Welcome to the first edition of the TUG newsletter!
TUG Notes: IA News & Insights
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In This Issue:
TUG's Andrew Hinton outlines some simple models for user context. He explains: "People aren’t machines. They’re squishy, messy, overlappy, emotional creatures whose ability to understand and use stuff changes throughout their lives (or even throughout a given day)." Read the full user context post.
We presented our latest offering last month in Ann Arbor—two of our popular “What Before How” workshops – Jessica DuVerneay's "Introduction to Lean Unmoderated User Testing" and Dan Klyn's "Understanding Information Architecture." Both workshops received rave reviews:
“Very enjoyable class. I learned a good amount but it also made me rethink what I already thought I know. I appreciate the examples, templates, and hands on work.”
"I really enjoyed the class and have a much better understanding of the user testing process and the theory behind the testing. I learned stuff I can use right away! I'm so thankful I took this class."
We’ve just returned from several thought-provoking days at the annual IA Summit, in Baltimore. TUG IAs presented alongside industry icons like Peter Morville, Jared Spool, and Christina Wodtke. TUG co-founders Bob Royce and Dan Klyn teamed up to present “What Before How: Making a Home for Information Architecture.” Andrew Hinton presented on "The World Is The Screen: Elements of Information Environments." Kaarin Hoff presented on "Abstraction for Clarity."
One Day. Fifteen official cities. Six more grassroots cities. Fantastic global IA content and local interaction with peers, celebrating the birth of information architecture fifteen years ago.
TUG sponsored the event at the global level. TUG co-founder Dan Klyn organized the event with the Information Architecture Institute (IAI) and presented at New York City’s WIAD. Back in Michigan, TUGgers Jessica DuVerneay (watch it here), Andrew Hinton (watch it here), and Peter Morville presented at Ann Arbor’s WIAD. The Understanding Group was happy to sponsor this worldwide event and looks forward to an even bigger WIAD in 2014. Watch even more presentations on YouTube.
- Jessica DuVerneay's Intro to Lean User Testing
May 7, 6:30 – 8 pm in Santa Monica, CA
- Jessica DuVerneay's Taming Taxonomy
May 16, 7 – 9 pm in Beverly Hills, CA
- Dan Klyn at UXPA
July, 2013 in Washington, D.C.
- UX Strategy
September, 2013 in Atlanta, GA
- Midwest UX
October 17-19 in Grand Rapids, MI
Seth Earley, Author and CEO at Earley & Associates recently blogged about the blurred lines between Business Analysts, Information Architects, Taxonomists, and Data Analysts. When is your business issue or website redesign project large enough to warrant bringing in an Information Architect? Each one of these roles has an interest in making information more usable and valuable. According to Seth, and we at TUG would agree, an information architect is needed when you’re in the early stages of identifying use cases and user scenarios. Better yet, bring in an IA when you don’t quite know who your users (or potential customers) really are, for user research and persona development. Read his full blog post.
Facebook Bans Facebook.com Internally
Walmart has always been savvy about tech. Their distribution channels and inventory management systems have given them a competitive edge. Now that savvy edge is available on the consumer side, with the Scan & Go app. Walk into the store, open the iPhone app, and pre-scan your cart’s contents as you shop, making self-checkout a breeze. Past the initial testing stages, the Scan & Go app is now available in over 200 stores.
What we find interesting is how this combined online and in-person shopping user experience dovetails with other recent Walmart.com offerings, such as Site to Store (order online, pick up at your local store), among others. Read the full article at Wired.com.
While some product design folks, like Cennydd Bowles, think wireframes are dead (see the brief diagram he recently tweeted), as Information Architects we are head over heels in love with wireframes. To us, wireframes are tools that let you talk about interactivity and design in one place and are relatively quick to produce. It’s part of our “what before how” approach.
So why are so many people down on wireframes? They’ve evolved into a term with a lot of heavy baggage: requirements-driven design, the assumption that wireframes replace a prototype, and so on. Often a wireframe looks too nice and neat, as if it’s set in stone. Our tip? Try drawing them by hand before the wireframe review session, you’ll probably get more discussion around what should be changed; instead of feeling like you’re throwing them over the wall, practically untouched.
Find out how you can put the "what before the how" on your next website redesign or e-commerce optimization project.
Contact Bob Royce at firstname.lastname@example.org today to find out how information architecture can bring structure to your world and understanding to your site visitors.