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How to Make Sense of Any Mess51:13 with Abby Covert
In a world where everything is getting more complex and we are all experiencing personal information overload, there is a growing need to understand the tools and processes that are used to make sense of complex subjects and situations. These tools aren't hard to learn or even tough to implement but they are also not part of many people's education. Information Architecture is a practice of making sense. A set of principles, lessons and tools to help anyone make sense of any thing. Whether you are - a student or professional, a designer, technologist or small business owner, an intern or executive - learn how information architecture can help you make sense of your next endeavor.
[MUSIC] 0:00 So hi, my name is Abby. 0:03 I'm going to be talking to you guys today about messes. 0:04 And I think that this is a very practical talk, 0:08 but I also think it's kind of a personal one. 0:11 So I wanna start with talking to you guys a little bit about my parents. 0:13 My parents are what they call baby boomers. 0:18 And that means that this year, they have the privilege of retiring. 0:20 They actually did it on time. 0:25 It was super exciting. 0:26 It sort of felt like they were winning the life lottery as an American that 0:28 they could retire at the age they were supposed to. 0:32 And as a retirement present to themselves, they bought a tow behind trailer. 0:34 And they decided that they were going to see the United States. 0:40 Because they had worked so hard and during the time of most of their life they had 0:43 lived on a tiny Caribbean island, which they actually raised me on. 0:48 So they had not seen everything, and they wanted to. 0:52 So they got this little trailer home, and they set out for their first journey, 0:54 which was 57 nights away from home, in this little tow behind trailer. 0:58 And at, like towards the end of the journey, 1:04 I met up with them in Philadelphia, and I asked them like, how's it going? 1:06 What's it like? You gotta cook all your meals like on 1:09 this rinky dink stove. 1:11 My mom's a brilliant cook my dad like loves reading and 1:13 he couldn't bring very many books with him, 1:18 so he was experimenting with digital reading for the first time. 1:20 So there's all these things that I was like really interested and 1:22 like, how's that going? 1:25 How's it, how does it feel? 1:26 And I was really shocked by what they told me. 1:28 They told me that even though they were sleeping on, 1:30 like, what most of us would never consider sleeping on for 50 days, bench seating. 1:33 Even though they were eating by camp stove every night. 1:37 Even though when it got rainy and whatever their plans had changed, the thing that 1:41 they had the hardest time with, was consistent access to the internet. 1:45 >> [LAUGH] >> When did this happen, you guys? 1:49 >> [LAUGH]. 1:54 >> LIke when did my mom start caring about being able to 1:55 check her email multiple times a day? 1:58 >> [LAUGH]. 2:01 >> When did my mom have two email addresses? 2:03 One of which she uses for marketing e-mail, and 2:05 one of which uses with just her friends. 2:08 >> [LAUGH] When did this all occur, right? 2:10 So I'm in Philadelphia, I'm seeing my parents and 2:15 it was like, it was like a scene out of the Wonder Years. 2:17 My parents were doing this tour of the United States, 2:19 they're going to see all their like, 2:21 college friends that they hadn't seen in 25 years, 30 years 40 years in some cases. 2:22 And we stopped in Philadelphia and we're having this Mother's Day brunch. 2:27 And it's in the backyard of this guy Phil, who they went to college with. 2:31 And Phil has what they have all decided is the coolest stuff in the world. 2:35 Because Phil has an at home weather monitoring system. 2:40 And more, so Phil has an app that he runs his whole house on. 2:45 And when you walk into Phil's home, he has a huge plasma screen TV 2:49 that has photos of them in college that he digitized. 2:53 I mean this was just like they were all just standing there staring at 2:57 picture after picture after picture of themselves. 3:00 And it was this really amazing moment of watching them all kind of 3:03 look at what's changed since the last time they had all been together. 3:07 And so we're sitting in the backyard, and my father is talking to my godfather. 3:11 Yeah, right. 3:16 Like that moment when your dad is talking to your god dad. 3:17 And you're like, well, I gotta listen in on this. 3:19 What are they gonna be talking about? 3:21 And they're talking about what's changed. 3:23 And they're talking about how my god sister had just moved to Israel but 3:25 it really didn't feel like she was that far away because of Facebook, you know, 3:29 things like that. 3:34 And they were talking about how work had become really difficult at the end of 3:35 their time in the working world, because the kids were coming up from behind. 3:39 And at this one really critical moment, 3:43 my dad kinda kicked back, and he says, Slippy, I've got to ask you. 3:45 When they started saying information age, 3:51 when we were kids, did you know what they were talking about? 3:54 And Slippy goes, nah. 3:57 But I didn't really care. 4:00 But I guess we're in the middle of it now, huh? 4:02 And my dad says literally, 4:04 the most important quote I've ever heard my dad say. 4:06 He says, what the fuck is the information age? 4:10 [LAUGH] You guys, I spit beer out of my nose. 4:13 I mean, I was just like, oh my God, and 4:18 it was one of these moments where I've been talking to my clients and 4:23 my colleagues, and my students, and my friends about how messy it is. 4:26 And how weird it is. 4:32 And how kinda strange it is to be in the time that we're in right now. 4:33 But it wasn't until my dad and my god dad were like lamenting about it. 4:38 And also kind of dismissing it as something that they didn't really even 4:43 have to understand. 4:47 That it became really personal and 4:48 it was sort a like, man this is kind of a big fucking mess. 4:50 And he knows it, they know it, what are we all doing about it? 4:56 So I want to talk to you guys about how the world is mess. 5:00 I know that seems really simple. 5:04 It might even seem kind of elementary. 5:05 But I think that that's, like, one of the most important points. 5:07 Is that we can't make it be something that's so 5:10 insurmountable that we can't get through it. 5:13 It has to be something that we can do. 5:15 It has to be something that we can kind of laugh at. 5:18 It has to be something we can dismiss in the backyard with a friend we 5:20 haven't seen in 40 years. 5:24 But it's also a large part of kind of how we run our lives, right? 5:25 Our world is a total mess, and a large part of that mess is made 5:29 of what I wanna talk to you guys about today, which is information. 5:34 And information is something that's always been with us, but it's kind of 5:37 gotten really complicated in the ways that we use it in more recent times. 5:41 So the reasons that I think it's important for us to tackle this now, is because of 5:48 something that we've been talking about as designers and technologists for decades. 5:51 Back in the late 90s, Richard Saul Wurman warned us all that we 5:56 were facing a tsunami of information that was coming at us. 5:59 And I'm here to tell you, we're not done yet. 6:02 It's still coming. 