Andrew Hinton said something very much like this at an IA Summit: An information architect should treat content like furniture. They are responsible for organizing that furniture in a way that maximizes both access to, and use of the furniture. And they need to do it in a way that minimizes the chances that the homeowner will trip over one piece of furniture as she moves towards another.
I used to work for a CEO who loathed cynicism. He’d growl and snort about how certain people needed to get on board and get with the program OR ELSE!
Me? I go out of my way to involve the cynics. I love â€˜em.
There’s nothing wrong with talking about things in a general way. There’s nothing wrong with expecting specific things from other people. There’s everything wrong with doing both at the same time.
I stole this from Steven Dean, a guy I worked with back at washingtonpost-Newsweek Interactive. He told me about an organization he worked for that would call in a Baskins-Robbins cart every time something really bad was going on with the company (layoffs, losing a big client, etc.)
When a project goes bad and I need to talk to an individual about it, I try to follow a Pyramid for Effective Communication:
Working with smart people is always better than working with pinheads, but directing their efforts has its own unique set of challenges. I find that a really smart team is a lot like a pride of hungry lions. The group will chew up any problem they encounter with reckless abandon. But they tear into the wrong problem with just as much gusto as they would attack the right problem. It’s up to you to decide if the team is eating something that will actually help you achieve your goals.
In a list of the top things we don’t spend enough time doing, clearly defining the key problem a project must solve ranks right up there with flossing and hand washing.
“Users don’t trust us,” somebody will say.
“Yeh,” somebody else will agree, “We better be more transparent.”
“Hey, let’s launch a blog to talk about our decisions and let users be part of the conversation!” the dude in the corner might say.
This tip came out of my experiences working with Matt Holmes at PBS. Matt seemed to think that Nike’s three-word slogan “Just Do It” took too long to get to the point.
I’m not really prone to analysis paralysis, so “Just Do” for me doesn’t mean that I should be more decisive. But after I make certain kinds of decisions I have been known to hesitate when I know that the decision is correct, but not necessarily wise.
Babies poop a lot. Everybody makes jokes about that during the pregnancy, but it has to be experienced to appreciate the true scope of it. Because first-time parents are usually so busy freaking out about everything, their baby’s poop ends up being just another item on a long list. The subtleties of infant waste production go unappreciated.
A baby’s first bowel movement tends to be tar-like and black. This can be disturbing for new parents, but they adjust quickly. Productivity increases and so does fluidity, but parents adjust again, even as deliveries start showing up in unnaturally bright shades of yellow.