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what the voices in my head tell me to write

Monday, January 15, 2007

this is what I have been talking about 

I just read IA as an extension of web design over at digital-web.com. This is what I think is missing with so many aspects of web developement in general. The recognition that there are not really hard boundaries between the various "disciplines" involved in creating a large scale web site.

OK so you might have a DBA creating a schema who can't write a line of HTML and doesn't want to but they still have to be aware that users of the site and therefore the database will be expecting data in a certain format and also they may well be generating data in various formats too.

But in the realm of actually putting stuff on the screen there are a large number of different roles that contribute. Engineers writing the middleware, graphic designers, IAs, IDs, and humble web monkeys writing the html and css. All of them tend to have different terminologies and jargon for exactly the same things. An engineer will use a language like UML to describe something that an IA uses a wireframe and a html developer uses a bunch of markup and css.

The article is written by an IA so the writer sees IAs at the center of web development and everyone should use the same names for things as the IAs deliverables. Fair enough you have to pick one naming system I guess so why not use the IAs instead of the database schemeas or middleware's names for objects. The point of naming your CSS clases to fit wireframes is valid. I hate sites that have classnames like .bigBlueText. Why not use .formHeading or something meaningful

I also saw a recent job posting that supports this view. The IA position was described as being a mediator between the coding and design departments and as a user centered design champion (come back 2001 you job title is here) IAs can perform this role. Its not quite a project manager role but its ensuring that everyone has a common focus. It might not be IA focused or user focused but as long as everyone can sign from the same hymn sheet its going to be a lot easier.

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