Friday, February 24, 2006

Architecture and Information Architecture

I just wonder how often there is a crossover between construction architecture and information architecture? On the receiving end of a presentation today about a new method of construction better practice approach, I was struck with how closely the aims and techniques matched with those of IA and user-focused design. I suppose this is not strange, in that, generically speaking, the more early planning you can pull into a project the more efficient an outcome is the usual result, and the sooner you involve all involved stakeholders in this, the better also (no matter what the field of practice).

The architecting and blueprint metaphors have probably become diluted over the past five years of IA practice as it has carved its own niche, but it's sometimes worth going back to the roots of the term - naming is a political action of choice, after all...

Thursday, February 02, 2006


The rash of "isn't blogging cool" stories is really beyond the pale now. Please, get over yourselves, people can be journalists too, you know. My annoyance was stimulated by "Unhappy, then it's time to begin a blog" in the Evening Standard this evening. Frankly I've had enough.

So, read my lips - blogs are to websites as journals are to books: regular, direct, unmediated communication by individuals or organisations to a relatively unmediated audience. Stop worrying about the concept of "blog", this is just the technical framework that makes this stuff happen, and that helps to tie the communicative and social aspects of "the blog" together. Think about the explosion of newsletters that happened when DTP software hit the desktop - they were still just newsletters (and of very variable quality): blogs are just websites.

This I think is what is bothering journalists, and why there are so many blog-related stories. They aren't grasping that the whole (and I'm going to use an uncool word from times here) disintermediation aspect is what is important - people becoming regular, read writers (or should I say authors and journalists?). Instead, they are writing articles based on Big Brother psychologists (Honey Langcaster-James) saying:

"Keeping an online diary could prove to be highly rewarding and have psychological and emotional benefits"

Take out the word "online" here, and what changes? The only real difference between being online and offline here is that it is likely that your innermost thoughts may be read by someone. The whole benefit of online diary writing is the construction of a persona, which can remain relatively anonymous if one so chooses - this is the liberating perspective.

As the latest AOL ad campaign in the UK puts it, DISCUSS...