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Archive for March, 2006

Ugly and disorderly as a strategy

I’ve been noticing a lot of buzz around the success of a few “ugly” web sites, like MySpace and specially how that has been ‘surprising‘ a lot of people.

In parallel, I’ve been experiencing – specially during the IA Summit – a change of perspective in terms of how our skills may be applied in the context of a new economy, supported by new technologies (AKA, Web 2.0).

During the Summit, it became obvious to me that a feeling I had been struggling with, is only natural, that we trully need to let it go and allow people to take charge of their experiences with products. Though I had been agreeing with that notion and reinforcing it, I had been reluctant to admit the real implications on my every-day work because of my traditional formalist attraction to creating structures.

The same way ‘ugly’ can be a visual strategy to achieve success with a particular design, disorderly structures (like, tag clouds, for example), can be just as successful in achieving success. I think it’s hard for information architects to embrace this as an approach, though there seems to be a general agreement on the principle.

Donna Maurer’s presentation during the IA summit on what Lakoff teaches us about basic level categories, as well as Rashmi Sinha’s continous thread about the social implications of categorization systems were the most striking take aways from the summit, because they made me feel more confortable about these “truths” on what organizing information means, outside of ‘categorization’ per se.

IA Summit 2006

I look forward to the IA Summit all year with great anticipation and once it is over I start to feel sad because it goes by too quickly. I am always surprised by how it exceeds my every expectation, and this year it did more than that: when it was over, I was already looking forward to and working on what is going to happen next year. That’s what the IA Summit is, my big annual burst of energy.

There were great sessions and excellent conversations, all trully meaningful exchanges. It’s a little odd to talk about the Summit because I feel like I use too many superlatives and neither of them are good enough to express how much I learned, enjoyed and cherished the time I spent with the people who were there.

I tried to record a few sessions and I will post them to Boxes & Arrows next week after I get my computer repaired and convert them to mp3. Also check B&A for sessions summaries soon.

I also took some notes (that don’t really make much sense out of context), but which I will publish when I get the presentation slides that they go with. For now, you can check out the links on del.icio.us using the keywords iasummit2006 and presentations to get a taste of them as they become available.

When I gather all my notes, I’ll also publish a list of books that were mentioned during presentations and recommended by people during the summit.

Best. Post-purchase. Message. Ever.

If you read Best. Shipping. Message. Ever. you already know how much I like CD Baby. But they didn’t stop there, check this out:

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: did you get your CD OK?
Date: Sun, 5 Mar 2006 14:09:18 -0800 (PST)
From: CD Baby

Livia –

Did you get your CD OK?
Was everything perfect?

If you liked a CD you bought, please write a little review on the musician’s CD Baby page? Just click the link below, and scroll to the bottom of the page. You’ll see where it says, “WRITE A REVIEW”. It only takes a minute and would mean a lot to the artists.

The CD we sent you was:

JOHNETTE NAPOLITANO: Sketchbook 2
GO TO: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/napolitano2

Also… if you like that CD, I think you’ll like some of our editor’s picks, here:

ROCK: Goth

http://www.cdbaby.com/style/110

ROCK: Grunge

http://www.cdbaby.com/style/111

Of course if anything was wrong, please let me know! Tell me it was ORDER # 1192544. I’d be glad to help.

Thanks!


Derek Sivers, CD Baby
http://cdbaby.com < -- new CDs added every day! email: cdbaby@cdbaby.com

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