the alignment of the practices and outcomes ofIA and IxD

31 Mar 2009 - 9:05am
5 years ago
7 replies
443 reads
morville
2010

Dan,

It's disingenuous to omit the fourth definition just because it weakens your
case. I'm not about to promote or defend these aging definitions, and I
won't wade into this debate, but here's how they are presented in the book:

1. The combination of organization, labeling, and navigation schemes within
an information system.
2. The structural design of an information space to facilitate task
completion and intuitive access to content.
3. The art and science of structuring and classifying web sites and
intranets to help people find and manage information.
4. An emerging discipline and community of practice focused on bringing
principles of design and architecture to the digital landscape.

Peter Morville
President, Semantic Studios
http://semanticstudios.com/
http://findability.org/

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Dan
Saffer
Sent: Tuesday, March 31, 2009 9:51 AM
To: IXDA list
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] the alignment of the practices and outcomes ofIA
and IxD

On Mar 31, 2009, at 6:13 AM, Todd Zaki Warfel wrote:

> Saying IA is about content structuring is limiting and inaccurate.

Actually, I think it's pretty accurate. Here's the definition of information
architecture from the polar bear book (the bible of IA):

1. The combination of organization, labeling, and navigation schemes
within an information system.
2. The structural design of an information space to facilitate task
completion and intuitive access to content.
3. The art and science of structuring and classifying web sites and
intranets to help people find and manage information.

It's limiting because, frankly, IA is limited in its application to mostly
content-rich applications. If you don't have an information space to
navigate through, you don't have much information architecture. And
information spaces are typically made up of content.

> IA is about structure, sure, but not limited to content. Is the
> structuring of the navigation of a system not IA?

I believe it is a combination of IA (the labels and categorization) and IxD
(the controls to move).

> The navigation system could be contentless, only having a Red, Blue,
> or Green button w/o any label or content. But organizing those buttons
> is still IA in it's purest sense.

Here we disagree. They laying out of controls to manipulate or engage with
the system is the task of an interaction designer, with input and adjustment
from visual and industrial designers. Pushing a button to trigger a behavior
has nothing to do with IA. Labeling the button perhaps I'll give you, but
even that is a stretch.

Dan

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Comments

31 Mar 2009 - 9:15am
Dan Saffer
2003

On Mar 31, 2009, at 7:05 AM, Peter Morville wrote:

> It's disingenuous to omit the fourth definition just because it
> weakens your
> case.

Sorry, I didn't see the 4th definition. Was quoting from:

<http://semanticstudios.com/publications/semantics/000010.php>

Which doesn't have #4. #4 seems less about what information
architecture *is* than it is about what IAs do. Don't think it weakens
my case much, if at all.

Dan

31 Mar 2009 - 2:41pm
Dave Malouf
2005

I feel like calling HUGE bullshit in so many ways to Jorge and Peter:

I work in an industrial design department, and previous to that with
industrial designers. There is no land grab going on. The work I did
w/ and do now is most akin to the work I did as software ixd with
visual designers. I design the dialog & behavior, and they design the
form. What is happening though is that they are also becoming great
IxDs just like many visual designers are becoming great IAs & IxDs as
well.

This is why it is not about land grab, but mind share. Yup! (see, it
is about grabbing something). I don't care about IAs. I really
don't. Your work is almost superfluous to me in my world. I care
about Visual Designers & Industrial Designers & Architects. THEY are
the ones who to put it arrogantly, need me. They need to understand
what it means to do dialogs, narratives, metaphors and mental
mappings as these things are not (yet) taught in their disciplines,
or they don't even have time to teach it any more (this is a whole
other topic). IxD is a layer to be placed on top of a solution. The
same with IA. You are not a form, you are nothing w/o it. Same with
us. This is why many IxDs on this list, gravitate to the Identity of
UI Designers, b/c they want to control both the behavior and the form
and it is from that place that they can do it under a single title.
But they are practicing many roles or disciplines: IA, IxD, Visual
Design, Engineering (in many cases).

Power buttons & other notions of grandeur:
>From a practice perspective, I dare to find even 100 IxDs on this
list who were involved in the design of a power button on a piece of
hardware. I'm not so delusional as you think I am.

>From a discipline perspective, I KNOW that theories of interaction
design, when applied to practice of industrial design and
engineering, can make a HUGE difference to the implementation of a
design of a power button.

