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For most of computing history, interfaces have been about function. Word processing programs help you compose documents. Banking websites help you make transactions. Sites like Flickr help you display and share photographs. But Facebook’s Timeline (the new version of the user profile which is slated to be released to the general public “in the next few weeks”) wanted to do something more: It wanted to convey a feeling.
Written by Brian Cray on October 1st, 2010 The Web is shifting. Web pages are no longer silos of information. Twitter , Facebook , and blogs are adding conversations to the web, and those conversations are context for web content that can potentially provide an amazing amount of value to users. The major shift began when people could begin commenting on diaries with Open Diary in 1998 and growing quickly in popularity when Google bought Blogger in 2003. Today, conversations are happening everywhere, and more people are joining in every day.
The UX field is booming. It seems like the number of user experience practitioners has doubled in the last year — from newbies who’ve just entered the workforce, to mid-career changes, to folks who’ve been doing this all along but finally found out what to call themselves. It’s incredibly reassuring to finally see a long overdue interest in user experience practice; after all, that’s what many of us have spent our careers fighting for. I started this blog to give greater insight into how we think, how we work, and how we benefit customers and companies alike. I consider myself lucky to be among many professionals who speak at conferences around the world in an effort to bring UX into the mainstream. And it’s working!
Information architecture (IA) is an often-overlooked area of website design. Too often, as designers, we just let the CMS we’re using dictate how content for a site is organized. And that works fine as long as the site fits perfectly into the narrow content formats most CMSs are designed around. But too often, a website’s content breaks the boundaries of most CMSs. Without a clear understanding of how information architecture works, we can end up creating sites that are more confusing than they need to be or, at worst, make our content virtually inaccessible. It’s a shame, considering that the basics of good information architecture are no more difficult to learn than the basics of good web design.