6:05 There's still this huge amount of like crushing, mind-blowing, minutia. 6:07 And every day, I mean, God, the Apple announcement? 6:12 That little fucking watch! 6:15 >> [LAUGH]. 6:17 >> Another little tiny glass box that we're gonna have to have whole 6:18 conferences devoted to people learning how to design for, and make sense of. 6:22 Right? 6:27 Another fucking, we didn't even figure out the five that we already have and 6:27 now we've added another one that's smaller, and more complicated for 6:31 pudgy fingers that we all really have, right? 6:34 So, what do I mean when I talk about a mess? 6:37 I am literally talking about any situation where something is confusing or 6:40 full of difficulty. 6:45 This can be a conversation with your spouse. 6:46 This can be a multi-billion dollar whatever project. 6:49 Right? 6:53 Everything can be a mess. 6:54 Everything can also be not so much of a mess. 6:56 Right? 6:59 But there's something between those two states that we 7:00 just aren't quite understanding fully in terms of how rapidly things are changing. 7:03 And I think that that's an important point to work towards changing. 7:08 So what are these messes made of? 7:10 They're made of two things, information and people. 7:13 People make information, so that works out pretty well. 7:18 But we don't tend to think about it this way, right? 7:20 We talk about things like big data, social media, 7:23 all these things like they're diseases. 7:26 Like they're something that's loose that we have to protect our children from. 7:28 And like, batten down the hatches. 7:31 Get into the cellar, the big data is coming. 7:33 Like no. 7:35 We're making it, right? 7:36 This is, this starts from somebody going hey, you know it be really neat if we 7:37 had a device that tracked how many steps we took. 7:41 Yeah, okay. Well, then we have pedometers, right? 7:44 It was only so long before all the sudden we're tracking everything that we do, 7:45 everything that we consume. 7:49 But towards what end? 7:51 What are we doing with it? 7:53 It's just adding to this pile. 7:53 In 2014, the average American will spend 40 plus hours a month 7:58 wading through what they're calling places made of information. 8:01 So this is everything from a book that you read in paper, 8:06 to a book you read on your Kindle, to a website that you might encounter, 8:10 to an interactive display in a store. 8:13 All of these things that are not things the way we've thought about things for 8:16 the longest time. 8:21 And the people who make these things, 8:23 all of a sudden, they're kinda out of their silo. 8:24 And it's like, oh, my thing is connected to all these other things, 8:28 I actually have to pay attention to it now. 8:31 Right? So the stakes are really high. 8:34 Along with those 40 hours a week, we also make approximately this number is 8:37 mind blowing to me, 70 conscience decisions every single day, individually. 8:40 We conscientiously decide like the little devil and 8:46 the little angel on our shoulder. 8:48 Should we do this? 8:49 Should we do that? 8:50 70 times a day. 8:51 That doesn't even count all the subconscious times that you're 8:53 making choices. 8:56 The things that you just do. 8:57 Right? This is when we 8:59 actually have a moment of cognitive thought about it. 8:59 So we're all experiencing this information overload. 9:03 And with that comes something that Richard Saul Wurman also said, 9:06 which is we all have information anxiety. 9:09 And that anxiety is not something that when you get into the user 9:12 experience industry or the design industry, or 9:16 even the technology industry, that you get away from, right? 9:18 You're just creating the bubble for you to be comfortable in. 9:22 There's still anxieties that are past that. 9:25 The person that you meet for 9:27 that next project that you don't understand the business of. 9:28 That person that does a job that's so similar to your job that you now have to 9:31 work with, and work out the distributing differences between. 9:35 We all face this anxiety of kind of the problems surmounting us. 9:38 It kinda looks like this sometimes, starts really simple. 9:43 We have to have a website. 9:46 Well, duh! Everybody needs to have a website. 9:48 This is really simple. 9:50 Most people actually already do have a website if you're working with a company. 9:51 But once you say we have to have a website, 9:54 it's like the floodgates open up and all these other things start happening. 9:56 Like, but our users still like printed things. 10:01 So don't go thinking you're gonna take our print budget and 10:05 make something not print, because that's not gonna happen. 10:08 Right? Like, just so we're clear? 10:11 Right, so now your message is just like, a little bit bigger, okay. 10:12 Same money, two things used to be one thing. 10:16 Got it. 10:18 All right, I can work with that. 10:19 That website really needs to talk to that inventorying system now. 10:21 I mean it would be useless if it didn't talk to the inventory system. 10:25 I mean what are we, what are we, in a cave? 10:28 Its gotta talk to the system. 10:29 Its gotta have data. 10:31 Oh well duh! 10:32 Of course, its gotta have data, its gotta have inventory. 10:33 Okay well, that system's kinda complicated to connect with. 10:35 All right, well now the mess is just a little bit bigger. 10:38 And it keeps going. 10:40 And it has to be easy to update without a technologist. 10:42 Don't forget that, because we don't have technologists here. 10:44 You guys can't just build this thing and then run away. 10:47 You gotta be here and 10:49 put the stuff in it, or make it something that we can put the stuff in. 10:50 And now we have this other requirement thing that's looming. 10:53 It's not a just a website. 10:56 It needs to have a robust content management system. 10:57 One that a non-technologist is also comfortable with, and 10:59 doesn't have anxiety about interacting with. 11:03 And it continues. 11:05 Oh, and by the way, everything actually needs to be in five languages. 11:07 That's not gonna be a problem, is it? 11:10 Oh my gosh, it's like, can you feel the anxiety? 11:11 Can you feel it? 11:15 Does this sound like anybody's job? 11:16 Or just my job? 11:17 Couple of you? 11:19 Okay. Good. And it keeps going, and 11:19 the contents should really be controlled by our brand. 11:22 I mean, that's obvious, right? 11:25 Like, we don't want anybody to be brand jacking with us. 11:26 We don't want any words on our website that we don't want to see related to 11:29 our brand. 11:33 But, our users also need to be able to create content. 11:34 So if you can make that a thing, like where they can create content but 11:37 we can still control it, cuz we don't want like, bad stuff to be made by them. 11:40 This is, yeah. 11:46 I mean really, this is true. 11:47 This happens on every single project, and it just surmounts from there, right? 11:48 The next thing it's, you know, the next thing, the next person needs, 11:51 and the next thing. 11:54 Oh, the CEO hates flat design, but 11:55 the creative director thinks it's the future of design. 11:57 There's one for you to rumble around with. 12:00 Who wins? 12:01 It depends. 12:02 And don't forget our partnership with blah, blah, blah. 12:04 Right. We need to have that thing out the door by 12:06 that day, otherwise that partnership with blah, blah, 12:08 blah, is no longer, or that partnership with blah, blah, blah might be threatened. 