On BiggerHand Mike calls attention to a passage in the CIQ interview on digital web that refers to designer’s boredom with IA matters, and suggests that any designer worth his salt cares rather deeply about them and that digital web is teaching self-hatred.
At Seybold a creative director came up to me after one of the panels wondrering why he couldn’t teach himself IA, or suggest his designers learn IA, and skip hiring one. I had to admit that if he had good designers, and the site was not overly complex, he could easily do exactly as he proposed– and if he considered IA to be sitemaps and wireframes. However, if he needed to consider metadata-theasuri-controlled vocabularies, if he needed to plot out multiple use scenrios, if he had multiple user groups whose needs had to be plotted out, prioritized and met, he might wish to expand a team to someone whose was a specialist in this area. Kind of like he might hire an illustrator to do some illustrations for a design. Or he might say, my kids can do it.
We often forget in these theorectical discussions that teams are made of people. It’s entirely possible a CD might say, hey my lead IA Joe can design quite respectably, and this data input form requires no brilliant innovation, just excellent information design which Joe can provide. Or a CD might say, hey, my lead designer Carla is an outstanding informtion designer as well as getting the brand down pat… I’ve going to send Joe over to do some card sorts while Carla makes this messy form usable.
Design and IA have an overlap– they aren’t identical by any means, but they share some turf. That turf can be a cause for turf-wars, or it can be a place where a savvy CD can get a lot from his team.
These are my thoughts, from having the pleasure of having worked with Mike as well as other excellent designers in the past. I’d like to hear your thoughts on our ongoing struggle/collaboration with graphic design.