Coming to terms
June 21, 2001
During the San Francisco cocktail hour discussion earlier this week, I thought Nick Ragouzis made an interesting comment: that for our profession to grow up, we need to do two things, 1) acknowledge sub-specialties and 2) be willing to say what we don't do. For example, to draw on my graphic design background, graphic designers are trained to do all sorts of design from packaging to publication design. However, once graphic designers start practicing they'll specialize in particular areas. So while they'll refer to themselves generically as "graphic designers," if you question them further, they'll generally specify their specialty area(s). And if a job is too far outside their skillset, they'll refer you to a different specialist—"what you really need is an illustrator, I do publication design...."

That thought only reinforces my feeling that it's time to stop using "information architecture" to refer to the wide range of tasks that make up a user-focused design process—or why I call myself a "user experience architect." Since the full reasons why seem to be turning into an essay rather than a simple posting, I'll ask you to stay tuned… ::

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