12:10 And we don't like the word cart. 12:16 I know, I know, but I am a luxury product, you do not put a luxury product in a cart. 12:19 I'm not using actual quotes here guys. 12:26 This never really happened in a meeting that I really have last week. 12:28 [LAUGH] So, my point is everything is complex. 12:31 That we have to have a website is ah-ha-ing through the whole situation. 12:36 If you wait for somebody to tell you all those things, as opposed to going out and 12:41 finding those things, 12:45 it will always feel like an insurmountable amount of things to get through. 12:46 Because complexity is part of the equation. 12:50 It's not something that we get to just choose our way out of. 12:53 It's not something that we get to just say, oh, 12:56 I don't really have to deal with that complexity. 12:58 I'm just gonna work over here. 13:00 And somebody else will take care of it, because that never actually happens. 13:02 And what ends up happening instead, is barnacles, right? 13:06 Big ships get barnacles. 13:10 So do little ships. 13:12 We gotta watch out for them. 13:13 It only takes so many before you're actually slowing down the ship, and 13:14 somebody's gotta go scrape all that off. 13:17 So, we have to get comfortable of making sense of complexity. 13:20 And that means taking a headlamp sometimes, 13:23 going into a rabbit hole of it and arguing with people through it. 13:25 Asking really difficult questions. 13:29 Questions that they don't want to be asked. 13:31 Questions that the answer is, we just haven't thought of that yet. 13:33 And that's okay. 13:38 Making that the right environment for them to say those things, is part of the job. 13:39 You're in a dark place together. 13:44 You're in a hole and it's okay to admit that. 13:48 When we go through life thinking that everything is just so 13:51 and we don't have to go down these holes, and 13:53 we don't drag people down the holes with us to see what's down there. 13:56 Everything seems fine up at the surface. 13:59 But it's not. 14:01 This is the truth. 14:02 The politics of making sense. 14:03 You have to get through so many gates. 14:06 Even in projects that we're doing for our own personal endeavor, there's still 14:08 gates, there's still other people that we feel we have to get through. 14:12 Other industries we might touch or have to deal with. 14:15 Other competitors that we might need to be aware of. 14:18 There's all of these things standing between us and our goal. 14:21 And everyone has an opinion and it can be really frustrating to talk things out. 14:26 So, this is, this is real life. 14:29 Everyone does have an opinion, that's why they say it's like that other 14:33 thing that everybody has, I won't say that thing. 14:36 The reason for this is because, imagine when your walking around 14:39 in the world you have a huge map of knowledge that your carrying with you. 14:44 Seriously, just think about it, this huge map of everything you know. 14:49 And right now, in this talk, you're literally zooming into a part of map that 14:55 you know anything about the words I'm saying, the concepts I'm discussing, and 14:59 you're trying to compare your map with my map. 15:03 And you're saying, these are the things that I will accept of her truth, and 15:06 these are the things I will reject of her truth. 15:10 So when we go into a meeting with somebody else, we're coming in with different maps. 15:13 We have to put the maps out, and 15:18 if they don't match, people get really, really frustrated. 15:20 So these maps that we're carrying around are called mental models, 15:23 you guys have probably heard of those in your design research. 15:26 Frustration is what occurs when there's different models in the minds of 15:29 different people. 15:34 So when one person thinks of the word cart, 15:35 it's completely appropriate because you're doing an e-commerce things, and 15:37 the other person thinks it's offensive because you're a luxury product. 15:41 They have different mental models they're working on. 15:45 And they have to work on them together, 15:48 otherwise they will never come into agreement. 15:49 They will always feel that frustration. 15:51 And it's not about somebody winning. 15:53 It's about both of them changing their map to understand what it 15:55 means to make the decision that they have to make together. 15:58 So the only way to get those maps into a place that we can talk about, 16:01 is using objects. 16:06 So creating objects takes us out of what's called mode of discourse, and 16:08 it gives us something that we can point at. 16:12 It gives us something that we can reference. 16:15 Something that can be true. 16:17 Just for the point of the conversation. 16:18 And it can be as simple as a squiggle. 16:21 It can be as simple as a doodle. 16:23 It can be as complex as a research report. 16:25 Whatever it has to be, it's the object that you carry with you as you go through 16:27 that really complicated maze to make sure that when you get to that end state, 16:31 everything is the way you wanted it to be as opposed to this other thing that it 16:36 becomes when people like glob onto it. 16:40 When we have something in common to point to, 16:45 we can reach what's called consensus more easily. 16:46 This means we all agree on what's happening. 16:49 It turns out that agreement alone is the most difficult thing to get in design. 16:52 No one ever told me that in design school, so 16:56 I'm trying to tell everyone that will listen to me. 16:58 Is not about colors and songs and boxes and arrows. 17:00 It is about agreeing on something and deciding to go and do it together and 17:04 not disagreeing and getting in each others way. 17:08 With consensus comes momentum. 17:13 So until you agree, you will not move forward. 17:16 You will not have that feeling, like, yeah! 17:19 We're gonna get it done. 17:21 Instead you will feel heavy and like you're not getting anything done. 17:23 And like no, no progress can be made. 17:26 And these are the days where the mess feels like it really doesn't want to, 17:29 to make sense of it. 17:32 But that's just a moment. 17:33 That's just something that you have to 17:34 get through with agreement with the people that you're working with. 17:36 And sometimes with yourself. 17:38 But often, it is more than two people and more than two models. 17:41 So imagine a meeting like the ones that you all might be more used to, 17:45 where there's six people. 17:48 Seven people. 17:50 Seven different versions of the truth in a room is a really scary place to be. 17:51 So in those moments, it's even more critical for you to get out that thing and 17:58 make that object a consensus. 18:02 A mess like that can feel almost impossible to make sense of. 18:05 And unfortunately, what I see happen in too many cases, 18:09 is that most people get overwhelmed at this point. 18:11 And there's two kind of going strategies that I have 18:14 started to see as a way of not fixing the mess, but moving forward anyways. 18:17 So these are the two I've, I've uncovered. 18:22 The first is, ways to hide the mess. 18:24 Right? You don't fix it. 18:27 You just kinda put up things that block it or hide it or lock it away. 18:28 Maybe you put the little digging guy saying you're working on it. 18:34 You know, all these ways to sorta like excuse yourself from the mess. 18:36 Or, you can pretty up the mess, right? 18:40 You can fluff the front end as they might call it. 18:43 I had a client recently call me and say, so we're working with this brand and 18:47 they had their website redesigned, in air quotes. 