The Seven Lies (of Information Architecture) in Chicago

Last week at An Event Apart Chicago hosted by Jeffrey Zeldman and Eric Meyer, I had the pleasure of meeting a huge number of approachable and impassioned attendees. I heard talks ranging from the high-level-inspiration kind to the get-your-hands-dirty kind that define the event.

For the first time, I gave a talk on The Seven Lies of Information Architecture. I wasn’t sure how it would fare, as I’m an IA myself, and contesting principles is always tricky. I got good feedback from some nice attendees and look forward to refining the ideas, providing more examples, as I develop the Lies. (more…)

The Areas Outside My Expertise

The first investigative design I did was in graduate school. I was in my early 20s and learning about information design, when I went to see a play. I don’t remember the name of the play, or even whether it was any good, but I do remember being struck by the elegance of the play’s program. Afterward, I tracked down the typeface—Scala Sans—and tried to mimic the line length and leading in the most important print piece I was working on at the time: my résumé. (more…)

Work As Idleness

I don’t speak French nor do I know my way around France. That’s mostly why I was happy to find myself fending for myself alone, by car, in the southern part of the country. There were a good number of navigational lessons to be learned — navigating unknown roads with the only way of communicating involving gestures and illustrations — but what struck me most was a kind of sign I saw. (more…)

How Not To Get Noticed

Later today, I’ll be giving a talk at WordCamp 2007 in San Francisco on “How Not To Get Noticed,” an analysis of the usability for WordPress. The analysis is part of a larger project I’ve been working on over the past few months, and I’m excited to talk about it with the people attending. (more…)

Friends in Generous Places

Today, I have only one Post-It Note in plain view. But it’s a rare day. I organize my week on 3×5-inch Post-Its on my living room wall. Post-Its at the top are priorities; Post-Its at the bottom are nice-to-haves; and all Post-Its are ordered chronologically from left to right. (more…)

You Say Goodbye

When it comes to answering the phone, I’ve never been one for ceremony. I learned early on that our family was nothing if not practical. When I visited friends’ houses, they would impress us with phone etiquette, “The Barrett residence; this is Brendan speaking,” in their flat eight-year-old voices. But the Danzico kids: we just answered with a simple “hello.” It got the job done. (more…)

Playing for a Living: An Interview with Luke Hohmann

Think back to the school gym, the backyard, the rec room or the playground—hours devoted to hide-and-seek, flashlight tag, Lite-Brite, The Game of Life, Shrinky Dinks and Big Wheel. No matter where childhood happened or what filled those salad days, one thing is consistent: it probably included games—and lots of them. (more…)

Just the Facts: How Technology is Changing the News

It’s 7 AM on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Bush is sending more troops to Iraq, Hillary is running for office, and New York is in for snow. We start out on a chilly 6 train toward midtown. Even though the subway trip is only a short 20 minutes, Paul (29, website director) wastes no time as he rides, reading and deleting e-mail that’s come in overnight. By the time we reach his office, only the e-mail “that matters” is left. (more…)

Selling Trash: An Interview with Justin Gignac

Justin Gignac goes out of his way to find garbage. Right off the street—from back alleys, from uptown, from downtown—he collects it late at night after his day job at an advertising firm. He boxes it up, labels it, then sells it for up to $100 via his company, NYC Garbage. Gignac has made trash trendy through a package design and marketing plan developed while he was a still a student at the School of Visual Arts. (more…)

How I Learned to Love Superlatives

When people say things like “it changed my life” or “it was the greatest experience ever,” I tend to distrust them. I guess I don’t trust superlatives in general; they seem like placeholder descriptions that preface what people are really trying to say. (more…)

Part Today, Sum Tomorrow

I’ve been invited to participate in the new tradition of CanUX 2006, the Canadian User Experience workshop. Not only is it about good things like user experience and interactivity, but it takes place in Banff, Canada, one of the lovliest places on the continent.I’ll be exploring the new role of editors and readers in a presentation, “Part Today, Sum Tomorrow” and just tickled about digging into the ideas with a small group. (more…)

Case Study: Boxes and Arrows

Boxes and Arrows is devoted to the practice, innovation, and discussion of design; including graphic design, interaction design, information architecture and even business design. Since 2001, it’s been a peer-written journal promoting contributors who want to provoke thinking, push limits, and teach a few things along the way.