Tuesday Oct 23, 2007

Making Sense of the World

Since this blog covers topics of Information Architecture, I'd be remiss to not share this latest video from Michael Wesch,  Information R/evolution. The video is about how the ability to interact with and share information makes us all organizers of the information. He illustrates that the information explosion puts the responsibility to "harness, create, critique, organize and understand" on all of us.




Sunday Oct 07, 2007

Radiohead Lets the Fans Decide Value


It's exciting to see a band like Radiohead experiment with new engagement models with fans. If you want the music, you get to decide what to pay for a digital download. In addition, there is a physical version for sale.


Saturday Sep 15, 2007

Global Creativity Crisis

We are globally demolishing creativity according to Tony Buzan (father of mindmapping). According to him we are teaching uncreativity. We should be teaching 'how to learn' and not 'what to learn'. The nature of how we've taught these skills has driven creativity down. We need to engage our brains and teach in this manner. He posits creativity is the engine of all curricula. As he explains it, creativity is not the domain of what people think of as 'creative-types' but anyone has the potential.

 Creativity is a way of approaching the world. Natural and spontaneous, disciplined, focused and imaginative are words he uses to describe it. The ability to generate ideas from the internal world to the external world is achievable by anyone.

The presentation is long (about 15 minutes) but if you are interested in creativity and learning, it's very interesting.


Tuesday Sep 11, 2007

Who Can Help You With Your Social Network

Who can help you with your companies desire to utilize the new wikiconomy? If you are turning to an agency, make sure they've got the background. David Armano created a great top 10 list of questions to ask your agency. 

 From the post:

"What kinds of answers would you get if you asked these questions of your agency execs?

1. Do you read blogs.  Which ones?
2. Do you have a personal blog?  What's it about?
3. Do you participate in at least one social network?  Which one?
4. Have you ever uploaded a video online?  What did you use to do it?
5. What's your favorite search engine.  Why?
6. Have you ever used an online classified service like craigslist?
7. Besides making phone calls—how else do you use your mobile phone?
8. Have you ever registered a domain name?
9. Do you use social bookmarks or tagging?
10. Do you use a feed reader of some sort?  Which one?  Why?

"

It's great food for thought. When you engage an agency, you pay for expertise. Make sure you get your money's worth. ;) 


 

Wednesday Sep 05, 2007

More on Facebook

Since I talked about this in my last post, I thought that I should also share the news that Facebook has opened it's doors a little. There will now be public listings accessible via web searching. It's been discussed it on the Facebook blog. The search result feature will go live in a few weeks and it's something that individuals can turn off if they choose.

Monday Aug 27, 2007

'X' is the next 'Y'

Is Facebook the future? Lots of people like to make predictions about 'the future'. I like to wait and see before I make my predictions. I am a Facebook member but I'm not sure I'd go as far as declaring it the future. It is an interesting experience. I am drawn back in by all the activity, friend notifications, application additions, etc. etc. 

But, you still need a username and password to get in. I also give my content away to someone that is not me. It's still a walled garden even though there is an openness for developers to build widgets, etc. That just gets more people in.

All I'm saying is predicting the future is a dicey game. :)
 

Sunday Aug 26, 2007

More Fun Tools to Play with Animation

Have you heard of Fuzzwich? The site lets you make mini movies with pre populated backgrounds, characters, thought bubbles and all. Here's my first try.



Friday Aug 24, 2007

Podcamp Minnesota

I'm going to participate in PodCamp MN tomorrow. I don't know what to expect, but I'm very excited to get in a room with 30 or so colleagues that all have one thing in common, the desire to be in a room to talk about podcasting. Also, these people are engaged enough to want to do this for a whole Saturday at the end of summer. That's active interest, so I look forward to the conversation being focused and energized.

I'll let you know how it goes. 



Friday Jul 27, 2007

The Web Trends Map 2.0 is Ready for Perusal

This link, sent to me by Danny of Sun Projector fame:

http://www.informationarchitects.jp/ia-trendmap-2007v2

Is an essential add to this Information Architecture blog. It's a map of web trends based off the Tokyo Metro Map.

 Nice work from Information Architects, Inc. located in Japan.

Thursday Jun 21, 2007

Most Hated Internet Words

A poll conducted in London found that the word 'folksonomy' is one of the words spawned by the Internet that makes people 'want to bang your head on the keyboard'. I had no idea. I love that word. :)

Wednesday Jun 13, 2007

Warning Customers about Navigation Changes

I have a .MAC account with Apple. I use it because I have a couple of computers and I travel once in awhile.

.MAC is a useful tool. I got an email from Apple today about my .MAC account:

That is so great.

1) They told me about the change and how to address it. (tell me)

2) They told me what I could do to make it even easier for myself. (suggest simplifications)

and the last thing,

3) they thanked me for being a customer. (thank me)

When companies think these things through, they can really delight their customers. Score one for Apple and .MAC today. :)

Wednesday May 02, 2007

Information Architecture Summit 2007: What's Sticking 6 Weeks Later?