18:52 And what that meant was they changed the CSS, like just the CSS. 18:57 They didn't move, they didn't change a single word, a label, not a box or 19:02 arrow was touched, just the CSS. 19:05 And they were shocked that nothing changed. 19:08 Shocked. They were like, 19:13 but the website looked terrible before, and it looks so great now. 19:14 Why doesn't it, you know, because they're just fluffing it. 19:17 They're just fluffing something that doesn't actually work. 19:20 Another way to deal with this is a new user tutorial to explain the mess. 19:23 This is like the thing with the oh, let's have an overlay of 19:26 the first time you're here and we'll point to the controls so 19:29 you'll see where they are, cuz you're gonna remember that next time, right? 19:32 No, you're not. 19:35 And then my favorite is the incentive structure for dealing with the mess. 19:36 Sort of like hey, if you give us money, you don't have to have a mess. 19:40 But, if you don't give us money, welcome to the mess. 19:45 You get to live with it. 19:48 But the mess is still a mess. 19:50 Right? In both of these cases, 19:52 the mess is still there, it's just been, kind of tempered. 19:53 And they've bought time. 19:58 That's sort of the most dangerous thing they could have done. 20:00 Because it turns out the one thing, that is super clear about messes at this point, 20:03 is that time, makes them grow. 20:07 They just get worse. 20:10 That next person tries to fix it in that little tiny way, and 20:12 at they're thing, and that's where the barnacles come up, right? 20:15 It's just like, now we can't even move. 20:18 Or now we're going out of business, because we need to figure our shit out. 20:21 So, information architecture. 20:24 It's the way that we arrange the parts of something, to make it more 20:28 understandable as a whole, i.e, the way that we keep the messes at bay. 20:31 The structures, that we put the content into, incredibly important, for 20:37 people to make sense of what the heck is going on, in this crazy world of ours. 20:42 And as the channels, and the mediums, and the context, just get more and 20:46 more overlapped, and mushy, it's gonna be even more critical for 20:51 us to really understand, information architecture principles. 20:55 And IA tools and concepts are not actually hard to learn. 20:59 Believe me, I've learned them all myself. 21:01 They're not hard. 21:04 They're kinda easy, if you're ready to ask questions, and 21:04 be truthful, and not hide from messes. 21:09 There also not expensive to teach. 21:12 Most of the things that I teach in information architecture at Parsons and 21:14 SVA, is done by hand. 21:18 It's with pencils and paper, and post it notes, and brains right? 21:19 And it's fine. 21:24 You can learn it that way. 21:24 But IA tools and concepts are not actually taught as often as they should be and 21:27 it's kinda one of those things that's like, 21:32 the endangered species of design at this point. 21:33 It's being cut from most design curriculums, which is something that, 21:36 you all might not know. 21:39 It's something that we were taught, when I went to print design school. 21:41 Information architecture was a core tenant that you learned, as a print designer. 21:44 Somewhere in like, the late 90s territory, there was sort of like, 21:47 this nerd revolution where there was two IAs. 21:50 There was the print IA and there was the digital one, and 21:53 it was sort of like, [NOISE]. 21:56 Not sure what happened after that, but as a result, 21:57 many adults don't understand the very basics, of architecting information. 22:00 Which is fine, I suppose. 22:06 I mean, I'm an information architect. 22:07 That's more work for me, right? 22:09 Well, it's not actually that simple, because most of those people, 22:11 steal architect information daily. 22:15 Either in their work life or their life life. 22:18 And I am definitely sure on this, the results, vary drastically. 22:20 Some people are super good at IA without ever having considered it, 22:25 a concept to even think about. 22:29 Other people, are dang terrible at it. 22:31 Just, it just is. 22:34 And when there, pr, given tools and 22:35 concepts to understand, it's something that they can get better at. 22:38 So it's, it's like one of those things I just feel like, we need this. 22:41 So I came to the realization, only very recently, 22:46 that everyone architects information, right? 22:49 We all, do this thing, that makes sure that the intent we have. 22:51 Reaches the end, right, in that messy network. 22:56 And it's not just people that are, you know, doing site maps and 23:00 wire frames for websites, it's people who are doing, gant charts from projects, 23:03 people who are doing hierarchy diagrams for organizational change. 23:08 People that are doing flow diagrams, 23:12 to understand how to make the healthcare system better. 23:13 These are all acts where we are trying, to influence this thing called information, 23:16 that's all round us and we're trying to make sense of it. 23:22 So, I wanna teach you guys, informational architecture in five very basic lessons. 23:25 And the reason that I wanna teach you this, 23:29 is not because I don't think any of you know it. 23:31 I actually wanna teach you this so 23:33 you'll teach other people, and mostly, I kind of want you to teach your kids. 23:34 Cuz it's gonna get really rough, and they're gonna need to know how to do this. 23:39 So, information architecture in five basic lessons. 23:43 Go. 23:46 First one, this is the hardest, information is subjective truth. 23:47 Okay? Now, you guys, bear with me. 23:51 Thinking about information, as a material is really hard. 23:56 This is because, it is not actually a material, you can't pick it up. 24:00 It's not, a thing that you can hold in the hand. 24:06 It's not even a thing that you can look at, on a screen. 24:09 It's another thing. 24:12 It's the thing, that everything has, but what it actually is, 24:13 is your perception of what's going on. 24:19 So what you think is happening in this room, right now, is the information. 24:21 The rest of it, is content, we're the content. 24:26 What you guys think about it, is the information part. 24:30 So I know that that's really, not typical of an information architecture talk to 24:33 start with, cuz it's sorta philosophical. 24:38 But it's really important that you understand that when I say, 24:40 information I do not mean content. 24:42 I mean, the perceptive quality, of what the user is actually, taking away, from 24:45 the content that they're consuming which is complicated but everything has it. 24:51 Everything has information. 24:56 It is literally impossible, for you to encounter something and 24:58 have no perception of it. 25:02 Even if your perception of it is, I do not care about that thing and 25:04 it is useless to me. 25:07 That is still information, right? 25:08 That's your information. 25:10 And that's also something that can be very different than the other 25:12 person that's looking at it. 25:15 So information is not a thing itself. 25:17 It's just not that concrete. 25:19 It's not easy to wrap your hands around. 25:20 Therefore, it can feel kind of impossible to wrangle, but it's not. 25:22 It just, takes thought. 25:26 It takes care and 25:28 it takes partnership with people that do things like content, right? 25:30 Cuz that stuff is very intertwingled. 