October 2005 Archives

Information Architecture for CEOs

In writing Ambient Findability, one of my many ulterior motives was to introduce information architecture concepts and value(s) to a mix of audiences completely unfamiliar with our IA Book or the IA Institute or the IA Summit.

So, I'm very excited by early signs of interest from outside. For instance, in past weeks, I've been interviewed by Entrepreneur Magazine (business owners) and Forrester Magazine (CEOs) and invited to speak at an upcoming conference on Open Source Intelligence (CIA, MI5) alongside Howard Bloom, Alvin and Heidi Toffler, and a potpourri of ambassadors, colonels, and brigadier generals.

And, most recently, the lemur book was reviewed by John Hagel, a Top 100 Business Guru who led the global strategy and electronic commerce practice of McKinsey for years. I love how the review begins...

Information architecture - the words themselves are enough to cause the eyes of most executives to glaze over. It's abstract, likely to be complicated and expensive and unlikely to produce near-term revenue, much less profit, impact. "Ambient Findability" - these words won't help the average executive much either. Even my Microsoft Word application doesn't like findability - it keeps suggesting that I change it to fundability (there's a certain perverse logic here because, as I will suggest below, findability will lead to fundability).

...and how it ends:

Morville provides us with a very well-written, even eloquent book, drawing much needed attention to a key dimension of competition going forward. Business executives of all types will profit from reading this provocative book.

After reading John Hagel's glowing review, I'm ready to rename the book Information Architecture for CEOs. Or at least suggest it as an entry term along with lemur book, af, ambient fundability, (c)ia, 0596007655, and ia for your mom.

So, thanks to everyone who's helping to make the lemur more findable outside its natural habitat of trees and leaves.

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Boston Lemur Party

I'm headed to Boston for the NN/g User Experience conference, and I'm really looking forward to the Ambient Findability Book Party. You are invited. Thanks to Endeca for sponsoring this event!

The book is doing well. O'Reilly has ordered a second printing, the reviews are heart-warmingly positive, and the lemur is surprisingly ubiquitous. Thanks for all your support!

Strange Connections

With Doctor David Weinberger as keynoter and Vancouver as location, the 7th IA Summit should be fun. Don't miss the Call for Papers!

As a postscript to authority, Gene Smith has posted my tagsonomy interview.

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I just pre-ordered my copy of Everyware by Adam Greenfield. This is one book I can't wait to read. When I was writing Ambient Findability, All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace was truly a source of inspiration.

I haven't found many others who are writing intelligently about the intersection of user experience and ubiquitous computing. I read Mike Kuniavsky's Orange Cone and everything Bruce Sterling writes about blobjects and spime.

So, while we're waiting for Everyware, what else should we be reading?

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European Information Architecture

It sounds like the first European IA Summit was a big success. Though I'm still waiting to hear back on the symbolic meaning of the cow, I enjoyed reading Peter Bogaards' articulation of an IA Strategy for Europe. Here's an excerpt:

A second important strength of European IAs relates to the vivid and mixed multilingual and multicultural landscape they live in. European IAs understand more than others that language and culture significantly determine the perception of the world and how perceptions are based upon vast belief and value systems. For example, IAs from Europe know that whatever classification system is used - from simple to complex, from controlled vocabularies through taxonomies/thesauri to ontologies - underneath there are many biases. What George Lakoff has proven in his classic 'Women, Fire and Dangerous Things', many European IAs understand by nature.
Especially for globally branded companies, their deep understanding of the meaning and value of language and culture can contribute to a successful internationalization and globalization of an online presence. And not in the last place, a sensitivity to the multilingual and multicultural aspects makes European IAs important players and leaders of multidisciplinary teams.

Whenever clients ask me for advice about internationalization and globalization, this is basically what I tell them. Hire a European!

Strange Connections

For those of us who value the ability to choose our news, it's worth checking out The Tower from Consumers Union (Disclosure: CU is a former client).

The Interaction Design Association recently incorporated as a member-supported, non-profit organization. Congrats!

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Findability Friday

One of the best things about the Web is that during a heated argument with friends or family, you can find the right answer and prove them wrong on the spot, as this Dilbert cartoon illustrates beautifully.

Another great thing about the Web is that if you look carefully, you can often find free beer. Seriously, if you're in or around Ann Arbor today, stop by Q LTD for the first ever lemur launch party.

But make sure to keep a watchful eye on the sky. According to UFO Maps, there was a sighting in A2 recently. Make sure you find them, before they find you.

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Fresh Content

Yesterday, A List Apart published a brief excerpt from Ambient Findability that's called Findability Hacks, and I published a cheeky Semantics article named Authority. And to top off the day, Craig Newmark of craigslist wrote a review in which he recommends the lemur. Very cool.

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Ambient Findability Roundup

The book has been publicly available for less than a week. Only a few days if you count shipping. I'm dying for feedback, but hardly anyone's had a chance to read it. I've been spending way too much time checking the Amazon Sales Rank and scouring Technorati, Google Blog Search, and PubSub for reviews. So, I might as well share what I've found:

Towards Findability by Tim Boyd.

Ambient Findability and the Google Economy by Casey Bisson.

Must Read: Ambient Findability by Casey Bisson.

What We Find Changes Who We Become by Gary Hayes.

Ambient Findability by Raymond Brigleb.

And I did notice the Lemur at Web 2.0 (hiding just beneath the fold). So, thanks for the generous reviews and links and emails. Please keep them coming!

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Top Ten Reasons Why I Love My Treo

As I've written before, I have never been an early adopter. I'm more of a skeptical, fast-following frugalist. And, when I did finally succumb in the late 90s to the lure of a Palm Pilot, I found it to be worse than useless.

So, it was quite difficult for me last year to commit $350 upfront plus $90 a month for a Treo 600 Smartphone. I cost-justified it (to myself) as an authorial investment. After all, how could I write a book about ambient findability without one? But now, a year later, I'm absolutely hooked.

So, in gratitude, here are the top ten reasons why I love my Treo:

  1. I can check email at home without my wife catching me (usually).
  2. I can synchronize with my MS Outlook Calendar and Contacts. This means that from anywhere at anytime, I can check where I'm supposed to be, and then call ahead to let them know I'll be late.
  3. I can surf the Web and post articles to my blog while lying on the beach.
  4. Thanks to my Atari Retro card, I can play Adventure, Asteroids, Breakout, Centipede, Missile Command, Pong, and Yar's Revenge while pretending to check email.
  5. I can call my friends and family at work while I'm hiking in Yosemite.
  6. It's a great-sounding MP3 player.
  7. It's way sexier than an iPod. Well, at least it's more intelligent and has a better personality.
  8. I can email reminders to myself, so I can forget about important tasks until I check email.
  9. While performing serious academic research in libraries, I can photograph the relevant pages of books, so I don't have to wait in line to use the photocopier.
  10. I can check email while driving. This also belongs in the top ten reasons why I hate my Treo, but that's another list.

Anyway, I'm happy with my Treo 600, and I don't plan to upgrade until they release one with an embedded GPS, so I can use Google Maps to navigate in real-time (but not while driving).

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