Tag: ia

"Beyond Findability: IA Practice & Strategy for the New Web" - IA Summit 2010 Workshop

February 12th, 2010 — 4:16am

Beyond Find­abil­ity: IA Prac­tice & Strat­egy for the New Web” the full-day work­shop that debuted at the 2009 IA Sum­mit, is back for 2010.   Fea­tur­ing an expanded lineup that includes Andrew Hin­ton, Matthew Milan, Chris­t­ian Crum­lish, Erin Mal­one, Cindy Chas­tain, and me, the work­shop explores lead­ing edge the­ory and prac­tice to equip expe­ri­ence archi­tects for the chal­lenges of design­ing social expe­ri­ences, the DIY Inter­net, engag­ing busi­ness strate­gi­cally, and more.

Read the full descrip­tion here, and then reg­is­ter here!

Bonus: All work­shop atten­dees will receive a free copy of Social Mania — the social pat­terns design card game unveiled at IDEA09.

Last year’s ren­di­tion was pos­i­tively invig­o­rat­ing, with par­tic­i­pants from experience-based busi­nesses like Zap­pos, and prac­ti­tion­ers from lead­ing firms like Adap­tive Path.  But this one goes to eleven: we hope you’ll join us!

Comment » | Information Architecture, User Experience (UX)

Join Me For 'Beyond Findability' the IA Summit 09 Workshop

February 23rd, 2009 — 5:40am

If you’re keen to help shape the way that the user expe­ri­ences of the future are con­ceived and defined, join Andrew Hin­ton, Matthew Milan, Livia Labate, and yours truly in a full-day work­shop / sem­i­nar titled “Beyond Find­abil­ity: Refram­ing IA Prac­tice & Strat­egy for Tur­bu­lent Times” at the 2009 IA Sum­mit in Mem­phis.
We’ve got a lot of great mate­r­ial to share — and shape — on where this new[ish] dis­ci­pline is headed, from four com­ple­men­tary but dis­tinct pro­fes­sional per­spec­tives (dig­i­tal agency, in-house ser­vices group, man­age­ment, design con­sul­tancy), shared by lead­ing prac­ti­tion­ers.
Here’s a quick descrip­tion:
“Changes are hap­pen­ing fast in tech­nol­ogy, the econ­omy, and even the var­i­ous User Expe­ri­ence pro­fes­sions. In the midst of such tur­bu­lence, con­ven­tional Infor­ma­tion Archi­tec­ture can have trou­ble seem­ing fully rel­e­vant. Some may see it as a com­mod­ity, or a nar­row spe­cialty that has lit­tle to do with the game-changing emer­gence of social media, ubiq­ui­tous & mobile com­put­ing, and the rest.
This full-day work­shop will address such con­cerns with a boundary-pushing foray into IA craft and strat­egy. We’ll show how core IA skills are more rel­e­vant and strate­gi­cally impor­tant than ever, and we’ll explore how we can extend IA to its full poten­tial in 21st cen­tury UX design.“
Read more about Beyond Find­abil­ity here. Reg­is­ter here.
See you in Memphis!

Comment » | Information Architecture, User Experience (UX)

Discount Code for Indi Young's 'Mental Models' Webinar

December 10th, 2008 — 6:04am

Design­ers, prod­uct man­agers, and any­one who aims to cre­ate rel­e­vant and beau­ti­ful expe­ri­ences would be wise to check out Indi Young’s upcom­ing webi­nar, Using Men­tal Mod­els for Tac­tics and Strat­egy, on Decem­ber 11th. Indi lit­er­ally wrote the book on men­tal mod­els for user expe­ri­ence — read it, if you haven’t yet — and this webi­nar is part of the Future Prac­tice series pro­duced by Smart Expe­ri­ence and Rosen­feld Media, so expect good things for your mod­est invest­ment.
Even bet­ter, our friends at Smart Expe­ri­ence and Rosen­feld Media are offer­ing a 25% dis­count on reg­is­tra­tions, which is good for these tough times.
Use this dis­count code when reg­is­ter­ing: LAMANTIAWBNR

Comments Off | Information Architecture, User Experience (UX)

Frameworks Are the Future (Slides From EuroIA 2008)

October 8th, 2008 — 6:28am

In case you couldn’t make it to Ams­ter­dam for EuroIA 2008, or if you were in town but pre­ferred to stay out­side in the warmth of a sunny Sep­tem­ber Sat­ur­day than ven­ture into the mar­velous Tsuchin­ski the­ater, I’ve posted the slides from my talk Frame­works are the Future of Design.

