industry and work to justify a larger investment in IA.
-How we go beyond information retrieval and navigation to include the concepts of meaning and place-making in our work.

Since all of the above was accomplished through much trial and error, there will also be plenty of discussion about the failures we’ve encountered along the way.

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What Before How: Making a Home for Information Architecture

  1. 1. WHAT BEFORE HOWMAKING A HOMEFOR INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE By Dan Klyn + Bob Royce from
  2. 2. WHAT I WAS PLANNING TO DO WHEN I GREW UP
  3. 3. SNEAK IN THROUGH THE LIBRARY
  4. 4. WHAT COULD BE BETTER THAN DIGITAL JOYCE?
  5. 5. WHAT COULD BE BETTER THAN ALL MUSIC?
  6. 6. I’VE RUN OUT OF SUPERLATIVES
  7. 7. HUSBAND TO ADRIENNE SINCE 1990 FATHER TO ROBERT SINCE 2000
  8. 8. http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6057/6890280374_dc42046fe8_h.jpg
  9. 9. THE LIBRARIANS V. THE COMPUTER SCIENTISTS
  10. 10. Focused on‣ Organizing‣ Labeling‣ Navigation‣ Structure‣ Not Graphic Design‣ Not Software Programming‣ Not Usability
  11. 11. 2006
  12. 12. 2011
  13. 13. The Understanding Groupis an Information Architecture practice dedicated to making things be good.
  14. 14. WHAT BEFORE HOW: MAKING A HOME FOR IA #WB4HWhy would anybody start an IA consulting practicewhen there is no such thing as aninformation architect?
  15. 15. DUTCH UNCLES AT THE IA SUMMITS: 2009 + 2010
  16. 16. “ THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN INFORMATION ARCHITECT. IA DOES NOT EXIST AS A PROFESSION. AS AN AREA OF INTEREST AND INQUIRY? SURE. AS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB? ABSOLUTELY. BUT ITS NOT A PROFESSION. “ — Jesse James Garrett
  17. 17. “ I THINK YOU SHOULD REALLY HUDDLE TOGETHER AND REFORM YOURSELF INTO A KIND OF UNDERSTANDING BUSINESS. IF YOU TALK ABOUT UNDERSTANDING YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BE BUMPED “ OFF THE SHELF. — Richard Saul Wurman
  18. 18. SO WE DID
  19. 19. 1989Design Quarterly, No. 145
  20. 20. A way of thinking.A whole way of life in whichthe aim is not to make somethinglook goodbut to make it be good.
  21. 21. WHAT BEFORE HOW: MAKING A HOME FOR IA #WB4HWhat is TUGand what do we meanwhen we say what we say?
  22. 22. OntologyParticular meaning. Taxonomy Arrangement of the parts. Choreography Rules for interaction among the parts.
  23. 23. ARCHITECTURE IS NOT DESIGN
  24. 24. Donald Norman
  25. 25. We should change the name to the UX Summit
  26. 26. http://beep.peterboersma.com/2004/11/t-model-big-ia-is-now-ux.html
  27. 27. CODINGBUSINESS SYSTEMSUSER EXPERIENCE VISUAL DESIGN
  28. 28. CODINGBUSINESS SYSTEMSINFORMATION ARCHITECTUREUSER EXPERIENCE VISUAL DESIGN
  29. 29. Dan Klyn points awayfrom bounded sets
  30. 30. Proposes meaning as thecenter of the set.
  31. 31. Andrew Hinton talks about pace layersof information environments
  32. 32. And Three Modes of Information Digital Sem antic Ecological
  33. 33. Business System s Information ArchitectureUser Ex perience
  34. 34. CODINGBUSINESS SYSTEMSINFORMATION ARCHITECTUREUSER EXPERIENCE VISUAL DESIGN
  35. 35. CODINGBUSINESS SYSTEMS Object Models Process Mapping Information ModelINFORMATION ARCHITECTURE Structural Design Personas JourneysUSER EXPERIENCE User Research VISUAL DESIGN
  36. 36. WHAT BEFORE HOW: MAKING A HOME FOR IA #WB4HWho are the peoplebuying the stuff TUG sells andusing the stuff TUG makes?
  37. 37. User ExperienceMarketing Product Innovation IT Agencies
  38. 38. Strategy Planning Building Doing Iterate
  39. 39. InformationSimple ComplexGoals Goals Interaction
  40. 40. Information Complex SystemsSimple ComplexGoals Goals Simple Systems Interaction
  41. 41. MISSED OPPORTUNITY TO UNITE MEANING + STRUCTURE
  42. 42. DANCING WITH AGILE
  43. 43. BALANCE IS THE KEY
  44. 44. WHAT BEFORE HOW: MAKING A HOME FOR IA #WB4HWHEREWhere is TUG headingand what’s next for TUG’s practiceand for information architecture?
  45. 45. PUBLICATIONS
  46. 46. PUBLICATIONS
  47. 47. TEACHING + PRESENTING
  48. 48. SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT ARE LIKE… A THING
  49. 49. “ YOU’RE NOT GOING TO TALK IN TERMS OF WIREFRAMES AND DESIGN OF A PAGE, OR HAVE THE METAPHOR OF A BOOK IN YOUR HEAD. IT’S GOING TO BE DIFFERENT. VERY SOON: I’M TALKING ABOUT A “ COUPLE OF YEARS. — Richard Saul Wurman

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