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Jorge Arango's

No. 32

As software eats more and more of the world, and as we move beyond the basics — just being able to do things with digital systems — the structure of information environments becomes a competitive differentiator. This is already happening, and I’m starting to see signs of a renewed interest in information architecture.

The problem is that many people and organizations still don’t know a field exists that’s focused on making stuff easier to find and understand. In other words, folks are doing IA and talking about IA without referring to the discipline. Perhaps because of the constant drive for "innovation," those of use who work in digital seem bound to reinvent the wheel every generation or so.

I point the finger towards myself: Information architects still haven’t found how to communicate the value of what we do in ways that are understandable, memorable, and findable. (Yes, it's cobbler's children's syndrome.) Not for a lack of trying, I might add — giving IA more visibility is an ongoing challenge (and aspiration) for many of us.

A few things worth your attention...

  • More thoughts on the emerging pattern of businesses using IA as a competitive differentiator.
  • On the flip side, Wired published an article about IA without acknowledging there’s a field that does this (or even mentioning IA at all.) 😩
  • Eating the world: “As of last week, seven out of 10 of the world’s most valuable companies by market cap are tech companies”
  • Jon Kolko: Strategy is a Game of Language.
  • “There’s a certain irony of being at Slack, this digital business company, and focusing on built environments, no?” An interview with Kristy Tillman, Slack’s head of workplace experience design.
  • IDEO launched Shape, “A visual, collaborative space to build, test, and refine your ideas.”
  • Ambient privacy: “the understanding that there is value in having our everyday interactions with one another remain outside the reach of monitoring, and that the small details of our daily lives should pass by unremembered.”
  • How news works on Google, including the criteria the system uses to surface "useful and relevant content."
  • For book lovers: a browser extension that shows whether a book is available in your local library in its Amazon listing.
  • Have you ever wished you could photograph your notes without having the writing in the back of the page show through? This hack helps.

The Informed Life With Lisa Welchman

The Informed Life Episode 11: Lisa Welchman

"The sharing of information globally and instantly is definitely an inflection point for human beings — and I think we're just starting that." In the latest episode of The Informed Life podcast, Lisa Welchman and I discuss digital governance and how it relates to jazz.

Listen to the show

Thanks for reading!

-- Jorge

P.S.: If you like this newsletter, please forward it to a friend. (If you're not subscribed yet, you can sign up here.)

P.P.S.: If you haven't done so already, please check out my book, Living in Information: Responsible Design for Digital Places. You can buy it from my publisher, Amazon, and other fine purveyors of the printed word.

Disclosure: this newsletter includes Amazon affiliate links.

Copyright © 2019 Jorge Arango, All rights reserved.

Jorge Arango
P.O. Box 29002
Oakland, CA 94604

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