IA Survival Guide @ Euro IA Summit 2009


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IA Survival Guide in a hostile context

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  • Sylvie - thanks so much for calling out what has troubled me for the last 5 years. I now have an authoritative link to point people too and say, 'See, it’s not just the ravings of a frustrated American UXer in Strasbourg'.

    Julien Dorra, you are speaking my mind EXACTLY! Let’s connect!

    Anyone else who feels like Julien and me, let’s connect!
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  • Thanks a lot for this presentation Sylvie.

    By summing your experience as an Information Architect in Paris, France, you really show us something : without a new, common, culture (of work, processes, a common vision...) you can't do new things.

    We really need a real UX design oriented web agency in Paris. There is none IMHO.

    They are all either tech-oriented, purely marketing-oriented or strongly graphic-design-oriented.

    But for that, it's clear we need to gather like-minded people around the new culture of the web.
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IA Survival Guide @ Euro IA Summit 2009

  2. <ul><li>WHAT IS A HOSTILE CONTEXT? </li></ul><ul><li>01 </li></ul><ul><li>HOW TO IMPROVE THE CONTEXT? </li></ul><ul><li>02 </li></ul><ul><li>ADAPT YOUR PRACTICE </li></ul><ul><li>03 </li></ul><ul><li>A EUROPEAN PRACTICE? </li></ul><ul><li>04 </li></ul>
  3. <ul><li>“ The first mission of a revolutionist is to survive ” </li></ul><ul><li>Lenin </li></ul>
  4. <ul><li>IA and, more generally, UCD are not widespread in every European country. In France IA and UX are relatively uncommon. </li></ul>
  5. <ul><li>If you want to change this in the long term, you need time … which means that you have to survive. </li></ul>
  6. <ul><li>WHAT IS A HOSTILE CONTEXT? </li></ul><ul><li>01 </li></ul>
  7. <ul><li>NO ROOM </li></ul>
  8. <ul><li>Some tasks are already performed by people, while other tasks are neither identified nor planned. </li></ul>
  9. <ul><li>For instance , project managers are in charge of creating site maps, wireframes, and detailed specifications… </li></ul>
  10. <ul><li>but not according to a user centred approach. So, there is no user research… </li></ul>
  11. <ul><li>NO TIME </li></ul>
  12. <ul><li>IA working time is limited, because the job is somehow perceived as a kind of luxury , something you can easily live without. </li></ul>
  13. <ul><li>And obviously , it is something that web agencies have successfully lived without for years before you arrived. </li></ul>
  14. <ul><li>For instance, you can eventually be asked to validate a graphic design having not worked on the project before. </li></ul>
  15. <ul><li>NO SHARED KNOWLEDGE </li></ul>
  16. <ul><li>Very few people, if any, know what you’re doing , what value you can add, and when to get you involved. You cannot count on a common culture. </li></ul>
  17. <ul><li>There is no common methodology . For instance, you can be asked to work on a project once the site map and the story board have already been done. </li></ul>
  18. <ul><li>NO PARTNER </li></ul>
  19. <ul><li>How to work with professionals who have never previously collaborated with UX? There is no established working structure you can fall back on. </li></ul>
  20. <ul><li>Usually, nobody is expecting anything from you. You can achieve a deliverable for the client, but the team does not necessarily feel they should use it too. </li></ul>
  21. <ul><li>HOW TO IMPROVE THE CONTEXT? </li></ul><ul><li>02 </li></ul>
  22. <ul><li>There are many ways you can improve the context to work in more comfortable conditions. </li></ul>
  23. <ul><li>MANAGE TIME </li></ul>
  24. MANAGE ROOM AND TIME <ul><li>Focus on user experience : collect everything you can about users’ needs and expectations... You will be the only one doing this. </li></ul>
  25. <ul><li>Focus also on the specific problems that only IA can address, i.e. those related to users, journeys... </li></ul><ul><li>Spend most of your time – if possible all your time – on fixing them. </li></ul>
  26. MANAGE ROOM AND TIME <ul><li>Rely on networks for the rest : books, discussion lists, social networks, best practices and case studies are all of great help. </li></ul>
  27. <ul><li>SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE </li></ul>
  28. MANAGE ROOM AND TIME <ul><li>Explain user centered approach. Help people to understand what you are doing. </li></ul>
  29. <ul><li>Organise formal presentations . </li></ul>
  30. <ul><li>Teach your discipline informally whenever it’s relevant. </li></ul>
  31. <ul><li>Change the company’s methodology to take IA into account. </li></ul>
  32. <ul><li>FIND PARTNERS </li></ul>
  33. <ul><li>The client can be your best friend. </li></ul><ul><li>Meet them as much as possible. </li></ul>
  34. <ul><li>The user is one of your most valuable allies. </li></ul>
  35. <ul><li>The team that you are working with: cooperation is the key to the success. </li></ul>
  36. <ul><li>The network helps by giving you expertise and credibility. </li></ul>
  37. <ul><li>ADAPT YOUR PRACTICE </li></ul><ul><li>03 </li></ul>
  38. <ul><li>Once you improved the context, change the way you work… to be perfectly adapted . </li></ul>
  39. <ul><li>ADAPT DELIVERABLES </li></ul>
  41. <ul><li>Deliverables are supposed to communicate findings . </li></ul><ul><li>If they are not doing this well enough, depending on the context, change them. </li></ul>
  42. <ul><li>For instance, if a deliverable is difficult to handle, it can be replaced by another one . </li></ul>
  43. <ul><li>KEEP QUALITY </li></ul>
  44. <ul><li>Staying professional with limited means is probably the main challenge to face. </li></ul>
  45. <ul><li>Limited budget and time are manageable, zero budget is not. </li></ul>
  46. <ul><li>COLLABORATE </li></ul>
  47. <ul><li>Re-think team cooperation : a hegemony of UX would be as bad as a hegemony of any other profession. </li></ul>
  48. <ul><li>Make space for all professions to create better interfaces and experiences together . </li></ul>
  49. <ul><li>Collaborate with strategic planners: combine consumers’ insights with users’ insights. </li></ul>
  50. <ul><li>Collaborate with art designers: draw wireframes together. </li></ul>
  51. <ul><li>Collaborate with account managers : use the strategy they have already defined for the project. </li></ul>
  52. <ul><li>A EUROPEAN PRACTICE? </li></ul><ul><li>04 </li></ul>
  53. ADAPTATING METHODOLOGY <ul><li>UX was born in the United States . A place with one language, one culture, where pragmatism is king. </li></ul>
  54. ADAPTATING METHODOLOGY <ul><li>What can it become in a place like Europe which has more… </li></ul>
  55. STYLE
  58. <ul><li>THANK YOU </li></ul>Sylvie Daumal Information Architect Duke Razorfish , Paris, France