RE: What happened to information architecture and design

Subject: RE: What happened to information architecture and design
From: <mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2016 19:46:39 -0400

Enchantment is the privilege of youth. In old age, we can take some pleasure
in enchantment remembered, and in enchantment observed in our children and
grandchildren, but that is sentimentality, not enchantment.

I'm with you on graphics, though, and I wish I saw them used effectively
more often. But again, they work when the work, when they are the right
solution to the paradox of sensemaking for a particular reader. We must
conquer the curse of knowledge to know when to use them and to know how to
use them. They are not enchanting merely because they are graphics.

Mark

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+mbaker=analecta -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+mbaker=analecta -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf
Of Janoff, Steven
Sent: Tuesday, March 29, 2016 6:45 PM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com; Robert Lauriston
Subject: RE: What happened to information architecture and design

This is an excellent point, but it still doesn't get at what's the answer
for me.

I think what's missing for me in contemporary technical communication is a
sense of "enchantment" that let's say you would get when opening a book from
the 1800's or the early 1900's and you'd be immediately transported into a
different realm, at the same time that you would be educated.

Now look, I know "enchantment" is a little far afield of the goal of tech
comms and the budget, you would think. I'm not saying we should be writing
books of fairy tales.

But I think the big thing that's missing is the sense of the visual. And
I'm not talking about gratuitous images. For example, today, most images
are simply plugged into their appropriate spot wholesale. They're separate
things. They're referred to. In some ways they're not inseparable from the
text or from what's being discussed.

I want an image to be woven into the fabric of the piece, essential to the
meaning of the piece and the composition. Otherwise, why use it in the
first place? And images can be so powerful.

In fact the image can be the focal point of the piece.

I'm not talking about something like IKEA, with the assembly instruction
sheets. Those are great, but that's one end of the spectrum.

If I open a copy of "Treasure Island" and I see one Wyeth illustration, that
can alter my entire experience of the story. In a good way. And that's
great. That's what I want. I want the image to set the stage and be woven
into the actual text of what's being communicated.

The problem with most infographics is, the image usually dominates, and the
text is an afterthought. That's because those are typically designed by
artists, for whom the image is paramount and text is just something they
have to drag along. Maybe I'm characterizing those folks in the wrong way,
but it seems to me their concern regarding text would be more for typography
and how it fits into the visual composition of the piece rather than the
meaning of the text itself. (Or maybe they're only interested in the
meaning as it informs the image. They're not interested in the meaning for
its own sake.)

This is a lot of mumbo-jumbo and I'd much rather wait until I can find
something concrete that I can link to that will illustrate what I'm trying
to talk about. I had actually looked at the examples that Mark linked to
several weeks ago, on my own, and frankly (no offense, Mark), I don't like
them. The reason is that they are all linear and (almost) all 100% text.
They remind me of the command-line interface reference manuals I used to
write 20+ years ago. Developer types probably love them, but writer-types
do not. And that's the dilemma for folks on this list and in this field:
there are the developers, and there are the writers, and it seems like never
the twain shall meet. At least in terms of artists' sensibilities.

The conveyance of information should be an *experience*. That's what makes
it memorable, that's what makes the learning stick. And that's what makes
the learning enjoyable, by the way.

If I come across something I can find that represents what I'm talking
about, I'll post it. But based on the things we've all said, I might be
conducting that search for a while. So don't hold your breath.

Steve

--
On Tuesday, March 29, 2016 1:49 PM, Robert Lauriston wrote:

People think less about theories after they have spawned tools and
procedures, especially when only portions of a theory turn out to be useful
in practice.

A lot of Horn's theories are embodied in the design of mainstream technical
documentation authoring tools, even for those of us who don't use DITA:
modular writing of topics, organization of topics using map-like structures,
differentiating between procedural, conceptual, and reference topics,
integrated graphics, etc.

On Tue, Mar 29, 2016 at 1:19 PM, Janoff, Steven <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com>
wrote:
>... Nor does the money answer explain why the ideas have not continued to
be discussed and at least bandied about within the community. It's not like
everyone is saying, "Well, I'll never be able to do anything like that -- we
don't have the budget -- so I give up even thinking about it."

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Visit TechWhirl for the latest on content technology, content strategy and
content development | http://techwhirl.com

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-leave -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com


Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit
http://www.techwhirl.com/email-discussion-groups/ for more resources and
info.

Looking for articles on Technical Communications? Head over to our online
magazine at http://techwhirl.com

Looking for the archived Techwr-l email discussions? Search our public
email archives @ http://techwr-l.com/archives

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Visit TechWhirl for the latest on content technology, content strategy and content development | http://techwhirl.com

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-leave -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com


Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit
http://www.techwhirl.com/email-discussion-groups/ for more resources and info.

Looking for articles on Technical Communications? Head over to our online magazine at http://techwhirl.com

Looking for the archived Techwr-l email discussions? Search our public email archives @ http://techwr-l.com/archives


References:
What happened to information architecture and design: From: Janoff, Steven
Re: What happened to information architecture and design: From: th
RE: What happened to information architecture and design: From: mbaker
RE: What happened to information architecture and design: From: Janoff, Steven
Re: What happened to information architecture and design: From: Lin Sims
RE: What happened to information architecture and design: From: Janoff, Steven
Re: What happened to information architecture and design: From: Jonathan Baker
RE: What happened to information architecture and design: From: Janoff, Steven
Re: What happened to information architecture and design: From: Robert Lauriston
RE: What happened to information architecture and design: From: Janoff, Steven

Previous by Author: RE: What happened to information architecture and design
Next by Author: RE: For the love of spreadsheets
Previous by Thread: RE: What happened to information architecture and design
Next by Thread: RE: What happened to information architecture and design


What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads


Sponsored Ads