I AM one of those lucky few who do get to do this in their day-to-day
job and I have seen how Industrial Designers not previously trained to
think about feedback systems, metaphors, thresholds, and other pieces
of the material that IxDs think about (beyond the plastic) get so
excited to learn it and incorporate it into their practice.

Do you get it? Do you see the difference in the rhetoric? I'm not
here to BE an industrial designer. I'm not here to BE a visual
designer or interactive designer or game designer. I'm here to share
what I know about the discipline of interaction design and imbue that
into the practices of form.

In the software world there is soooo much interactivity that this
requires a specific role, just like in the web/interactive world of
information spaces the role of an IA is necessary.

What gets me about this whole conversation is the inability to think
in terms of continuums. I teach IA as part of an IxD minor here in an
ID department. My students will need IA to help them do even the most
simple of information organization tasks, so having this knowledge
will be valuable to them, to no end. But not in everything. While the
IxD for them from my set of experiences permeates into everything they
do. NOT the role of IxD, but the discipline and study. From joy stick
designs for skid steering systems to designing the dimmer switches on
a floor lamp. NO! I'm not saying that these are IxD problems. I'm
saying that the problems require IxD applied through their ID
practice.

-- dave

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40789

31 Mar 2009 - 3:36pm
jarango
2004

On Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 7:41 AM, dave malouf <dave.ixd at gmail.com> wrote:
> I don't care about IAs. I really
> don't. Your work is almost superfluous to me in my world.

Nothing more need be said.

Now, perhaps those of us who /do/ care about constructive dialog
between these fields can move along without paying heed to your
thoughts on the matter.

~ Jorge

31 Mar 2009 - 4:50pm
Janna DeVylder
2006

I'd like to start seeing some ideas about how we can move forward, for those
whose interests lie in both camps organizationally as well as those whose
work lives straddle/sit/are the two.

On Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 4:36 PM, Jorge Arango <jarango at jarango.com> wrote:

> On Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 7:41 AM, dave malouf <dave.ixd at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I don't care about IAs. I really
> > don't. Your work is almost superfluous to me in my world.
>
> Nothing more need be said.
>
> Now, perhaps those of us who /do/ care about constructive dialog
> between these fields can move along without paying heed to your
> thoughts on the matter.
>
> ~ Jorge
>
>

31 Mar 2009 - 4:50pm
usabilitycounts
2008

(Grabbing popcorn, enjoying this from afar.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=40789

31 Mar 2009 - 5:07pm
Angel Marquez
2008

Create two distinct lists one from IA and one from IxD of their primary,
secondary and tertiary activities. Merge the common elements and treat the
outside activities with baby gloves...

31 Mar 2009 - 6:07pm
Steve Baty
2009

Janna,

The core techniques of information architecture, and those of interaction
design, can be articulated in a manner which I think is fairly
uncontentious. We also have several visual representations - and
descriptions - of the areas in which IA overlaps with IxD; where IxD
overlaps with Industrial Design; where IA overlaps with Architecture
(wayfinding in physical spaces, for example); and the application of all
these disciplines to larger scale issues - the total experience of an
airport, for example.

And there is a great deal of overlap in the underlying techniques used by
each of these disciplines: in research, analysis, evaluation. We are able to
share a lot of knowledge and understanding around these fundamentals.

I'd also think we can focus on problem solving and the solutions to those
problems and look at the role played by the various core techniques - and
discuss the ways in which both the approach to problem-solving and the
solution may have been improved or influenced by the application of those
techniques.

Regards
Steve

2009/4/1 Janna Hicks DeVylder <janna at devylder.com>

> I'd like to start seeing some ideas about how we can move forward, for
> those
> whose interests lie in both camps organizationally as well as those whose
> work lives straddle/sit/are the two.
>
> On Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 4:36 PM, Jorge Arango <jarango at jarango.com> wrote:
>
> > On Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 7:41 AM, dave malouf <dave.ixd at gmail.com> wrote:
> > > I don't care about IAs. I really
> > > don't. Your work is almost superfluous to me in my world.
> >
> > Nothing more need be said.
> >
> > Now, perhaps those of us who /do/ care about constructive dialog
> > between these fields can move along without paying heed to your
> > thoughts on the matter.
> >
> > ~ Jorge
> >
> >
> ________________________________________________________________
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