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Apr 23, 2002: V-IA Day?

I heard Alan Cooper give a brief talk Sunday at the CHI2002/AIGA-ED Forum here in Minneapolis. The theme of his talk was "we have won" ("we" can be interpreted in many ways obviously, from interaction designers specifically to experience designers in general).

Alan confessed that it's hard to truly know that we've won anything, as today looks a lot like yesterday. But his main point is that declaring victory is something that can really be done at any time. Your situation hasn't necessarily changed, but your attitude certainly can. And if it does, so will the attitude that others have about you and your work. Flaunting victory can help change your concept from something that would be nice to have to something that people must have.

Perhaps we information architects should declare victory?

As we know from polling studies, everyone loves a winner. Should we make a claim that we've won? The rapid growth of the field is potential supporting evidence. "Success stories" are another. We might even predict the full adoption of IA by typically lunk-headed types--such as corporate higher-ups, document management companies, etc.--as a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.


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Comment: Myra (Apr 23, 2002)

Ah yes, the power of words, attitudes, and intentions. We've all seen its apparent magic in action. And it also helps if you add a bit of "if you build it, they will come." As in taking actions to fulfill intentions. You've gotta believe. (How do you not sound new-agey/'69 Mets with this topic?)

Who likes complainers and naysayers who seem to perpetuate the same miserable scenarios ad nauseam? Some do, I suppose. On more than one occasion, I've dropped out of a discussion list because I couldn't stomach the in-fighting. (A related question: how do you not sound grossly self-righteous with this topic?) Is our marketplace going to foster a service industry whose practitioners aren't even fully on board?

So why not declare victory, and live into that victory? (Lou, are you and I the only Pollyannas out there?)

Comment: ~brian (Apr 24, 2002)

Well, we'll see Monday. If I can convince a certain someone that he needs an aspiring IA in his position for an "entry-level web designer." If I get the job, then we have won. Of course, he'll be better off with me (I'm a positive). But, now I have to convince him that my low number of active URLs that are augmented by skteches, layouts, site maps, and good ideas, are good for the future usability of his company's products. If this happens, then we have won. Here's hoping he knows who Jakob Neilsen is. Maybe he reads O'Reily books, even? ;-)

Comment: Derek Rogerson (Apr 25, 2002)

Here's another tip:

Make up a name for a new kind of information architecture and hold a conference on it. Presto,
youíre an expert.

Comment: Derek Rogerson (Apr 25, 2002)

And even some more:

Rail against the academy but complain when academics donít invite you to their conferences.

Interview all your IA-friends because you have little else to offer.

Quote yourself at the beginning of every chapter in your new book on digital architecture.

Theorize endlessly about a medium/discipline which is just getting started, but donít criticize it that much (itís just getting started!)

Continuosly remark how information architecture is easily classifiable into the categories of innovative and non-innovative. Then classify yourself as innovative.

Donít follow your bliss; follow a reading list.

Pretend to stop practicing information architecture, and tell everyone it was for economic reasons.

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