Yesterday, Dan Brown, User Experience Lead with Computech, came to my “User Interactions with Information Systems” class to discuss “A Day in the Life of…” Dan offers over a decade of related experience and has his hands in many things, including:
The remainder of this post outlines my interpretation of some of the ideas Dan discussed. Please see Dan’s post to view source materials and documentation from yesterday’s presentation.
Dan first emphasized that 50% of his time is focused on client management. As such, he provides a service, not a product. He differentiated between the following related persons:
With an IA-mind for classification, Dan breaks down his daily responsibilities into the following categories:
Information gathering consists of interviews, research on client competitors and includes:
Brainstorming consists of whiteboards, user models (personas), reviewing requirements, determining constraints, system feel and look.
Documentation means IAs must turn ideas into something presentable (visual, brief) by following these processes:
Dan brought up some good points about understanding the user that might interface with a web site. He indicated that before IAs create personas, they should first address the following questions:
I asked Dan if he felt that an Information Architect might have responsibilities beyond traditional distillation of information for an information system or web site. Part of the motivation for my question stemmed from a thread on Lou Rosenfeld’s site. Dan indicated that information architecture is more than just structuring the information that will be presented on an information system or web site. He affirmed my suggestion that an Information Architect might also be someone who maps the information resources of an organization, even if some of this information never translates itself into an information system or web site.
Thanks to Dan for taking the time to evangelize the profession to those of us who are interested in this profession.
To be clear, Vera had my credentials a little inflated. I did not start DCIA, though I since have become very involved. Our local professional group was the brilliant invention of Stacy Surla, Marcy Jacobs, and Meg Peters, among others.
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