links for 12 April 2006

The six species of Information Architect

The Flying Karamazov Brothers

From time to time I have the pleasure of talking to others who do Information Architecture as a part of their work. Sometimes as *all* of their work, although usually as a part. (Of course, there’s lots of debate and confusion over where Information Architecture starts and ends, but I’ve posted about that already).

Given that IA as a profession is really only about 10yrs old (or at least, that’s the figure I hear bandied about), it makes sense that *most* IAs have a ‘past life’ of one kind or another. This has got me to thinking that there are probably about six different species of Information Architect, based on the kind of professional past life they’ve had (nor not).

I’m going to make some wild sweeping generalisations here… bear with me :)

Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • graphic designer/visual artist – there are graphic designers who have a particular gift for organising information. These guys do the nicest looking wireframes you’ll ever see. It’s pretty easy to bag this species IA because they often don’t bother learning all the big words that other IAs like to throw around, and they tend not to be into reading research papers and books. Seminars also bore them. But they *do* tend to be quite user centric. That combined with their pretty wireframes and their creative ‘presence’ means that they’re generally pretty popular with clients.
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links for 11 April 2006