The birth and death of an IA

I recently took a new position as a Sr. Manager of Information Architecture for (A property that creates $6+ billion dollars of revenue annually.) While I’m proud of my new position, the term Information Architect actually kind of creeps me out. It’s really an old term and does not accurately describe what I perceive to be the greatest value of my work nor my personality. I much prefer the title User Experience Designer, UI Designer or even Storyteller.

The whole “industry” of UI/UX Design has been self defined for years, but now as colleges and universities, actually have majors in the field, it seems appropriate to settle on some common terms of description.

The general level of understanding of the principles and importance of the user experience, has been elevated and so therefore, the traditional role of wireframes, is losing, or already has lost,  it’s power and need. Very often product ideas are expressed from concept to code within days.  I still believe those that focus on and claim some expertise in the user experience to be of supreme value, but the demands of the role have changed so that the soft skills of being able to communicate the right experience in the right way has become much more valuable. The business sponsor may have an idea of what they want, the coder make it all work and enhance it with great creativity, but the User Experience Designer is still the only one totally focused on how the story of how the product should work with the expectations and limitations of the primary beneficiary. The user.

A good User Experience designer should understand people, cognitively, with a sensibility of empathy and intuition.  A good User Experience designer must be able to communicate that  story effectively and motivate others to be able to execute their special skills to build the most optimal experience. I sometimes call myself the head cheerleader. But to ad the right sense of professionalism let’s just keep it at User Experience Designer.

But don’t just take my word for it. Here are some similar comments from Chiara Fox.

Over obsessed with sexy products

I’m a tinkerer. I also to love to sit around and dream up plans for cool stuff. That’s probably why I love being a User Experience Designer. But very clearly there is a ying for everybody’s yang. Or maybe I should say everyone has a double edged sword, where your strengths can also be your weaknesses.

A while ago I became obsessed about making diy projects that have a professional look to them.  I kept thinking of little problems in my daily life that I’d want a cool solution to.  It wasn’t hard to think of a couple of nuanced things and decided my life could use a charging station for all things hand held.

First I searched to see what commercial products there were and indeed that solidifed my mind as to why I didn’t need to buy one. most of the cost anywhere between $20-$45. So I searched all my DIY blogs to find cool ways to make one makezine, hacked gadgets, gomistyle, instructables all provided neat examples.

Finally I had to sit down and ask myself…What is a charging station? Hmmmmmm.

Charging Station = Powerstrip.

Here’s pic of my DIY Charging station Cost $4.95.

power-station“Perfection is attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away…”

-Antoine DeSaintExupery