25:32 Information can actually be made of a lack of physical material. 25:36 And I think this is probably the way that that my students most grok the whole 25:39 idea of it not being, a thing itself. 25:43 So imagine that you're in a grocery store, and you're in the section where the jams 25:45 and jellies are and you approach a space in-between two jars. 25:49 What went there? 25:55 What was in that space? 25:58 Peanut butter? 26:01 Okay, anybody else? 26:02 >> [INAUDIBLE] >> Can of peas? 26:07 You think so? 26:08 Who else? 26:11 Preserves, okay. 26:15 >> [INAUDIBLE] 26:16 >> Why are you guys making the decisions you're making? 26:16 Just, I'm just, no seriously, that's the whole exercise. 26:22 So don't worry, you're not fucking with me. 26:24 It's because of what you're perceiving. 26:28 Some of you, are perceiving the exercise that I'm giving you, and 26:30 you know that I'm, I want you to say jelly, or jam, or preserves. 26:33 Thank you, sir. 26:37 The others of you, are like, what? 26:38 That's okay. 26:41 The reason, that information is not always made of material, 26:42 is because we all have some idea of what went in that little space. 26:45 And we all have these different ideas, 26:50 of why that thing might not be there any more, right? 26:52 So not only, can we have differing versions of what goes in the space, 26:56 we can also have differing versions of why, that space is empty. 27:00 I might think, oh, that product is sold out. 27:03 You might think, that product's incredibly popular. 27:06 Right? That little, 27:09 tiny shift, is gonna change how he feels about that jelly or 27:10 jam or peanut butter or bread or whatever else. 27:13 [INAUDIBLE] So this brings me to the other very difficult, 27:16 especially if you're teaching 18-year-old art students. 27:20 There is no truth. 27:24 You guys. 27:26 No true information? 27:27 This is hard but it's true, weird. 27:28 So,. >> [LAUGH]. 27:32 >> What I like to talk about instead of truth is is what we call, spin. 27:34 So, spin, is being able to take one thing and 27:39 make it mean a couple different things. 27:41 So for example, 27:44 if we're working on a product that needs some kind of like, medical okay. 27:45 We might be working with data, 27:49 that would allow us to create both of these constructs. 27:51 Eight out of ten doctors do not recommend and doctor recommended. 27:53 We've got two doctors, they recommended it, we're not lying, it's still true. 27:58 Is it right? 28:04 I don't know, but it's still true. 28:05 And that's something that you have to be really aware of, 28:08 because there's all these moments, 70 times a day, where those little angels and 28:10 devils, are on our shoulder, asking us, what do you wanna do with this time? 28:14 What do you wanna do with this decision? 28:18 How do you wanna spin this? 28:20 And this is because data, is mined but information is architected. 28:22 That's the part that we actually make. 28:26 That's the part that we, we take what we want, somebody to believe about the world 28:29 and we make a place, where we think they'll believe it after experiencing it. 28:34 I mean that's incredibly powerful. 28:38 And it's only after that, that they can get to knowledge and wisdom. 28:41 Like information is this key cornerstone thing, 28:44 that sort of allows us to be knowledgeable about anything in the world. 28:47 It's pretty amazing. 28:49 So all the things that we work on, and 28:52 the places that we work on, live within a nested set of architectures. 28:54 So as if all of this wasn't already complicated enough, it also turns out, 28:58 that there's, like, this. 29:03 Do you ever think about those Russian nesting dolls, 29:05 they're called matryoshkas and there's, like, 29:07 a big doll, and there's, like, a littler doll, and, like, a littler, yeah. 29:09 The world is sort of like that, right? 29:12 Like when I am in this room giving this talk, we're also within this hotel, 29:14 within this block, within the city, within the country and so on and so forth. 29:17 So when we're working on things we actually have to identify what 29:22 level we're working at, so we can identify the level of attention to 29:25 detail we're going to have, as a result of our work. 29:29 If we're working on an object, there's a lot of levels, 29:32 that have to nest that object, into that ecosystem. 29:36 And if we never pay any mind to anything between the level we're working at and 29:40 the ultimate one it's going to live in, we can lose ourselves. 29:44 Right? There's all these moments that we 29:47 have this opportunity to impact. 29:49 Something that's larger or 29:51 something's that much smaller, than what we're actually working on. 29:53 So the levels of place that we have, 29:57 are, what Ted Nelson refers to as deeply intertwingled. 29:59 You can't really separate them out, very cleanly. 30:02 So, this idea that we've all been working in silos for years this is the reason that 30:05 you're hearing people say, we need to break down the silos. 30:10 Because we intertwingled nature, 30:13 of how these things come together in a real person's life. 30:15 Just not containable, its something that you can plan for, 30:18 but only to a certain extent. 30:21 And a change at one of those levels, 30:24 can actually have mass implications, on another level. 30:25 And this is something that you see all the time happen in the littlest redesign, 30:29 seem to turn into the hugest conundrums. 30:33 Because you just changed that one URL. 30:36 It's just that one button, it's just that one style and the next thing you know, 30:37 the whole kind of domino rally goes. 30:42 So for the first lesson, I would ask that you take away, everything has 30:45 information and everything has a place to fit in this nested set of structures. 30:49 Also information isn't a thing in itself, it's whatever the user perceives. 30:53 From the thing and its arrangement. 30:57 Which I know, it's kind of, kind of weird. 30:59 And then there is no true, right? 31:02 The only true that we have, is the one that we have for ourselves. 31:03 So it's not about, finding the truth. 31:07 It's more about unraveling it, and comparing all the different versions of 31:08 it, to come to one that we can all agree on, so we can move forward. 31:12 The second lesson is, Language Matters. 31:17 Language is the way that we work, 31:19 like it's the communication tool that we all use. 31:21 It's the way that we collaborate,it's the way that 31:25 we communicate to each other what we actually want to get done. 31:28 And there's some really specific ways that I think information architecture thinks 31:31 about, breaking down language into its actionable bits. 31:35 On any given project. 31:39 So I wanna talk to you about ontology today. 31:40 Which is a very academic sounding word. 31:42 So I'm gonna compare it to something that I, it's another academic word, but 31:44 I am guessing you have more experience with. 31:48 So lexicography, is what you would be doing if you wrote a dictionary. 31:50 Okay? We're going around, and 31:54 we are collecting, all of the meanings, for a given term. 31:56 Right? So we're saying, the word pool, 32:00 can be a swimming pool, bedding pool, it can be all sorts of things. 32:02 Right? 32:05 Ontology, is when we say, for the context that we're in, and for 32:06 the purposes that we have, when we say a word, this is what we mean. 32:10 Right? 32:14 So when Facebook said, that the word like. 32:15 Would forever mean something completely different, than it ever meant before. 