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!

Peter Bogaards explains the cow:

I wanted to show how slow EU is with the adoption of IA. The cow being a good animal analogy for it, but there was another reason which relates to the Food & Cooking field.

The reason I made a connection with Food & Cooking was because I wanted to present something positive at the end. Something that euroIAs could connect with. The European cuisine has a long history, is very rich in its varieties and recognized/appreciated worldwide. It makes great UXs for people. The most distinctive feature of the Euro cuisine in relation to let's say the Chinese, Indian or Japanese cuisine is the use of ... dairy products (cheese, cream, etc).

That's why I selected the cow as well. :>)

kind regards

Peter J. Bogaards