In User Experience
Summary: If "the opposite of a great truth is also true," Dan Klyn wonders if we shouldn't be drawing on our own instincts for what is good information architecture.

In the IA and UX world, we hew to the principle that we are not our users, and we seek outside validation for our designs. But after some reflection on the practice of Richard Saul Wurman, the works of Christopher Alexander, and a quote from Danish physicist Niels Bohr who said, “The opposite of a great truth is also true,” Dan Klyn wonders if we shouldn’t be drawing on our own instincts for what is good information architecture.

From “An Opposite Truth”

by Dan Klyn
Published on, July 14, 2017

I love learning from the built environment. I also love learning from and about architects. And without a doubt, the line between enthusiastic biographical research and guru worship can be thin at times. Denise Scott Brown says guru worship is a kind of meta-pattern among architects. Particularly with architects: because of the enormous amount of ambiguity and seeming unmeasurable-ness that’s inherent to architectural enterprise. In an essay about the male domination of the building trades called “Room at the Top,” she notes that architects use their gurus in precisely the same way that seafarers used figureheads on the prows of their ships in the olden times: as a way of navigating the unmeasurable by means of magic.

Good Information Architects Richard Saul Wurman and Dan Klyn

Photo by Amy Espinosa

My own attempts at figurehead-ing have been a source of annoyance to Richard Saul Wurman, inventor of the field of information architecture, as my research resulted in our spending time together with increased frequency. Since there is no license that you can sit for, no credential that’s universally or even widely accepted as the correct one for information architects, I thought I could use him and his ideas to define what good means in information architecture.

Read the full essay on Medium.

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