When practicing information architecture, we must aim to understand our users and their mental model of the problem space we are working within. But this is only half of the struggle of making things make sense. Often the more challenging part of practicing IA is working to understand and navigate the mental models of our co-workers, clients and partners.
After each of my information architecture lectures and workshops, I expect people to ask me questions about theory, case studies or the mechanics of practicing information architecture responsibly. Instead I more often get questions like the following:
- “How do I get my boss to be part of IA decision making?”
- “How do you deal with difficult people?”
- “Who should I involve in these IA discussions? And When?”
- “What would you do if you already had a ton of people with tons of opinions on how things should be arranged or labeled?”
- “How do you make IA not too dry/boring for others to want to be involved in?”
- “How do you deal with people dismissing things as just semantics?”
These are important questions to help people to answer because these are what keeps good IA from getting agreed to and implemented.
“Without dealing with other people, we are not practicing IA, we are drawing pictures of structures that will likely never be built.”
I am currently writing a new virtual seminar for UIE’s All You Can Learn library. After getting the opportunity to work with UIE on a set of Introduction to Information Architecture videos, we agreed that Collaborative Information Architecture is an important topic to explore next.
Ok, now I need your help…
I want to hear from as many people as possible about the struggles they have in practicing information architecture, especially when it comes to working with other people.
Do you have 5 minutes to fill out my quick survey? Pretty please with metadata on top?