32:17 That's what they were doing. 32:21 They were making an ontological decision. 32:22 Taking the word like. 32:24 They could've chosen the word love. 32:25 They could've chosen the word fist bump. 32:26 Right? They didn't, they chose the word like. 32:29 They also chose the word friend. 32:31 And we're all seeing, the impact that them choosing those words. 32:33 They turned friend, into a verb. 32:37 That's amazing! 32:39 Like Holy Moly! 32:40 As an IA that's a, pretty nerdy accomplishment for them to have done. 32:42 So, this is what working language actually looks like. 32:46 It's not reviewing, bullet point decks. 32:49 It's not, going over documents at your desk alone and 32:52 making sure everything is perfect. 32:55 It's working, with each other, to understand your language. 32:57 It's being in a meeting with somebody who says a word you don't understand, and 33:00 saying, what does that word mean? 33:03 When you say that, what do you actually mean? 33:06 Because when I hear that, I think you mean this, and I might be wrong, right? 33:08 It's the, having the courage to actually start to uncover those things. 33:12 And this is because meaning, 33:15 is incredibly subjective, it's demographic, it's sociopolitical. 33:17 It gets completely lost in translation. 33:21 And it's quite complex. 33:24 I had a client [LAUGH] pretty recently, 33:26 that was having a really difficult time getting through the RFP process. 33:28 Nobody was responding to the RFP. 33:31 And we're talking about it, and he said, can you just review the language for me. 33:33 Can you just like make sure I'm not, I'm not crazy, I reviewed it. 33:37 He had described what he wanted in a homepage, 33:40 as a homepage filled with buttons. 33:42 >> [INAUDIBLE] >> Yeah, right? 33:44 You guys, are the people that this is intended for. 33:47 And you getting RFP would laugh. 33:49 I mean, it's just like, a homepage made of buttons, what are you smoking, dude? 33:51 Like, no, I'm not gonna give you a homepage full of buttons. 33:54 I'm the expert here, right? 33:57 But what did he mean, by the word button? 33:58 Nobody had bothered to ask. 34:01 He didn't mean a form element button. 34:03 He meant a content area, that he himself could change, as his business had changes. 34:05 Like a season, coming and going, right? 34:10 He didn't want to have a homepage that was static. 34:12 Like his was now. 34:15 And to him the opposite of static, is button. 34:16 Why? 34:19 I don't know, I don't know. 34:20 It doesn't matter why, it only matters what it is. 34:21 Cuz to him, that's true, you see what I mean? 34:25 Okay. 34:27 This is the words we don't say list, from the New York Times. 34:30 So imagine trying to write, a controlled vocabulary for the New York Times. 34:33 Like, that's impossible! 34:38 They're constantly reporting on some things that we don't even know exists yet 34:39 or that we care about. 34:42 How could they ever have written every word they're ever gonna say? 34:43 So they took the opposite approach. 34:45 They said, here are the 50 or so words, we do not allow anybody to say. 34:47 Now there's some real shockers on here. 34:52 Did you know you're not allowed to say the word zeitgeist, in the New York Times. 34:54 Nor are you allowed to say that someone, dawned cape. 34:57 Just can't. 35:00 Why? 35:01 Because this is how they keep consistency, over the way that their writers write. 35:02 And the tone and style of being a New York Times writer, has to mean something. 35:06 Otherwise, it wouldn't mean anything. 35:10 And then where would they be? 35:12 They wouldn't be the New York fucking Times. 35:13 Maybe somebody else. 35:15 So controlled vocabularies is a list of approved terms and 35:18 definitions, in a particular context or setting. 35:20 And I know you guys, this is boring. 35:23 Like, nobody wants to write a list of definitions. 35:25 I can tell you this right now, it's one of the most useful exercises, as a designer, 35:27 you will ever get through. 35:32 Because getting into the intricacies of how people describe their business and 35:33 the elements of it. 35:37 It, it has all the secrets. 35:38 They're all in there, you just have to unlock them. 35:41 And as, you know, pedantic as this document is, 35:44 it still becomes something that's the exercise, is the point, not the output. 35:46 It's having the conversation, hearing the stories, 35:50 hearing the why, behind the word they're saying, that matters much, much more, 35:52 then documenting it all arduously for them to like vigorously adhere to. 35:56 So start with language and the real important part there is, 36:03 don't start with interfaces. 36:06 I see way too many teams that are just diving into interface work, 36:08 when the language is all mucked up and the language being mucked up, 36:12 is not always your fault. 36:16 But that doesn't mean it's not your problem to deal with, right? 36:17 When you come into an assignment and 36:20 all you're doing is moving the furniture that they have around in the room, 36:22 there's only so much effect you're gonna be able to have. 36:25 You have to be willing to go and blow up their language. 36:27 Ask them what they mean, say, that doesn't make any sense. 36:31 Do you think people know what you mean when you say that? 36:34 They don't, right? 36:36 And then prove it to them if you have to. 36:37 And we must remember in that, that language in not just words. 36:40 Okay? You guys know what this is? 36:45 Somebody say it. 36:47 What is it? 36:49 >> The Hamburger- >> This is the Hamburger Menu. 36:50 Right? 36:52 Why is it called the Hamburger Menu, you guys? 36:52 >> [INAUDIBLE]. 36:54 >> Because nobody had a freaking word for it, and- 36:57 >> [LAUGH]. >> Yeah, exactly, right, 36:59 can you imagine the poor customer service representative that's on 37:01 some major publication website, that just upgraded to the hamburger menu? 37:04 She's sitting in her cubicle, answering questions about how to use the website, 37:08 and saying things like can you just click on the hamburger menu? 37:11 This doesn't come out of nowhere, we are creatures of habit, 37:16 we like to have words for things. 37:20 If you can't come up with a word for 37:22 the thing, there's something wrong with the thing. 37:23 You have to figure out what it's called or it doesn't exist, right? 37:26 We call this an uncontrolled vocabulary. 37:30 Here's the problem with them. 37:32 Uncontrolled vocabularies lead to what's called linguistic insecurity. 37:34 That's a established. 37:38 Thing, right. 37:39 You've all experienced it. 37:40 Is when somebody is talking over your head, or 37:42 you are afraid you're talking beneath them. 37:44 Either way, you can feel anxious about it. 37:46 Turns out people who are suffering from linguistic insecurity are not very fun to 37:48 work with, and they do not like to like babble things out in a playful way. 37:53 They like to kind of like curl up and 37:57 protect their version of the world and not play n- 37:59 So the only way that we can really get over this linguistic insecurity is by 38:02 actually creating a language that everyone can understand and 38:06 be secure in the use of. 38:09 Which means collaborating on the language, not just beating them 38:11 over the head with a lexicon they're never going to adhere to, right? 38:14 You have to kind of develop it with them. 38:17 So, to wrap up lang-, 38:20 language matters. 