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THE GOOD,
THE BAD, AND
THE UGLY
a language of critique for
information architecture
Stacy Merrill Surla
@stacysurla
#UXDC2...
flickr.com/photos/286781189@N02
Practical
problems
Solutions to
problems
Scientific
problems
Practice
Science
Theories and
models
Philosophical
questions
...
flickr.com/photos/thomashawk
SOLUTIONS
Practical problems Practice
Solutions to
problems
Scientific problems Science
Theories and
models
THEORIES
Philo...
flickr.com/photos/65924740@N00
SOLUTIONS
Practical problems Practice
Solutions to
problems
Scientific problems Science
Theories and
models
THEORIES
Philo...
flickr.com/photos/thomas hawk
Stacy Surla
World Bank
Ewan McIntosh
flickr.com/photos/noodlefish
flickr.com/photos/ovi90
César Viteri Ramirez
Stephen Poff
compare new “ugly” to old
“beautiful”
flickr.com/photos/nevilleslens
flickr.com/photos/paarchives
Interactive exercise
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BGS5NY
W
Results
https://www.surveymonkey.com/analyze
Join the conversation
https://www.linkedin.com/groups/Reframe
-IA-494524
References
Lacerda, Flavia and Mamede Lima-Marques, Information Architecture as a
Discipline — A Methodological Approach, ...
Stacy Merrill Surla
stacy.surla@icfi.com
THANKS!
linkedin.com/groups/Reframe-IA-494524
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The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly: A Language of Critique for Information Architecture

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Information architecture is more than wireframes. But we’re confined by the mindset that thinks IA is a box to check off on a project plan. A language of critique is going to help change this discourse.

So what’s a language of critique for IA? And what’s wrong with whatever we’re using now?

Publié dans : Technologie
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: A Language of Critique for Information Architecture, http://fritillaria.blogspot.com/2015/10/the-good-bad-and-ugly-language-of.html
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  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: A Language of Critique for Information Architecture Stacy Merrill Surla. UXDC Conference, October 9, 2015 At the 2014 Language of Critique roundtable, Marsha Haverty said “If we don’t have a way to describe what we do, we’ll be limited to… being wireframe monkeys.” 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 this is a problem for you, then 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. Furthermore, maybe you’re at a stage in your career where you’re elevating the practice. Are you teaching, researching, or publishing? Then you might be interested in the project to shape a language of critique for IA. In order for us to develop IA as a discipline, we need a framework for evaluating the goodness of information architecture, both as a whole, and in specific cases. So what’s a language of critique for IA? And what’s wrong with whatever we’re using now?
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  • INTRODUCTION TO THE M3 MODEL We can talk about our work as taking place on three levels. The bottom level is the level of applied work. The middle level concerns theories and models. The top level is the level of paradigms. This is called the Meta-Modeling Methodology or M3. It was developed by John Van Gigch, an organizational theorist, in 1991 as a way to look at how scientific disciplines ideally operate back and forth across different levels of inquiry. In the book Reframing Information Architecture, Lacerda and Lima-Marques proposed using the M3 model as a means to develop IA as a discipline.
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  • REFRAME IA HISTORY The work of Lacerda, Lima-Marques, and many others is part of an effort now underway to bridge information architecture research and practice. Think about psychology, literature, physics, economics. All mature fields have a framework and a vocabulary for making sense of what they do. IA emerged in the 90s as a practice, along with the emergence of the web. But we still lack a foundational framework that gets taught, that is continually developed and refined, and against which our work is measured. We lack a shared understanding of what we do. A seminal moment for IA occurred six years ago in Memphis, when Jesse James Garrett delivered a scathing closing plenary at the IA Summit. Jesse challenged the IA community to move beyond being a practice, and figure out how to become a discipline. He called for us to develop a language of critique. Keith Instone, Andrea Resmini, and other leaders in our field are engaging the community right now to shape the future of IA. This effort has brought academics and practitioners together in workshops and roundtables. It’s developed the book Reframing Information Architecture, published last year. And it’s now engaging the broader UX community in an ongoing Reframe IA conversation.
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  • A PRACTICAL EXAMPLE To get our heads around the M3 model, and see how it can help our work and our practice, let’s look at a few examples. I was approached by a client at work to answer the question: does the Smokefree.gov website have a good information architecture? This is the kind of thing we’re all asked to do on a regular basis – design a good IA, or evaluate an IA for goodness to make a product better. This is work at the applied level. It so happens that Smokefree is a cross channel program. It includes websites for various audiences, a text messaging program in different languages, a handful of native apps, and it uses several social media platforms. It’s a complex, maturing program that’s designed to help people quit smoking. I suggested a heuristic evaluation. Where would heuristic evaluation be on this model? It’s a research-based tool. So it lives at the level of theories and methods. We tend to use Nielsen’s heuristics for user interface design, or something adapted from that set. But as I observed to the client: you’re not operating under the old web-interface-only world. Your program works through multiple channels. You’re acting within a new paradigm. You’re aiming to deliver a connected experience to your users. So we really should be evaluating how well the IAs work across channels. There was cautious enthusiasm for this at first. It can be uncomfortable to think or to commit resources outside an old, well-known paradigm. But a cross channel evaluation really did fit in with delivering a connected experience, and so they agreed. Interestingly, when we went looking for heuristics that would let us assess IA across channels, we couldn’t really find them. So we began developing a set on our own. And a member of my team, Dilini Abeywarna, presented “Cross Channel Heuristics” at Mobile UX last month, contributing to the theories and methods layer.
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The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly: A Language of Critique for Information Architecture

  1. 1. THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY a language of critique for information architecture Stacy Merrill Surla @stacysurla #UXDC2015
  2. 2. flickr.com/photos/286781189@N02
  3. 3. Practical problems Solutions to problems Scientific problems Practice Science Theories and models Philosophical questions Epistemology Paradigms SOLUTIONSTHEORIESPARADIGMS The M3 diagram
  4. 4. flickr.com/photos/thomashawk
  5. 5. SOLUTIONS Practical problems Practice Solutions to problems Scientific problems Science Theories and models THEORIES Philosophical questions Epistemology Paradigms PARADIGMS flickr.com/photos/peteker
  6. 6. flickr.com/photos/65924740@N00
  7. 7. SOLUTIONS Practical problems Practice Solutions to problems Scientific problems Science Theories and models THEORIES Philosophical questions Epistemology Paradigms PARADIGMS flickr.com/photos/mirasha
  8. 8. flickr.com/photos/thomas hawk
  9. 9. Stacy Surla
  10. 10. World Bank
  11. 11. Ewan McIntosh
  12. 12. flickr.com/photos/noodlefish
  13. 13. flickr.com/photos/ovi90
  14. 14. César Viteri Ramirez
  15. 15. Stephen Poff
  16. 16. compare new “ugly” to old “beautiful” flickr.com/photos/nevilleslens
  17. 17. flickr.com/photos/paarchives
  18. 18. Interactive exercise https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BGS5NY W
  19. 19. Results https://www.surveymonkey.com/analyze
  20. 20. Join the conversation https://www.linkedin.com/groups/Reframe -IA-494524
  21. 21. References Lacerda, Flavia and Mamede Lima-Marques, Information Architecture as a Discipline — A Methodological Approach, in Reframing Information Architecture, Springer International Publishing, 2014 Morricone, Ennio, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain Resmini, Andrea, Reframing Information Architecture, ibid. van Gigch, John P., System Design, Modeling and Metamodeling, Plenom Press, 1991
  22. 22. Stacy Merrill Surla stacy.surla@icfi.com THANKS! linkedin.com/groups/Reframe-IA-494524

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