Lovely Quote from Dan Saffer’s Twitter

A beautiful design always contains some unexpected combination that shocks us with its appropriateness. W. Brian Arthurless than a minute ago via Tweetie for Mac

09. September 2010 by dan
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I’m Running For A Seat On The IA Institute Board

Here is my position statement. If you’re a member of the IAI you should have received your ballot via email last night or this morning.


Position Statement: IA and IAI Could Be Much Muchier

I’ve spent the first third of my career (depending on how you do the math) as an information architect enjoying the benefits of membership in the Institute, having inherited a fertile field within which to grow and develop my practice and point of view.

As I look ahead to the next third, and to the third which follows, I’m confident that people like me can continue to do interesting and rewarding work that’s deeply informed by and tantamount to information architecture. That being said, I have a number of concerns about the current disposition of the field of IA. I believe that many clients, analysts, business leaders and even other “web professionals” have lost the thread when it comes to IA. I believe that IA began as and can continue to be something “much muchier” than what it is widely understood to be and mean today. I’m very fortunate to have an “iSchool” teaching gig that provides me with some influence to shape individual practitioners’ perceptions of what IA is, where it came from, and where it’s going. And I’m currently developing the plans for an IA archive, symposium and exhibition at the University of Michigan School of Information, all of which is predicated on the idea that it’s good and important to raise the profile of IA and enhance its influence in academia and beyond.

Boldly, I will confide to you the voters that I desire additional influence.

I aspire to be instrumental in the leadership, policy-making and programming of the IAI for the next two years, and to steward this responsibility in ways that bring meaningful and enduring benefit to the field of IA and to practicing and prospective information architects. And while I believe that the IAI’s forums and events ought to be compelling enough to draw interest and attendance from related disciplines and acronyms, I think a(nother) seat on this board that’s always asking “what’s in this for information architects” and “how does this advance the profession of information architecture” can make a significant difference in how the Institute presents itself, serves members and positions its events and annual conference. Mr. Unger and the departing boardmembers have made operational improvements and have laid or strengthened the foundations for a number of important initiatives. I believe that the time is ripe (given the unprecedented number of open seats) for bold action to leverage this excellent foundation and then tighten the focus of the IAI to be… wait for it: Information Architecture. Bridges to related disciplines are good, but I have to admit that JJG’s remark in Memphis still stings me:

“the IAs are so busy declaring peace that they don’t even realize that they’ve already lost the war.”

This doubling-down on IA for IA’s sake is something that I would seek to make happen via respectful discussion and democratic voting processes among the members of the board. If the majority of the board is content to keep the rudder approximately where it’s been for the previous term with regard to the IA-centricity and posture of the Institute, I would be content to act as respectful troublemaker, requiring the majority to at least see and possibly understand what an IA-centric way forward would look like when it’s poised to move in a different direction.

Full disclosure: if you elect me to this board and the other directors collude with me to advance this Much Muchier IA platform, I think we should expect that the Institute will lose some members who’re put off by a bolder IA-centricity and posture on the part of the IAI.

I’m OK with this.

I sincerely appreciate being nominated to and being considered for election to the IAI board.

Dan Klyn

09. September 2010 by dan
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Shari Thurow on SEO and IA

Building an information architecture and navigation system based on keyword research is crazy

24. August 2010 by dan
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Two Recent Publications, And An Upcoming Panel

A few weeks ago I was honored by a request from beloved former colleagues at Q LTD to write something for their newsletter and blog – the piece I wrote is called Wildly Appropriate and it contains the story of where I got the name for my blog (spoiler: it’s a castoff from a naming session with the Q crew).

I was similarly honored by a request from Thom Haller to write a little thing for the ASIS&T Bulletin special Information Architecture issue. You can read that piece on the ASIS&T site – it’s titled A Posting for a Job That Does Not Exist, based on a true story! The whole issue is packed with good stuff, including a piece about the relationship of IA research and IA practice by Andrea Resmini and Keith Instone.

Last but not least, this week saw the announcement of an ambitious (not to mention huge) panel at IDEA2010 that I’ve had the good fortune to help create. The title of the panel is (How Is This All) Going To Work, and the lineup of speakers is smashing. Philly. Tons of brilliant people. Autumn. How can this not be amazing?

19. August 2010 by dan
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Ignite Your UX Sales Pitch (from IUE2010)

Due to some choreographical issues, I was unable to attend the “Ignite Your UX Sales Pitch” session at IUE2010. The event organizers were very kind to show my slides in my absence – here they are in a PDF format if you’re curious to see what I came up with. Oh, and the original session description these slides were prepared for is as follows:

Ignite Your Sales Pitch!

A common refrain in the UX world is “But no one really *believes* in UX!” So how do you recruit believers? Or at least convince them to give you a chance to prove the value of UX?

Presenters are invited to share a 5-minute version of their UX sales pitch in a format using 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds.

03. August 2010 by dan
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Closing Keynote at IUE2010: The Nature of Information Architecture

Thank-you to everyone who stuck around for the closing keynote at Internet User Experience 2010 – it was an honor and real pleasure to share some of the work that I’ve been doing over the past year to such a warm and familiar audience.

Wurman's sand castles. @danklyn #iue2010  on Twitpic

You can download my slides here: click to access

Update: a newer, hopefully improved version of this talk is available here.

02. August 2010 by dan
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Stephen Jay Gould on Autism and Understanding

We often learn most about an average by understanding the reason for an extreme deviation.

Read Gould’s essay here

16. May 2010 by dan
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Blackbird Pie – Embedding Tweets With Style


05. May 2010 by dan
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Job Description: Information Architect (At An “Integrated” Agency)

A friend of mine who works in a traditional advertising and PR agency that’s evolving toward “integration” asked me about job descriptions for information architects – he was looking for a way to talk about a position called “IA” or “digital planner” that would make sense to the principals at his firm. I didn’t come up with anything good after Googling for two minutes so I decided to roll my own:

The role of the information architect is to help discover and articulate the “why” of the project, and to work directly with the client and horizontally across vertically-oriented disciplines within the agency to ensure consistency and continuity of meaning in the processes, products and success metrics the team uses, creates and measures its outcomes with.

In the early stages of the project, the information architect assists in the formulation of strategy, and uses simple pictures and complex linguistic structures to assist the team and the client in explaining and understanding the nature of the experiences that consumers will have with the client’s brand, products and collateral.

In the middle stages of the project, the information architect assists the project team in identifying the “how” of the project, and in prioritizing, selecting and arraying specific tactics in ways that protect the continuity, consistency and purposefulness of the resulting user experiences.

During the implementation stage of the project, the information architect listens to and collaborates with the people who build, test and deploy the solution in order to capitalize on the unique insights which emerge during implementation, maximizing opportunities to enhance the solution as it’s being built.

Once a solution is deployed, the information architect assists in the measurement of user experience and in the collection of insights to improve the performance and maintainability of the solution.

How’d I do?

22. April 2010 by dan
Categories: Information Architecture Design, Information Architecture Strategy, Teaching Information Architecture | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Before We Resume Our Series

Before I finish my analysis of what JJG said at last year”s Information Architecture Summit, I”d like to interject with a ponderous bit of this-year”s

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Summit attendee feedback on the question “how to improve the IA Summit”:

Focus on creating a vision for the profession

This feedback was written on a post-it note. And then it became a burnt offering. It”s a harbinger.

18. April 2010 by dan
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