38:21 Take control of your organization's vocabulary, and 38:22 help to reduce linguistic insecurity. 38:24 Remember the power of making ontological decisions. 38:27 So, language is very impactful. 38:29 When you create that next icon, that, you're not sure what the heck to call it. 38:31 Think really hard about whether or not you're not hiding the mess by doing that. 38:35 And then remember, that language is not just words. 38:40 The next lesson is about structure. 38:43 So I wanna talk to you about how structure is not something that you can just kind of 38:45 decide based on what's always been. 38:51 Or pick up what is done by the competitor. 38:54 Or you know, decide what looks right to you. 38:56 It's actually rhetoric. 38:59 Like, it's the thing that you tell people. 39:01 How to use the thing you're designing by, right? 39:04 The structure that you give to something tells somebody to open it up or keep it 39:06 closed, to look through it further or stop on every single place along the way. 39:10 So let's say that we ripped all the words out of your favorite book and 39:14 threw them in a pile on the floor. 39:19 Is that your favorite book? 39:21 no unless your favorite book is a pile of words on the floor. 39:24 That is not your favorite book. 39:27 That might be somebody's favorite book you never know. 39:29 If we took that same pile of words and we organized them alphabetically and 39:31 defined all of the terms is that your favorite book? 39:35 No! 39:39 Why? 39:40 Because it's not just the content. 39:41 It's the structure that determines not only what something is, but 39:42 also how something can be subsequently used. 39:46 So, it turns out that most people have been arguing with this principle for 39:49 several years now, but no one's broken it just yet. 39:53 Richard Saul Wurman stated back in the late '90s that there are only five ways to 39:56 organize anything. 40:00 Location, alphabetical, time, category, and by hierarchy. 40:01 I've found this to be generally acceptable. 40:04 But the trick to it is that when you tell somebody you 40:08 can only organize things five different ways, they think very literally. 40:11 Oh, well, there's five different arrangements you can give to that thing. 40:15 So it's really important that with these five things, 40:18 you learn about another important thing, which is called a facet. 40:20 So a facet is something that you know about the thing that 40:24 you're trying to organize. 40:27 So if we're organizing [COUGH] records, we know about the band name. 40:28 We know the date that it came out. 40:31 We know the, the studio label that it came under. 40:33 These are all facets of what we have. 40:35 These are all ways that we can look at organizing that information. 40:37 So when we have those five different ways of organizing anything, and 40:40 we add it to the very specific list of facets that the thing we're 40:44 actually organizing is, we're able to kind of come up with endless ways. 40:48 So for example, ten facets of a vegetable might be color, 40:53 texture, taste, season planted, season harvest, things like this. 40:56 If we were to combine this with the latch approach with those five things, 40:59 very easily we could get to 20 different ways that we might be able to sort up 41:03 one simple list of vegetables. 41:07 Right, so this is a really interesting exercise that anybody can do, 41:09 of just taking those five basic principles and 41:12 mixing them with the facets that you have available. 41:15 So here's why, there is technically no right, 41:18 right way to organize information and there's no wrong way. 41:21 That's like, incredibly powerful to me, 41:25 like when I tell my clients that, they're sort of like, whoa woo. 41:27 Whoa, wait, no, I mean there is, right? 41:30 Like there, you do know the answer right? 41:32 And I'm like, no, no. 41:34 And then we have to go to a slightly more specific version which is there is 41:36 academically no right or wrong way to structure information. 41:41 It turns out that you can read all you want about the way that 41:45 we are academically exploring information architecture. 41:48 There's no one way. 41:51 There's no like, bullet to the top for any of this. 41:53 And lastly, if all of that still fails, and you're still questioning it, 41:57 theoretically, there is still no right or wrong way to organize information. 42:00 There's just endless possibilities. 42:05 And it really comes down to all you can really do is 42:07 measure your results against what your intent was. 42:10 And that intent is your rhetorical one. 42:13 What did you want people to think? 42:15 What did you want people to come away with? 42:17 What is the information that you hoped to have architected in that situation? 42:19 So it kinda gets scary on the next slide. 42:25 I'm going to warn you. 42:29 The problem is that you can't ignore this. 42:31 Like, you're already doing this. 42:35 Your intent might just be not thinking about it too much. 42:37 Or getting it done right now, right? 42:41 But the problem is that no matter how much we hide it, no matter how long we wait 42:44 to deal with it, information architecture is something that is always there. 42:50 It always exists. 42:54 You can't put it in. 42:56 You can't take it out. 42:57 All you can do is change it. 42:58 So if you have something today, and people are getting information from it, 43:00 that information might be what you want it to be, but it might not be, right? 43:05 But it is there. 43:09 It's not something that you choose to add. 43:10 It's not a feature. 43:12 And how you architect your information says something about who you are. 43:14 Going back to that vegetable example, if we were going to 43:18 organize an online grocery store and you were the business owner, 43:21 would you allow me as the taxonomist to only put tomatoes under fruit? 43:25 Why not? 43:33 Well, why not, you guys? 43:36 I mean, it's a fruit. 43:37 I can prove it. 43:38 [LAUGH] I'm serious, right? 43:38 This is a really great quote. 43:42 It takes knowledge to know that a tomato is a fruit and 43:43 it takes wisdom to not put [LAUGH] one in a fruit salad. 43:46 >> [LAUGH]. 43:49 >> So you guys, I got a hint. 43:51 There is somebody in this room, I don't know who it is. 43:52 You don't have to have to raise your hand or anything like that. 43:54 There's somebody in this room that didn't know until right now 43:56 that tomatoes are fruit. 43:59 It's true. 44:01 That's not something that we need to, like, be, 44:02 you know, beating them over the head with. 44:04 No! 44:05 If you can't find it in the fruit, then you don't deserve any tomatoes, right? 44:06 >> [LAUGH]. 44:09 >> These are, these are realities. 44:09 These are things that have to do with us. 44:10 And how we choose to move through that situation and 44:12 come to the result says a lot about us, and what kind of store we have and 44:15 what we know about our customers and everything else. 44:19 So, lesson three, Structure is Rhetoric. 44:22 There are only five ways to organize anything, but be careful. 44:24 Agreeing on how to organize something is the hard part, so 44:26 don't skip that part, you actually do have to decide, and 44:29 then how you organize something says something about who you are. 44:32 Good. I hear this all the time. 44:37 It just has to be good. 44:39 We have to make it good. 44:40 Good is not a specific enough term in almost every single case. 44:41 So I want to give you an example. 