Sunday, June 26, 2005

Information Architecture

Tom Myer on IBM's developerWorks actually has as decent an explanation of what I do for a living as I've seen.

I've been trying to come up with a succinct description of my job as it's one of those jobs where no matter how many times you explain it to folks, they end up thinking you're either a developer or a designer.

So far the shortest description I've been able to come up with is something along these lines:
Arranging information so it can be found intuitively.
I could add "efficiently" or "economically," too, I suppose. If I wanted to sound high-falutin', maybe I could say "discovered" instead of "found." And then you could add a lot of detail about navigational structures, taxonomies, labeling, usability, site maps and blueprints, schematics, personas, etc. And what's the difference between an IA and an interaction designer? Interaction designers usually attend more to the experience users have when interacting with an application. Depending on where you work and what you're doing, you might end up doing both. Also, depending on who you talk too, an IA does all of the above anyway. Blah, blah, blah.

It's at this point that people's eyes usually glaze over. But it can be interesting work. Swear!

Fortunately for me, I enjoy information architecture, interaction design, and content development (as well as plain ol' "writing"), which means I'm usually able to find something for my idle hands to do.

Anyway, if you're a recruiter calling or emailing me about a systems or Web architect position: NOT my job. Thankfully.

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