I attended the IA Summit 2007 in Las Vegas this year. I recently blogged about being Summit bound and the pre conference session on Managing Experience I attended. I have been meaning to post a summary of the conference but as things tend to get busy after attending a conference, six weeks have somehow magically slipped through my fingers. It's time to sum it up. :)

The IA Summit is definitely enhanced by attending the pre-conference sessions. You get more of a chance to meet colleagues and also to dig in deep on a topic as the seminars are either full or half day session. This year I attended 2 sessions. The first day was the Managing Experience session that I previously blogged about. Day two was a session presented by Peter Morville of Polar Bear fame about IA 3.0. He started the session out by saying that the session title was a bit tongue in cheek, however, it also had a level of meaning as web 2.0 has implications on and for information architecture.

The group had discussions about what we thought web 2.0 was and we examined some challenging quotes from people in the community. All in all the day turned out to be a provocative session that started all kinds of ideas churning in my head. In particular a challenge was issued by Mr. Morville that the 'innies' (meaning Information Architects that work inside organizations as opposed to being consultants) should write a book. All the perspectives are from the outside looking in and clearly there are many people working inside and could benefit from such a resource. (more on this topic later)

The conference started on Saturday. The conference has been over a weekend ever since it began. This year was no different. The theme for the year was enriching IA.

From the Summit web site:

Three trends:

\* Rich information: More and more information becomes available to users and systems alike and these days most of the information comes with meta data, built-in links to other information, and API's or micro-formats that allow for mash ups. How rich is your information?
\* Rich interaction: The web is moving towards a more interactive environment, and desktop apps are adapting web metaphors. How does this affect the way you design applications?
\* Rich relationships: We are all already linked through information and social computing is increasing the possibilities to exchange information. Is your information a social lubricant or is it an obstacle for building relationships?

It began with Joshua Prince-Ramus. A principal architect at REX that discussed much project work from his firm and showed that it was not through the willful imposition of architecture that solutions were derived from. It was more about creative and useful projects coming out of his firm and structures needed to be the way they were and designed as such because of 'dumb reasons'. I really like the practical nature he discussed in the work that his firm did. I also thought it very healthy to hear the working environment he created at his firm was one of equality and encouragement and of teamwork and collaboration. In fact, those attributes are essential. I personally believe this is the only way to get to solutions at work in our complex world so I like hearing stories about it being done in other domains than the digital space.

I learned much from the principal architect and I appreciated hearing stories about working creatively to solve problems. Even though I am a digital architect and not a licensed physical architect, I found the speech very relatable.

He also said something I really connected to, 'create the process to determine the best solution'. Problem solving people. That is what this is all about and it is the message I took away from our keynote speaker.

Session after session I listened, I learned, I discussed. These conferences are very good and help people doing the same kind of work connect to one another. Sure, we've got mailing lists and such but nothing is like being together in person.

It was definitely the year of texting and Twitter. Everyone was twittering away.

The venue was fascinating (as Las Vegas always is). I've never been there for a conference, only on vacation. It was pretty interesting to see that the experience design in Vegas is so tuned to the gambling experience that the conference rooms had terrible sight lines and not so comfortable chairs. People complained but I thought it was brilliant. Las Vegas is in every way about encouraging you to listen to its siren call. I pretty much avoided it because I thought the content was interesting, but I can see why people at conferences that don't have interesting content and have these uncomfortable/hard to see the speaker in rooms, it would encourage many people to forget about the conference and participate in the activity Vegas needs people to participate in.

It was also a very polarizing location. People definitely had an opinion about Vegas, good or bad.

My boss, Martin, was at the conference for a couple of pre-conference sessions. He brought cards along to promote designcomics.org. He shared some ideas with me that I wanted to summarize from the session he attended.

  • How important how people are tagging you is.....
  • Cold start communities issues (people are inherently selfish, something needs to be useful----give me something back)
  • Most powerful social networking tends to relate to objects (flickr, youtube)
  • One of the most powerful social networking site is amazon---a product page has up to 16 social networking components (e.g. product finding, product ratings, product rankings, product tags)

Some hi-lights from the conference:

  • The technique trading cards provided by nForm. These were brilliant and really got people talking. You had to trade cards to get a full set. Those that completed an entire set were up for fabulous prizes.
  • The amazing creative interpretations of wire frames by Chiara Fox. She knitted and she mobiled and she made art from wire frames. She showed off her feat at the Summit Saturday evening 'expo'.
  • Vegas, baby. (C'mon)
  • I was staying at the Tropicana hotel and the exhibit for Bodies was there. I had wanted to see it in MN (where I live) but it left before I made it. In Vegas, it was right down the hall. I had to go.
  • The Adaptive Path gathering at Quark's bar.
  • Insightful content
  • The mentoring booth
  • The IA Institute rubber duckies
  • and of course the continued community building the event fosters.

    If you are interested in finding out more about the conference many of the resources are shared.

    You can find many presentations from the conference on slideshare.

    Podcasts for the Summit.

    All the flickr photos you can handle can be seen under the iasummit07 or iasummit2007 tags.

    As Summit 2007 came to a close the 5 Minute Madness was full of inspirational and emotional moments and it was a good ending.

    Richard Vanguard, organizer for next year, stood up and gave us all a bit of a pep talk for Miami in 2008. The conference is moving out into April. It is usually late March. I think this will be a good change and I look forward to next spring.

    I am going to try and take on the challenge of Peter Morville for the 'innies' to write a book. I think as a collective group we could come up with something really useful for others. Let me know if you are interested in being involved in that project.

  • About

    Jennifer Bohmbach was the Sun.com Chief Information Architect from November 2004-November 2007. She left Sun in November 2007 to return to consulting.

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