44:47 Have you guys been to a casino ever? 44:48 Actually no, fuck that, we don't need that. 44:50 See this carpet right here? 44:52 >> [LAUGH]. >> Yeah. 44:54 That carpet was chosen by somebody for this room. 44:56 Now, there's enough designers in this room that I can tell you that 44:59 we're all in agreement that this carpet is not 45:03 aesthetically pleasing from a design sense. 45:06 Right? Like, we could all kinda, no, 45:08 it's not true, right? 45:10 If you ask Las Vegas casino gamblers, who I had a chance to meet in some 45:12 user research I did for a client, they will tell you things like I 45:17 think the most beautiful thing in the world is the carpets in Las Vegas. 45:22 Quote. 45:27 >> [LAUGH]. 45:28 >> When I win, I like to hear the sound of coins falling and then I like to hear, 45:32 [SOUND] and when I lose, I want to hear, [SOUND] I mean, like. 45:37 Quote. 45:41 Like, this is good, it completely depends. 45:41 And it depends not only on who your user is, but also, it depends on your intent. 45:44 It turns out if you do any research into Las Vegas casinos, 45:49 the reason that loud carpet patterns are so prevalent there, probably not 45:52 too much of a guess, is because bad things happen on that carpet and you gotta 45:56 hide it from as many people as possible, while there's also lots of traffic. 46:00 So the fact that gamblers also have positive associations with loud carpets, 46:03 who can separate that from their addiction to gambling, right. 46:08 It's kind of a complicated mess. 46:11 So what I'm really getting at here is reality. 46:14 The reality of what you're in has to do with your context. 46:17 It has to do with the problem that you're currently working out. 46:20 And that reality involves a lot of factors. 46:24 It has time attached to it. 46:26 It has resources. 46:27 It has things like talent, and your skill set, and your personality, and how you 46:28 kind of think ethically your work should be done or the integrity that you hold. 46:34 All these things change forever the decisions that we make and 46:38 we look at the world. 46:41 Right? The information that 46:42 we see when we're looking at the situation we're in to make these decisions. 46:43 And it also involves many players. 46:47 So our users are one player that's involved. 46:49 But there's also these stakeholders, and there's other makers. 46:52 Right? 46:56 And sometimes we can be in all of those groups together, and 46:56 that can get really complex to think about. 46:59 Because when we're doing that, we're wearing multiple hats. 47:02 But we're not, we're using one at a time, and 47:06 kind of working through that process as those different roles. 47:08 So paying attention to the overlaps is really important. 47:11 So good needs to be defined. 47:15 We need to face subjective reality by looking through the eyes of 47:16 users and stakeholders. 47:19 We need to determine what our intent is, and then define words like good. 47:21 Right? Good is not enough, 47:25 we need to know what that means to us. 47:26 And then we need to identify the players and the factors that we face. 47:28 And the last one could probably be subtitled, Diagram the Damn Thing! 47:31 Like, seriously! 47:36 Too many people talking in meetings with their hands about things that would so 47:37 much want to be on a whiteboard or on a, 47:42 a little piece of paper so they could get it out of their heads. 47:45 When we wave our hands around, we're asking people to move through their map at 47:48 a clip that is just not sane, and it doesn't make for collaborative change. 47:52 It just makes for frustration. 47:56 It makes for 47:57 people shutting down cognitively and not wanting to work with you, right. 47:58 And those conversations can seem to go fine cuz they kinda give up. 48:01 It's like fine, just do it, do it your way. 48:05 It's fine. 48:07 So diagrams help us to acknowledge complexity. 48:08 A diagram is not something that we make to, 48:11 like an infographic, so everybody sees how clear it is at the end. 48:13 A diagram is something that we work on, 48:16 something that we diagram through, because we don't understand it. 48:19 It's something that, when you take a fuzzy process that this person keeps talking at 48:23 you about, and you just can't process what is it and you start to lay boxes and 48:27 arrows together you understand more about the thing, and 48:32 more importantly you can ask more specific questions about that thing. 48:35 Because diagrams help us to compare our models, right? 48:40 It's that map that we're all carrying around. 48:42 We've gotta get it out of our head. 48:44 And these diagram types should be collected but also invented for 48:45 your context. 48:49 Don't get stuck with the idea that you have to solve everything with 48:50 a damn wire frame. 48:53 You don't. 48:55 Sometimes it's not that time yet. 48:56 Prototypes on the other hand help us test our ideas, so 48:59 they're no less important, right. 49:02 They're equally as important. 49:05 You can't just have prototypes or just have diagrams. 49:07 That's an incredibly frustrating way to work. 49:09 That's like saying how about this way. 49:12 No? Okay. 49:13 I'll change it. 49:14 How about this way. 49:15 No? 49:15 Okay. I'll change it. 49:16 How about this way? 49:17 No? Okay. 49:18 I'll change it. I mean come on. 49:18 Like towards what end? 49:20 Make a damn map. 49:21 So card sorting is something in information architecture that's pretty 49:23 much our, our most primary prototyping tool that's really important, right? 49:26 And this is, it's minutiae, right? 49:30 It's moving words around into buckets. 49:31 But it's really empowering to see as users kind of unpack what their use of 49:34 that language is, and how you can make something really powerful for them. 49:39 So lesson five make diagrams and prototypes, diagram the damn thing, 49:42 stop talking about it and grow your toolbox. 49:46 The diagrams page on Wikipedia is a treasure trove. 49:49 So just go there. 49:52 So five things I hope you learned today, information architecture is important, 49:54 information is subjective truth, language matters, good needs to be defined in 49:58 context, structure is rhetoric, and making diagrams and prototypes is important. 50:03 Because information architecture is not just for information architects. 50:07 I may be the only one in the room, I don't even know, but that's okay. 50:11 Because you're probably already making things and 50:15 practicing information architecture today. 50:18 So one more thing before I leave you, I want to tell you that practicing IA does 50:20 not take permission, but it does take bravery and in case you need permission, 50:24 I am the President of something called the Information Architecture Institute. 50:29 So I will give you permission. 50:33 >> [LAUGH] >> Granted, it's here and if it's 50:36 something that you're really interested in learning more about check us out. 50:39 It's a free membership organization to join. 50:42 We have a global conference called World IA Day in February. 50:45 We're in 38 cities this year all over the world in all different languages. 50:48 Very, very exciting. 50:52 So I will leave you with this. 50:53 Maybe if we all think a little harder about the information that we architect, 50:55 the world will start to make a whole lot more sense, or 50:59 at least that's something I can hope. 51:01 And thank you! 51:03 [APPLAUSE] 51:04
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