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May 24, 2005: How Many of Us?

A colleague from Joe knows writes:

Hi Lou:

I have a simple--but not easy--task ahead of me. I'm trying to quantify the size of the U.S. market that includes information architects, web designers, and UI and UX specialists. Beyond looking at their respective associations, where might I go for this information? The U.S. Department of Labor does not yet have a number, even for IAs.

Can you help point me in the right direction?

Great question. And I'm not sure where to begin. Any advice out there?

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Comment: Walter Underwood (May 26, 2005)

I would start by counting the attendance at seminars given by famous IA professionals. Then do the same for a few specialist areas where we do have estimates. Get an approximate attendee/practitioner ratio accross different disciplines and apply it to IA.

Might want to avoid areas where there are official certifications. Those might have a different ratio.

Good luck finding those famous IA folk, though.


Comment: Austin (May 27, 2005)

In politics, an old adage suggests that for every letter you receive in the office, there are 100 constituents at home that feel the same way.

I'd guess that maybe 1 in 10 poractitioners attend seminars, and that maybe 1 in around 100 attend the summit (maybe even 1 in 500).

Comment: Peter (May 28, 2005)

"information architects, web designers, and UI and UX specialists". The number must be huge (if you include 'web designers').

First, how do we define this category? The best way is probably by self identification: if you call yourself a web designer, you are one. In that case, there must be millions of them in the US alone.

Second, the market for what? Buying books? Defining that might make it a lot easier.

Comment: Rachel (May 28, 2005)

I think on the AIFIA-members list (back when it was AIFIA) there was a similar query - someone came up with a figure of 400 IAs, but I don't remember if that was from a survey, from the number of subscribers to the IAI-members discussion list or just a made up figure. The archives on the list might be helpful

I don't think there's a problem finding the 'famous' IA folks - it's finding the *non*-famous folks, since they seem to hide out in many spots. It's a little ironic, though - when asked to identify how many of 'us' are there, we can't...

Comment: Lou (May 28, 2005)

Of course, lots of people are doing IA work but don't call themselves IAs. Do we count them as well?

Austin, by your count we'd probably have at least 40,000 IAs (IA Summit 2005 attendance x 100). At first glance, I thought this sounded way high; but thinking about it some more, maybe that's not so far off...

Comment: Jeff (May 31, 2005)

You could also count the # of open positions on monster.com or hotjobs.com for a similar profession that you have a headcount for. If you can determine the ratio of professionals:job postings, you could try multiplying it by the # of IA job postings.

Comment: b0b (May 31, 2005)


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