Comment » | Building Blocks, Information Architecture, User Experience (UX)

Blogtalk 2008 slides available

March 3rd, 2008 — 7:12am

My slides from Blogtalk 2008 are avail­able online now: I went through a lot of ideas quickly, so this is a good way to fol­low along at your own pace…
FYI: This ver­sion of the deck includes pre­sen­ters notes — I’ll upload a (larger!) view-only ver­sion once I’m back from hol­i­day in lovely Éire.

Comments Off | Ideas, Networks and Systems, User Experience (UX)

Moving Beyond Reactive IT Strategy With User Experience

May 9th, 2007 — 5:16pm

For those in the enter­prise IA / UX space, The next fron­tier in IT strat­egy: A McK­in­sey Sur­vey cen­tered on the idea that “…IT strat­egy is matur­ing from a reac­tive to a proac­tive stance“is worth a look.
This nicely par­al­lels a point made about the reac­tive mind­set com­mon to IT in many large orga­ni­za­tions, in dis­cus­sion on the IAI mail­ing list last month. Lou Rosenfeld’s post Infor­ma­tion archi­tects on com­mu­ni­cat­ing to IT man­agers, sum­ma­rizes the orig­i­nal dis­cus­sion in the IAI thread, and is worth read­ing as a com­pan­ion piece.
Lou’s sum­mary of infor­ma­tion archi­tec­ture and user expe­ri­ence voices in the enter­prise arena is note­wor­thy for includ­ing many exam­ples of strong cor­re­spon­dence between McKinsey’s under­stand­ing of how IT strat­egy will mature (a tra­di­tional man­age­ment con­sult­ing view), and the col­lected IA / UX view­points on address­ing IT lead­er­ship — typ­i­cal buy­ers for enter­prise any­thing — and inno­va­tion.
Dialogs that show con­ver­gence of under­stand­ing like this serve as pos­i­tive signs for the future. At present, a large set of deeply rooted cul­tural assump­tions (at their best inac­cu­rate, usu­ally reduc­tive, some­times even dam­ag­ing) about the roles of IT, busi­ness, and design com­bine with the his­tor­i­cal lega­cies of cor­po­rate struc­tures to need­lessly limit what’s pos­si­ble for User Expe­ri­ence and IA in the enter­prise land­scape. In prac­ti­cal terms, I’m think­ing of those lim­i­ta­tions as bar­ri­ers to the strat­egy table; con­strain­ing who can talk to who, and about which impor­tant top­ics, such as how to spend money, and where the busi­ness should go.
Con­sid­er­ing the gulf that sep­a­rated UX and IT view­points ten — or even five — years ago, this kind of emerg­ing com­mon under­stand­ing is a good sign that the cul­tural obsta­cles to a holis­tic view of the mod­ern enter­prise are wan­ing. We know that a holis­tic view will rely on deep under­stand­ing of the user expe­ri­ence aspects of busi­ness at all lev­els to sup­port inno­va­tion in prod­ucts and ser­vices. I’m hop­ing the rest of the play­ers come to under­stand this soon.
Another good sign is that CIO’s have won a seat at the strat­egy table, after con­sis­tent effort:
Fur­ther evi­dence of IT’s col­lab­o­ra­tive role in shap­ing busi­ness strat­egy is the fact that so many CIOs now have a seat at the table with senior man­age­ment. They report to the CEO in 44 per­cent of all cases; an addi­tional 42 per­cent report to either the chief oper­at­ing offi­cer or the chief finan­cial offi­cer.
Look­ing ahead, infor­ma­tion archi­tec­ture and user expe­ri­ence view­points and prac­ti­tion­ers should work toward a sim­i­lar growth path. We fill a crit­i­cal and miss­ing strate­gic role that other tra­di­tional view­points are not as well posi­tioned to sup­ply.
Quot­ing McK­in­sey again:
IT strat­egy in most com­pa­nies has not yet reached its full poten­tial, which in our expe­ri­ence involves exploit­ing inno­va­tion to drive con­stant improve­ment in the oper­a­tions of a busi­ness and to give it a real advan­tage over com­peti­tors with new prod­ucts and capa­bil­i­ties. Fewer than two-thirds of the sur­vey respon­dents say that tech­no­log­i­cal inno­va­tion shapes their strat­egy. Only 43 per­cent say they are either very or extremely effec­tive at iden­ti­fy­ing areas where IT can add the most value.
User Expe­ri­ence can and should have a lead­ing voice in set­ting the agenda for inno­va­tion, and shap­ing under­stand­ings of where IT and other groups can add the most value in the enter­prise. To this end, I’ll quote Peter Mer­holz (with apolo­gies for not ask­ing in advance)
”…we’ve reached a point where we’ve max­i­mized effi­ciency until we can’t max­i­mize no more, and that in order to real­ize new top-line value, we need to inno­vate… And right now, inno­va­tions are com­ing from engag­ing with the expe­ri­ences peo­ple want to have and sat­is­fy­ing *that*.“
McK­in­sey isn’t mak­ing the con­nec­tion between strate­gic user expe­ri­ence per­spec­tives and inno­va­tion — at least not yet. That’s most likely a con­se­quence of the fact that man­age­ment con­sult­ing firms base their own ways of think­ing, orga­ni­za­tional mod­els, and prod­uct offer­ings (ser­vices, intel­lec­tual prop­erty, etc.) on address­ing buy­ers who are them­selves deeply entrenched in trad­tional cor­po­rate struc­tures and world­views. And in those worlds, every­thing is far from mis­cel­la­neous, as a glance at the cat­e­gory options avail­able demon­strates; your menu here includes Cor­po­rate Finance, Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy, Mar­ket­ing, Oper­a­tions, Strat­egy…
BTW: if you weren’t con­vinced already, this should demon­strate the value of the $40 IAI annual mem­ber­ship fee, or of sim­ply read­ing Bloug, which is free, over pay­ing for sub­scrip­tions to man­age­ment jour­nals :)

