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Summary: This issue of TUG Notes includes thought-provoking articles from Jorge Arango and Dan Klyn, and practical tips on user testing by Jessica DuVerneay.


Welcome! TUG Notes: IA News & Insights

We’ve gathered some great content for this quarter’s issue of TUG Notes including thought provoking articles from Jorge Arango and Dan Klyn, and practical tips on user testing written by Jessica DuVerneay, and featured by We’re also excited to announce that Kaarin Hoff will be global coordinator for World IA Day 2014, and Daniel Eizans has joined our team to build out our digital and content strategy offerings.

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In This Issue:

TUG Insights:  – Performance Continuums at UX Thursday   – TUG's "Guide" to Getting Started with Lean User Testing – Skirmishing With Ill-Defined and Wicked Problems

News: – Daniel Eizans Joins TUG  – Kaarin Hoff named Global Executive Producer for World IA Day 2014

Upcoming Events

Industry Thinking: – Density in Information Environments   – Don’t Poke the Bear: Creating Content for Sensitive Situations  – In Defense of Contextual Inquiry

TUG‘s Bookshelf: Our Latest Read – Design For Care


TUG’s “Guide” to Getting Started with Lean User Testing:
Getting Started with Lean User Testing: Articles, Workshops, & Custom Training

TUG‘s Jessica DuVerneay has been teaching and writing a lot about user testing. She wrote this three-part series of articles—When to Test, What to Test, and How to Test—to help make the complex aspects of user testing clear. This guide is a one-stop-shop of all the ways TUG can help those delving into user testing.

Read full blog post.

Dan Klyn on Performance Continuums.

Dan Klyn spoke at UX Thursday Detroit on June 20, receiving rave reviews. His slides even made the front page of Slideshare!

See the full presentation here.

Skirmishing With Ill-Defined and Wicked Problems

Dan Klyn shares thoughts that resulted from his reading of Peter G. Rowe’s 1987 monograph Design Thinking.

Excerpt: “When you move the frame from project to problem, swapping “sprint” out for “skirmish” and sporting event out for warfare starts to make wholly different kinds of sense and meaning. The inclination of skirmishing is not to solve the problem, but rather to figure out what the problems are. What before how. The inclination of sprint is to solve the problem, or break it into as many 2-week chunks as it takes to solve.“

Read full blog post.


TUG Grows Digital Strategy Offering: Daniel Eizans Joins Team

TUG is happy to announce that Daniel Eizans has joined the company to lead our digital and content strategy practices. Dan brings a strong background in digital publishing, strategy and design and will help TUG clients better leverage their strengths digitally.

As TUG co-founder Dan Klyn notes “Dan brings a new way of seeing to our practice, and a bunch of new ways to connect that strategic point of view to a client’s business opportunity. It’s been a delight to introduce him to TUG’s customers and to consider the broader and deeper ways we can do work and prosper together.”
Learn more about Daniel Eizans.

Kaarin Hoff- Global Executive Producer of World IA Day 2014

World IA Day (WIAD) is a one day event that occurs in 15+ locations around the world. Fantastic IA content is shared across the globe and local connects are formed between peers.

Kaarin Hoff, an Information Architect at TUG, has been named Global Executive Producer for WIAD 2014 by the Information Architecture Institute. Last year Kaarin helped organize Ann Arbor's World IA Day and looks forward to taking on a larger role this year.

"This is a really special event and it's an honor to help organize it," said Kaarin. "I overhead a group of attendees talking last year- they said WIAD was a feast for the mind and referred to their name tags as badges of honor. I think that sums up the feeling of pride in the IA craft and community that this event imparts."
TUG was very involved in WIAD 2013 as well.

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. Watch even more presentations on YouTube


  • Dan Klyn is giving a workshop at UXWeek
    August 21  San Francisco, CA
  • Andrew Hinton speaking at BlendConf
    September 5-7  Charlotte, NC
  • Dan Klyn speaking at UXstrat
    September 9-11  Atlanta, GA
  • Daniel Eizans speaking at Content Strategy Forum
    September 11-13 Helsinki, Finland
  • Midwest UX
    October 17-19 Grand Rapids, MI


Density in Information Environments

By: Jorge Arango &nbsp Found on:
Jorge, Active IA community member and founder of BootStudio, recently blogged about finding balance for each information space to achieve high engagement and understanding.

"The user’s ability to understand and navigate the environment will be greatly affected by the density of the information in the space, and managing this information density — ensuring that it’s just right for the objectives, audience, and content of the space — is a critical function of information architecture."

Read his full blog post.

We are also loving Jorge's blog post entitled "… for the World Wide Web"

Don’t Poke the Bear: Creating Content for Sensitive Situations

By:Kate Kiefer Lee    Found on: A List Apart 

Kate, writer and editor at MailChimp, helps prepare you for those difficult, worst-case customer interaction scenarios. The article is broken down into 5 solid sections—Collect yourself, Offer full disclosure, Prepare for the worst, Don't blame or shame, and Mean it—and talks you through applying empathy to sensitive messaging, learning how to put yourself in the customer's shoes in order to make them feel informed and cared for throughout the interaction.

Read her full blog post

In Defense of Contextual Inquiry: Stop Listening to Your Customers

By:Steve Martin   Found on:Harvard Business Review 

Over the years, "contextual inquiry" has moved from being mostly about ethnographic observation to being mostly about doing interviews with people in the context of their activities "when possible." This blog post by Martin for HBR reminds us that there's a big difference.

While correctly applied interview techniques can get a long ways towards the insights of contextual inquiry, they can’t ever replace the insight gained from shadowing someone and watching them teach their task.

We would add that observation is only half the story, and that determining the right hypothesis is the more difficult and illuminating challenge.

Quotable Quotes:
"…you need to recognize that there is a fundamental problem with asking people what will persuade them to change: Most of the time they won't know the answer.
"It's not that they won't give an answer. They'll often provide plenty. It's just that the answers they provide will have a high likelihood of being wrong."
"The great majority of the decisions we make in our information-overloaded, distraction-heavy lives are made outside our conscious awareness, driven more by contexts than cognitions." 

Read his full blog post


Design For Care: Innovating Healthcare Experience

If you work in or around the Healthcare industry, we highly recommend Peter Jones recent book, "Design For Care – Innovating Healthcare Experience." The complexity and challenges in healthcare are unlike any other industry. Lives are on the line, medical innovation and technology is constantly changing, and the shift toward patient-centered care coupled with the politics of reform, makes healthcare anything but simple. 

Jones challenges readers to embrace the wicked problems in healthcare design and employ design strategies centered on a more strategic and comprehensive "Social Transformation Design" in order to improve the overall patient experience and create meaningful social change. Jones provides a wonderful balance of theory and practice, complete with real world examples of how healthcare design is being addressed today by many industry leaders.

Get the book from Rosenfeld Media

Interested In What We Do?

Find out how you can put the "what before the howon your next website redesign or e-commerce optimization project.

Contact Bob Royce at today to find out how information architecture can bring structure to your world and understanding to your site visitors.

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