In my previous columns, I’ve framed my discussions around the practice of information architecture. To recap, the DSIA Research Initiative—of which I am the curator—defines the practice of information architecture as “the effort of organizing and relating information in a way that simplifies how people navigate and use content on the Web.” While the practice of information architecture can surely extend beyond the Web and its content, this IA practice definition eschews theoretical language to resonate with businesses looking for concrete Web solutions and practitioners who want to make a living off something tangible.
In the end, business clients don’t pay practitioners to practice information architecture; they pay professionals to produce IA work products that help them to meet their business objectives. So, of the many professional interests that come together to create a digital experience, what work products make the practice of information architecture unique? Read More
UX professionals often find it difficult to demonstrate the value of User Experience to enterprise product teams, especially when companies or organizations lack UX maturity. Perhaps you’ve found yourself outnumbered on teams of solution-focused developers and their like-minded peers, feeling as though no one understands your perspective. You might have been the recipient of a dismissive arm wave. Maybe someone has told you that a product or a feature does not require UX oversight—even though it does. Perhaps stakeholders have told you that they already know what users want or there isn’t enough time to address a product workflow that could satisfy a core user need.
When you meet resistance from teammates and stakeholders, do you turn tail and slink away, then allow a product to go to market without its receiving the appropriate level of UX attention? Hopefully not! Some battles are worth fighting—as uncomfortable as they might be. As I described in “Demonstrating the Value of User Experience to Enterprise Product Teams, Part 2,” responding tactfully to caustic feedback from teammates is a challenging skill to master. It requires empathy, a trait that UX professionals must often draw upon in relating to the people who use our products. It is just as important to demonstrate empathy for our teammates, who are under their own pressures and must often meet challenging deadlines. Read More
Has your boss or a client ever asked you to review a user interface for a Web or desktop application? Perhaps the request went something like this: Can you just look over these new screens for us? Oh, and can you check the error messages, too? It won’t take long! And, by the way, we ship next month. Whether you are an interaction designer, usability professional, technical communicator, quality assurance engineer, or developer, reviewing a user interface typically means identifying
usability problems related to the layout, logical flow, and structure of the interface and inconsistencies in the design
non-compliance with standards
ambiguous wording in labels, dialog boxes, error messages, and onscreen user assistance