Less baffling and more African-doing!

I’ve not been able to add much to the User Experiencnce(UX)/Information Architecture(IA) communities the last two years. Mostly in part due to the nature of the industry I work in. Digital Marketing… Yes, where deadlines, crazy short-term acquisition targets and baffling consumers with bullshit** are the norm.

One thing I am grateful for is the fact that I stayed in touch with my Canadian friend and UX-guru Jeff Parks*.
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Learning’s and frustrations of a marketing IA

When I first started researching my adopted field of Information Architecture I found myself reading through project specifications and wireframe documents a colleague of mine brought back from Europe. She went on a little visit to the greater TBWA network and the guys were keen to share their processes and documentation with her.

I later found a little gem on the O’Reilly website – Information Architecture for the World Wide Web by Peter Morville and Louis Rosenfeld. It’s brilliant book and should definitely form the part of any aspiring IA’s arsenal.

I’ve had the book for just over a year now and I’m only half way – I keep on reworking chapters’ over-and-over, whenever I get a chance. I even dragged my copy to Malaysia last year when I played in the Asian Paintball World Cup. Needless to say, I brought back my copy stained with orange paint and was forced to cover the book due to the water damage it suffered.

It’s NOT the end-all, be-all of IA but a great foundation. It’s like a real Uni-book in my opinion. You struggle through it at times not knowing how you’d ever apply or even remember some of the chapters but after reading it you find yourself applying the techniques without thinking.
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Talking about wireframes…

It started with this simple 'storyboard'

I recently sent an e-mail to the Information Architecture Institute (Mailing List). I’ve been working on a pro-active project exploring alternative ways to prototype web projects. To quote Tom Wales (Yahoo) – half the documentation we do is “Bullshit”. Bill Buxton (Microsoft) mentioned that we tend to do project documentation just to convince client that the money they are spending on projects are justified by serving up a document that they can’t understand or relate to i.e. “I don’t understand a word!!! These guys must know what they’re talking about”.

I interested in using alternative ways to explain projects to client and internal teams. I want to relay “concept” rather than dictate design or confuse with complicated specifications.

BTW – I took me some time to muster up the courage to send my prototype to the IAI group. Sometimes you just have to take the plunge. I’m happy to report that I received some really helpful feedback from the list and I feel even more motivated to explore this further.

Check out my communication to IAI and my prototype video – I think it explains all.
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A blog by a “newbie” Information Architect

Greetings and salutations!

I can’t believe that I’m actually writing a blog entry – It was never something that I wanted to do. But hey! Here I am…

I first started exploring blogs when I gave up my position as Senior Web-Developer at TBWA\Tequila in Johannesburg. My boss offered me the opportunity to make a career shift and I have been working, exploring and researching my way into an Information Architect (IA) role.

IA InstituteA lot of what I found myself doing back then (as a web developer) paralleled with that of Information Architect’s day-to-day tasks due to a shortage of resources. I had to refine those skills and actually figure out what my core deliverables where. Blogs and mailing lists became a valuable source of information about my new-found profession. Continue reading