Comment » | Enterprise

Text Clouds of the Democratic Debate

April 28th, 2007 — 1:36pm

Mark Blu­men­thal, of Pollster.com, recently posted a set of text clouds show­ing the words used by each can­di­date in the Demo­c­ra­tic pres­i­den­tial debate Thurs­day night. The clouds were gen­er­ated from tran­scripts of the debate, using Daniel Steinbock’s Tag Crowd tool.
Can­di­dates’ Text Clouds

In the screen­shot of Mark’s post­ing, it’s easy to see this is a great exam­ple of a col­lec­tion of text clouds used for com­par­a­tive visu­al­iza­tion and inter­pre­ta­tion. The goal is to enhance under­stand­ing of the mean­ing and con­tent of the candidate’s over­all con­ver­sa­tions dur­ing the debate, an idea I explored briefly last year.
Just a month ago, in a post that iden­ti­fied text clouds as a new and dis­tinct tag cloud vari­ant, I sug­gested:

text clouds may become a gen­er­ally applied tool for man­ag­ing grow­ing infor­ma­tion over­load by using auto­mated syn­the­sis and sum­ma­riza­tion. In the infor­ma­tion sat­u­rated future (or the infor­ma­tion sat­u­rated present), text clouds are the com­mon exec­u­tive sum­mary on steroids

Sup­port­ing the com­par­i­son and inter­pre­ta­tion of polit­i­cal speeches is an inven­tive, timely, and resource­ful appli­ca­tion that could make text clouds a reg­u­lar part of the new per­sonal and pro­fes­sional toolkit for effec­tively han­dling the tor­rents of infor­ma­tion over­whelm­ing peo­ple in impor­tant sit­u­a­tions like vet­ting polit­i­cal can­di­dates.
I espe­cially like the way this use of text clouds helps neatly side­step the dis­heart­en­ing ubiq­uity of the sound­bite, by aggre­gat­ing, dis­till­ing, and sum­ma­riz­ing all the things the can­di­dates said. I sus­pect few — if any — of the cam­paigns real­ize the poten­tial for text clouds, but they def­i­nitely know the detri­men­tal power of sound­bites:

“It’s a mess,” said an exasperated-sounding Mr. Prince, Mr. Edwards’s deputy cam­paign man­ager. “Debates are impor­tant, but in these big mul­ti­can­di­date races they end up not being an exchange of ideas, but just an exchange of sound bites. They have become a dis­trac­tion.“

