Monday, March 21, 2005

Deliverables mania

I've been looking through a bunch of Information Architect job roles recently, and noticed that a number of the ads are placing a great deal of stress on the production of deliverables, and specifying experience in specific "IA" tools like Visio and Omnigraffle.

I know that job ads can be reductive, but I do worry about the emphasis being placed on deliverables rather than skillsets: some of this might be because the jobs are mostly for digital agencies, and there's an element of client seduction in there. Good deliverables do make a difference - a bad wireframe can add to client confusion rather than solve it, but these are not the end products of an IA's work: end product delivery is. It's a bit like the emphasis on MS Project skills for Project Managers, I suppose: confusing nice Gantt charts and PERT charts (just intermediary products on the path to successful project delivery) for decent project management.

Maybe it's when wireframes and site maps begin to look too smart, too professional, that designers begin to get annoyed at turf wars - maybe there should be a return to quick and dirty iterations of deliverables... long live the back of the envelope?

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