Saturday, October 11, 2008

Information Architect?

I just returned from the IDEA 2008 Conference which was held in Chicago, Illinois. One of the interesting things about this conference was that while many people were there to discuss the field of Information Architecture, no one seemed to feel confident in there ability to articulate what Information Architecture is. After spending several days interacting in workshops and listening to lectures, it is clear that there is high value in what these people were talking about but it was difficult to carve out Information Architecture as a separate and meaningful discipline from Design. If anything Information Architecture is the core of sound design. I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you want to have good design, you must do the things that the Information Architects were discussing at this conference but if you did just the things the Information Architects were discussing you would not necessarily end up with a good design.

You may be wondering right about now why I've chosen to ramble on about this on my genealogy blog. Well one of my basic beliefs as I've analyzed the genealogy space over the last 4 years or so is that sound design, including a solid understanding of the information architecture of genealogy is largely missing in the software tools that are in the market today. I hope to delve into this more over the coming weeks.


Lynda Chiotti said...

I couldn't agree more (as an IA myself) that an understanding of the architecture of genealogy information is vital to understand. I would go further (as a champion of user-centered design) and say that a true understanding of the needs and behavior of genealogists and other interested users is essential to creating an information space that is useful for them.

Shoebox Genealogy said...

I look forward to hearing more of your insights on genealogy architecture. I think the best genealogy program out there is PAF, even after noting all it's shortcomings.

It's simple, fast, basic, free, intuitive, and easy to master.

I don't see the same concepts being included in New Family Search, and even less in FamilyTree.

With every new update and revision, it seems like we're moving further away from inuitive, fast, useful genealogy software.

Is there a way to return to simplicity in genealogy architecture?