Today’s talk in 3 parts
How do we take context into account when designing experiences that take place in physical and digital spaces? How does context inform our practice and day to day culture? Some aspirational crap you can mock me for at a bar later
Who am I? Who are
we? We can’t agree on a deﬁnition of what we do, though our job is often to deﬁne and label other domains. We can’t diﬀerentiate ourselves from interaction designers or usability professionals without utterly confusing the lay person. As a community, we debate these things amongst ourselves semi-annually. Why? We’re willing to accept the oddest of jobs dealing with people and how they use technology to manipulate and retrieve information. It doesn’t give us ﬁrm ground to stand on.
It Leaves Us Feeling Defensive
“ Go for quick learning generalists over ingrained specialists. We’ll “never hire someone who’s an information architect. It’s just too overly speciﬁc. With a small team like ours, it doesn’t make sense to hire people with such a narrowly deﬁned skill-set. 1 March 2006 ” ”
Let me suggest we are
Bricoleurs It has come to mean one who works with his hands, usually in devious or quot;craftyquot; ways when compared to the true craftsman, whom Levi-Strauss equates with the Engineer. The Bricoleur is adept at many tasks and at putting preexisting things together in new ways. The Engineer deals with projects in their entirety, taking into account the availability of materials and tools required. The Bricoleur approximates the mind of quot;the savage mindquot; and the Engineer approximates the scientiﬁc mind. Levi-Strauss says that the universe of the Bricoleur is closed, and he is often forced to make do with whatever is at hand, whereas the universe of the Engineer is open in that he is able to create new tools and materials.
So when I say IA,
you mean... So when we say Information Architect, Fried says designer, and we both mean bricoleurs. The diﬀerence is the context in which we perform our work, but the result is the same: We derive intuitive, learnable, eﬃcient patterns of human activity for addressing the problems of chaotic, analog life.
Special Thanks To The IDEA
Conference volunteers and organizers, especially Jorge Arango and Russ Unger. My team: Mark Baldino, Ben Ihnchak, Jef Lear My Friends & Clients: Paul D’Alessandro, Chris Cooper, Joseph Wanka, Jeﬀ Laubach, Keith Daniels, Michael Chanover, Gillian Jetson, Janna Devylder, Devin Henkel, Brendan Gramer, Brian Maggi My family: Lora Kovac and Sophia Kunesh