toes stepping

In Dan’s Brown’s latest Special Deliverable, Where the Wireframes Are, he discussed one of my favorite sticking points: wireframes as turf war for design and IA (Hey, we tuff, we got a gang sign.)

He writes “we hired a new creative director, and together he and I formalized the user experience group in our office. As part of that process, and based on our own bad experiences, he told me that I needed to find a way to take design out of information architecture.”

Anyhow, Nick asks about IA and design. This question comes up a lot. I thought that another one of my bad diagrams will help add clarity rather than muddy…
Important disclaimers: this diagram does not list everything either job does. It’s all very random, as this diagram was done in all of 20 minutes. Anyone who wants to do a better more accurate one is invited to do so. Stuff on the ends is not in strict order, imagery selction is not more designy than type, metadata harvesting is not more IA than controlled vocab creation. Whew.

it’s not as simple as IA is or is not design (graphic design I mean, IA is an act of design of course). The question is what is the relationship of IA and design.. and how can we make that relationship more productive.

Both IA’s and graphic designers do stuff theat the other has very little interest in (inviduals excepted) and both do stuff that are natural outcropping of their work.. they just happen to be natural outcroppings of someone else’s work as well. Dan’s article showed there are ways to do your job, do it well and to its natural conclution and still not get in anyone’s face.