From Debates Los­ing a Bit of Lus­ter in a Big Field

The value of a col­lec­tion of sound­bites over an insight­ful dia­log is — apolo­gies for the pun — debat­able. But even if a sim­ple exchange of sound­bites is what the new short­ened for­mats of many debates yields us, text clouds may help derive some value and insight from the results. The com­bined decon­struc­tive and recon­struc­tive approach that text clouds employ should make it pos­si­ble to bal­ance the weight of sin­gle remarks of can­di­dates by plac­ing them in a larger and more use­ful con­text.
His­tory Repeats Itself
In the longer term view of the his­tory of our responses to the prob­lems of infor­ma­tion over­load, the appear­ance of text clouds may mark the emer­gence of a new gen­eral puprose tool for visu­al­iz­ing ever greater quan­ti­ties of infor­ma­tion to sup­port some qual­i­ta­tively ben­e­fi­cial end (like pick­ing a good can­di­date for Pres­i­dent, which we sorely need).
The under­ly­ing pat­tern — a con­sis­tent oscil­la­tion between man­ag­ing effec­tively and inef­fec­tively cop­ing, depend­ing on the bal­ance between infor­ma­tion quan­tity and tool qual­ity — remains the same. Yet there is also value in know­ing the cycles that shape our expe­ri­ence of han­dling the infor­ma­tion cru­cial to mak­ing deci­sions, espe­cially deci­sions as impor­tant as who leads the coun­try.
The NY Times tran­script of the debate is avail­able here.

Comment » | Tag Clouds

Endeca Guided Navigation vs. Facets In Search Experiences

February 26th, 2007 — 5:49pm

A recent ques­tion on the mail­ing list for the Tax­on­omy Com­mu­nity of Prac­tice asked about search ven­dors whose prod­ucts han­dle faceted nav­i­ga­tion, and men­tioned Endeca. Because ven­dor mar­ket­ing dis­torts the mean­ing of accepted terms too often, it’s worth point­ing out that Endeca’s tools dif­fer from faceted nav­i­ga­tion and orga­ni­za­tion sys­tems in a num­ber of key ways. These dif­fer­ences should affect strat­egy and pur­chase deci­sions on the best approach to pro­vid­ing high qual­ity search expe­ri­ences for users.
The Endeca model is based on Guided Nav­i­ga­tion, a prod­uct con­cept that blends ele­ments of user expe­ri­ence, admin­is­tra­tion, func­tion­al­ity, and pos­si­ble infor­ma­tion struc­tures. In prac­tice, guided nav­i­ga­tion feels sim­i­lar to facets, in that sets of results are nar­rowed or fil­tered by suc­ces­sive choices from avail­able attrib­utes (Endeca calls them dimen­sions).
But at heart, Endeca’s approach is dif­fer­ent in key ways.

  • Facets are orthog­o­nal, whereas Endeca’s dimen­sions can overlap.
  • Facets are ubiq­ui­tous, so always apply, whereas Endeca’s dimen­sions can be con­di­tional, some­times apply­ing and some­times not.
  • Facets reflect a fun­da­men­tal char­ac­ter­is­tic or aspect of the pool of items. Endeca’s Dimen­sions may reflect some aspect of the pool of items (pri­mary prop­er­ties), they may be inferred (sec­ondary prop­er­ties), they may be out­side cri­te­ria, etc.
  • The val­ues pos­si­ble for a indi­vid­ual facet are flat and equiv­a­lent. Endeca’s dimen­sions can con­tain var­i­ous kinds of struc­tures (unless I’m mis­taken), and may not be equivalent.

