The good, the bad, and the ugly: A language of critique for information architecture

I always love some deep thinking on information architecture. It’s not that often I encounter it.

“IA is more than wireframes. But we’re confined by the mindset that thinks IA is a box to check off on a project plan. If you find this a problem, you’ll want a way to change the discourse. A language of critique is going to help you become a better, more influential UX professional. We can all use that.”

Stacy Surla a.k.a. /stacysurla | @stacysurla ~ Fritillaria

A UX legend on the much-rumored death of the design firm

One also needs a healthy dosis of faith.

“The salient characteristic of design in the 21st century is that we need one whole hell of a lot of it. We need designers on the inside, designers on the outside, designers at inception, designers during development, and designers after release three-point-oh. But for a large, and growing, cohort of businesses, the independence of the external design consultancy is exactly what they need to see their future clearly and march purposely toward it.”

Alan Cooper a.k.a. /alan-cooper | @MrAlanCooper ~ FastCo design

Reclaiming social: Content strategy for social media

Social media definitely needs a content strategy, an omnichannel one.

“If the web industry had a Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, social platforms would be at the very top—the least essential thing. No one ever visited a website and said, “Well, I was not able to register, but they had a really nice blog and quite an impressive Instagram feed!” But social has its place—and it is tied to so much of the work we already do. Whether you are working to increase conversions, looking for an additional source of user research, or want to enforce a consistent brand, social media should be part of your toolbox.”

Ida Jackson a.k.a. /idajackson | @virrvarr & Ida Aalen a.k.a. /idaaa | @idaaa~ A List Apart

Stepping up: UX in the enterprise

Enterprise UX or UX in the enterprise. Two perspectives to closely take on.

“The primary challenges with UX result directly from the enterprise’s need for flexibility and scale. While most enterprise projects are large and complex, the actual number of design professionals needed to be effective is small relative to the overall staff. Also, the projects themselves fluctuate in volume and type of activity throughout the project lifecycle.”

Anton Baturan a.k.a. @AntonijeBaturan ~ User Experience

UX strategy: Fad or new world order?

Whenever something gets real, people start to ask for ‘strategy’. Without any vision. Where are the UX (design) visionaries?

“A big part of this change is a growing awareness of design outside of our field, partially due to the design profession’s efforts to educate others. Only 10 years ago a business magazine called to interview me about these strange positions we were hiring for that required having a deep sense of empathy and an ability to collaborate with others to design innovative solutions. That same magazine now has a regular design feature. It’s my belief that coverage in popular media, including books, articles, and blog posts highlighting what designers really do and how that adds value, has significantly helped the profession grow.”

Jon Innes a.k.a. /innesjon | @innes_jon ~ UX Magazine

Towards a definition of serendipity in information behaviour

Finding something unexpected and very relevant is a moment of wow!

“Serendipitous or accidental discovery of information has often been neglected in information behaviour models, which tend to focus on information seeking, a more goal-directed behaviour. (…) By including serendipity in information behaviour models, the frameworks arrived at should help further research in this area. A working definition of serendipity in information behaviour is a starting point for other researchers to investigate related questions in the area.”

Naresh Kumar Agarwal ~ Information Research Vol. 20.3

The design firm is (walking) dead, but design could’t be more alive

Design is finding new territories to prosper. The design firm losts its monopoly.

“I share the belief that design thinking needs to be ingrained in every business we deal with as human beings. Next time you walk around your neighborhood, just take a moment to notice the small service stores, shops and restaurants you depend on to live your daily life. Most of them are not benefiting from service design. Most of them desperately need it.”

Tenny Pinheiro a.k.a. /tennydesign | @TennyDesign ~ Core77

Small CS: A shoestring approach to content strategy

Yes, you can start small, very small. With a strategy for your nano-content.

“There are hundreds of things that you can do with your website if you break things down. Those big examples – NPR, Boston Globe, Marriott – these are awesome examples for understanding the complexity in content strategy. They’re fantastic for seeing how big things can get.But we can make things smaller as well. And, I want to be really clear—I know somebody that works with Marriott. They have the same internal issues that any small business does. Everybody has some kind of content issue that makes it hard to get stuff done. We all have that. The big companies, the small companies. Large universities, small universities. Non-profit, for profit.”

Cory Vilhauer a.k.a. /mrvilhauer | @mrvilhauer ~ Eating Elephant

Timeless advice for becoming a player in the field of UX

Read, read, read. Think, think, think. Practice, practice, practice. Start all over.

“My story: I didn’t study UX. User experience wasn’t even close to a common term when I went to school, or college. I’m forty. I studied communication science. Turns out that was actually a pretty good foundation for what I do. Not primarily in the sense of giving me better tools and making me a better UX:er, but in the sense of giving me the terminology to better describe the usefulness of what I do and how it fits into the big picture of organizations.”

Per Axbom a.k.a. /axbom | @axbom ~ axbom

Customer experience architecture

How about information architecture connected to experience architecture.

“Service providers are continually reshaping their offering in response to changing customer needs and demands. As customer expectations change, businesses need to rethink the experiences they deliver. Meeting new demands does not only require delivery of the right propositions – it also requires developing broader capabilities around the needs of people, across the entire ecosystem.”

Melvin Brand Flu a.k.a. /brandflu | @MelvinBF ~ Livework Studio

UX generalists or specialists?

If information architects, interaction designers and user researchers are UX specialists, what’s a UX designer?

“I might be the ideal person to answer this question. Over the last 15 years, I’ve had the unusual experience of starting out as a UX design generalist, becoming a user research specialist, and again becoming a UX design generalist. In this column, I’ll discuss the advantages and disadvantages of generalization and specialization for UX professionals and the companies that hire them.”

(Jim Ross a.k.a. @anotheruxguy ~ UXmatters)

What is meant by UX? Analyzing usability and UX professionals’ dynamic representations of Self

Your self image is never the same as the worlds perception of you. Even if it’s your professional image.

“This research investigates the ways usability/user experience professionals describe themselves for different audiences and across multiple digital platforms, including LinkedIn, Twitter, portfolio websites, and business websites. By analyzing the digital identities of over 40 usability/user experience professionals, this article presents quantitative and qualitative pictures of how usability and user experience is being described in digital spaces. This article highlights broad patterns and specific tactics being implemented by four types of usability/user experience professionals and gives recommendations for how these tactics can be modified and applied for other usability/user experience professionals attempting to create professional identities in digital spaces.”

(Rebecca Zantjer and Laura Gonzales ~ Journal of Usability Studies August 2015)

50 years ago today the word ‘hypertext’ was introduced

Half a century is not that long for paradigm shifts in human history.

“On August 24, 1965 Ted Nelson used the word ‘hypertext’ (which he coined) in a paper he presented at the Association for Computing Machinery. I was able to interview him earlier this month about the event and his early thoughts on the future of computing. It is hard to know where to start when writing an introduction for Ted Nelson because his interests and accomplishments have spanned so many areas across six decades.”

(Byron Reese ~ GigaOm) ~ courtesy of erikhartman