Strategy (a Euro IA theme)

It’s fun to track trends in IA. A lot of IA think­ing orig­i­nates in user cen­tred design. The case for bal­anc­ing user goals with busi­ness objec­tives has been made for quite a while (one of the most clear exam­ples is in Jesse James Garrett’s dia­gram). The con­cept of a strate­gic IA has been gain­ing crit­i­cal mass. At the sum­mit, there were plen­ty of speak­ers point­ing out the impor­tance of being able to make sure your designs are per­ceived as rel­e­vant with­in a busi­ness con­text. This means (some if not all) IAs will have to come to grips with icky sub­jects such as ROI and con­ver­sion. But it’s also an excel­lent oppor­tu­ni­ty to final­ly jus­ti­fy doing more research. Mar­ket­ing has got­ten this right a while ago. Research before and after the actu­al real­iza­tion of an archi­tec­ture will enable IAs to make more informed design choic­es and mea­sure the suc­cess of those same choic­es when the archi­tec­ture is built. Get­ting com­fort­able with tools and tech­niques rang­ing from ana­lyt­ics, online mar­ket­ing exper­i­ments to sur­veys, ethno­graph­ic enquiries etc, will be essen­tial for strate­gic IAs. After all, it’s all about the $$$ €€€.

Speak­ers on strat­e­gy dur­ing the sum­mit: Eric Reiss, Olly Wright, Ariel Guersen­z­vaig and Jared Folk­mann.

Final thoughts

  1. Eric Reiss is wor­ried about strate­gic IAs loos­ing touch with tra­di­tion­al ‘lit­tle IA’ tac­tics. Is it real­is­tic to expect IAs to be both expert strate­gists and tacticians? 
  2. When we start to talk about users in stead of cus­tomers, won’t we loose sight of what they want to buy and only think of what we want to sell them?

This is the first post on themes spot­ted dur­ing the Euro IA Sum­mit 2006, oth­er posts will be on social search, process & deliv­er­ables, involv­ing the client and acces­si­bil­i­ty. My first post-sum­mit post can be found here.

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Kars Alfrink

Kars is a designer, researcher and educator focused on emerging technologies, social progress and the built environment.