In terms of appli­ca­tion to var­i­ous kinds of busi­ness needs and user expe­ri­ences, facets can offer great power and util­ity for quickly iden­ti­fy­ing and manip­u­lat­ing large num­bers of sim­i­lar or sym­met­ri­cal items, typ­i­cally in nar­rower domains. Endeca’s guided nav­i­ga­tion is well suited to broader domains (though there is still a sin­gle root at the base of the tree), with fuzzier struc­tures than facets.
Oper­a­tively, facets often don’t serve well as a uni­fy­ing solu­tion to the need for pro­vid­ing struc­ture and access to het­ero­ge­neous col­lec­tions, and can encounter scal­ing dif­fi­cul­ties when used for homoge­nous col­lec­tions. Faceted expe­ri­ences can offer gen­uine bidi­rec­tional nav­i­ga­tion for users, mean­ing they work equally well for nav­i­ga­tion paths that expand item sets from a sin­gle item to larger col­lec­tions of sim­i­lar items, because of the sym­me­try built in to faceted sys­tems.
Guided nav­i­ga­tion is bet­ter able to han­dle het­ero­ge­neous col­lec­tions, but is not as pre­cise for iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, does not reflect struc­ture, and requires atten­tion to cor­rectly define (in ways not con­fus­ing / con­flict­ing) and man­age over time. Endeca’s dimen­sions do not offer bidi­rec­tional nav­i­ga­tion by default (because of their struc­tural dif­fer­ences — it is pos­si­ble to cre­ate user expe­ri­ences that sup­port bidi­rec­tional nav­i­ga­tion using Endeca).
In sum, these dif­fer­ences should help explain the pop­u­lar­ity of Endeca in ecom­merce con­texts, where every archi­tec­tural incen­tive (even those that may not align with user goals) to increas­ing the total value of cus­tomer pur­chases is sig­nif­i­cant, and the rel­e­vance of facets to search­ing and infor­ma­tion retrieval expe­ri­ences that sup­port a broader set of user goals within nar­rower infor­ma­tion domains.

1 comment » | User Experience (UX)

Presenting at the 2007 IA Summit in Las Vegas

January 19th, 2007 — 3:25pm

I’m try­ing some­thing new for the 2007 IA sum­mit — a panel! I am one of four pre­sen­ters for a panel titled Lessons from Fail­ure: or How IAs Learn to Stop Wor­ry­ing and Love the Bombs. We have a promis­ing set of speak­ers: Chris­t­ian Crum­lish, Peter Jones, Lorelei Brown and myself.
My por­tion of the panel will focus on how states of mind, cul­tural out­looks, and unspo­ken assump­tions about prob­lems and their proper res­o­lu­tion shape responses to fail­ure — on both small and large scales. Our goal is max­i­mum audi­ence par­tic­i­pa­tion and min­i­mum talk­ing­hea­di­tis, so please don’t be shy about shar­ing exam­ples and join­ing the dis­cus­sion.
Of course, we’re one among many rea­sons to attend. Quite a few things look espe­cially inter­est­ing on this year’s sched­ule, includ­ing sev­eral of the pre-conference ses­sions that touch on rapidly evolv­ing areas of prac­tice such as design­ing for social archi­tec­tures and enter­prise efforts.
Hope to see you in Vegas!

Comment » | Information Architecture

Presenting for the Taxonomy Community of Practice: IA and Taxonomy

December 1st, 2006 — 11:15am

I’m pre­sent­ing for the Tax­on­omy Com­mu­nity of Prac­tice web sem­i­nar today. I’ll be talk­ing about a long-term, enterprise-level strat­egy and design engage­ment for a finan­cial ser­vices client, shar­ing work that com­bines infor­ma­tion archi­tec­ture and tax­on­omy efforts over the past year.
The agenda for the call includes sev­eral other speak­ers; it should be a strong show­case of infor­ma­tion archi­tec­ture and tax­on­omy work from dif­fer­ent set­tings.
If you’d like to lis­ten, some details are below. Reg­is­tra­tion and more infor­ma­tion is avail­able from www.earley.com/events.htm
Date and time: Fri­day, Decem­ber 1st, 2006 — 2:00 to 3:30 PM EDT

Dura­tion: 90 minutes

For­mat: Teleconference

Cost: $50 per attendee

Reg­is­ter for the ses­sion (you will receive dial-in instruc­tions and slides the day before the call)
User Expe­ri­ence design is often thought of as dis­tinct or dif­fer­ent from tax­on­omy design. What are good IA prac­tices and how do they influ­ence tax­on­omy design? In this ses­sion you’ll hear from three expe­ri­enced IA’s who will share spe­cific exam­ples from their orga­ni­za­tions and con­sult­ing projects that will illus­trate prin­ci­ples that you can apply in your tax­on­omy projects.
In this ses­sion, hear about:

  • a user expe­ri­ence design effort that com­bines infor­ma­tion archi­tec­ture and tax­on­omy approaches for a major finan­cial ser­vices client
  • spe­cific expe­ri­ences apply­ing IA with Com­paq and HP and “busi­ness tax­onomies” — tax­onomies that live within strict busi­ness limitations

Seth Ear­ley, Ear­ley & Associates

Joe Laman­tia

Bob Good­man

Andrew Gent, Hewlitt Packard

Comment » | Enterprise, User Experience (UX)

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