My Blog

Mind the Gaps: Time and Space in Information Architecture (UX New Zealand 2016)

15 October, 2016    

Genesis. 11. 4-9. They said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and…

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Design Sprints at the BBC – EuroIA 2016 – Answers

27 September, 2016     /

At EuroIA 2016 some of the BBC UXA team ran a workshop on Design Sprints. There were around 90 participants and lots of questions. We answered many during the workshop. But here are follow-up answers to all the questions that were asked. [This post will be updated over the next few days] EuroIA 2016 – Answers to questions How do you change the mindset of participants who are hardly able…

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Design Sprints at the BBC – EuroIA 2016 – Appendix

27 September, 2016     /

Design Sprints are a method of moving quickly but designing thoroughly. You innovate and you learn. You mix techniques, focus on different skills at different times and work quickly and collaboratively. At EuroIA we delivered a workshop that was all these things – Design Sprints at the BBC. This is one of two blog posts to supplement the workshop. This is a summary – plus extra techniques and resources that we didn’t…

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Time, space and information architecture

19 September, 2016    

Information architects create places made out of information, so thinking spatially has always been a big part of what we do. But IA isn’t just about space. IAs should always be thinking about the experiences that their spaces contain. Experiences happen in time. I’ve spent some time thinking about time and space, so that I can be a better information architect. [This is the development and refinement of some ideas…

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Structure, movement and interaction – Three pillars of information architecture

19 August, 2016    

We don’t make pages anymore. It’s odd. In the past the majority of my creative output focused on creating whole things. I made pages. I arranged them. I created structures made of information. I’ve always thought about the parts of the things I designed. I realised early that most digital things are really bundles of other, smaller things. My job title was once ‘content manager.’ I managed content –taking assets and making content, combining…

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Talking about IA at conferences – Most of what we do is invisible

9 May, 2016    

Most of what we do is invisible. A lot of the time I’m manipulating ideas, concepts, data and information, rather than pixels. A lot of the time I’m adjusting and reframing constraints, nudging at assumptions to rearrange them to play more nicely with my ambitions. A lot of the time I’m staring at a spreadsheet. My work is a mixture of the immaterial and the unglamorous. It makes presenting it…

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Mind the gap – Taxonomies, tags and trajectories at the BBC

7 May, 2016    

In this post I talk about the dangers of ignoring gaps, the importance of making the invisible stuff in projects more visible – assumptions, the connections and relationships, the dependencies and possibilities. I also discuss the structures we make and the ways we can understand and explain the experiences they contain.

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When should you think like an architect?

11 March, 2016    

Eddie Obeng taught me about four “types” of projects: “Paint-by-numbers” projects are the kind you can approach with most confidence. You know what to do and how to do it. If you follow the method defined by the problem, you should succeed. But it’s hard to innovate. “Movie projects” occur when you’re less certain of what to do but you have a good understanding of method. You can explore goals,…

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‘Architecting’ is a word

16 February, 2016    

I love words. I love the sounds they make and the shapes they form. I love the ideas they can inspire. I love words. Words, for me, provide the perfect balance of freedom and containment. I mention this because I recently read an interview I’d given and in it there was a word that gave me pause for thought. The offending word was ‘architecting’. I’ll put my cards on the…

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I'm architecting a space in which experiences happen

User journeys, Trajectories and Transitions for UX designers

23 October, 2015    

This post is about gaps. I think gaps are where most of the interesting design challenges are lurking, particularly if you’re interested in information architecture. Information architecture is fundamentally interested in gaps — gaps between problems and solutions, between products and audiences, between perfection and pragmatism. Gaps invite us to think about the differences that cause them and the connections that might bridge them. Gaps keep us in a job. This article is…

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Sitemaps and taxonomic thinking

3 March, 2015    

I used to love a good sitemap, all those boxes and arrows… lovely stuff. But now I’m not so sure. I think it’s good to occasionally take a step back from the bread and butter techniques and deliverables that you rely on and ask a few questions. Sometime I think we come to an old template or technique and use it unthinkingly, forgetting the thought and effort that went into…

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Everyone makes IA – World IA Day 2015

22 February, 2015     /

This is a post inspired by my talk from World IA Day. On the day I had 20 minutes to fill – I did a magic trick and talked about an imaginary uncle. This post has the benefit of an edit, but recreates the central argument – everyone makes IA. Information architecture is everywhere, it’s a part of every project, every design includes it. But I think there’s often a…

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Everyone makes IA – running a team away day

23 January, 2015     / / / /

Before you read this post. Choose a card. Remember it. In December 2014, just before Christmas, the UXA team at the BBC took on the challenge of convincing 120 UX designers that they all make information architecture. IA is a specialism. But it also underpins all user experiences. I wanted to give UX designers the confidence to consider IA more in their day-to-day work, and to ask IA questions when things get…

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Reflective practice

21 November, 2014     / / / /

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably quite good at a few things. But if you are like me you probably sometimes have a hard time bragging about those things or even quite believing you possess them. This post is about the relationship between the things we do well (and not so well) and what we think and know about them. It’s about how self awareness and reflective practice can help you consolidate what you’re good at and get better at the other stuff.

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