In my last article, I asked if you could remember where your grandparents kept their telephone. Our brains are usually very good at this kind of thing, so most of us can. Not all spatial memories are so easy, though. I also asked if you knew where your most recent copy of your resume is on your laptop. That’s much harder for most of us.

Even keeping to the physical world, changing the scale of your memory can make it much harder to remember. If you can remember where your grandparents kept their telephone, can you remember what else was…

Wherever you are, please take a moment and think if you can remember where your grandparents kept their telephone. Close your eyes if you need to. Where was your high school locker? Where is your can opener in your house right now?

Now, where is your most recent copy of your resume on your laptop?

For most of us, the first set of challenges will be much easier than the other, even though you have interacted with that copy of your resume more recently than you used your grandparents’ telephone. …

You may not have an information architect on your team, but you definitely have information architecture in your experience. Information architecture (IA) isn’t commonly associated with accessibility, but a review of the literature shows that’s a huge mistake. By leaving accessibility out of IA (and IA out of accessibility) we’re leaving tools on the table and defaulting toward exclusionary experiences.

I hope the majority of people reading this are reading an article about accessibility because they have already bought into the idea that accessibility is important. If you have a hard time making the case, it’s easy to cite statistics…

Inspired by a question on Twitter, I want to provide an example of the power of structured content as we have leveraged it on

First, a little background:

Microsoft Docs is the successor to MSDN, Technet, etc. and is the platform on which Microsoft is centralizing (nearly) all of its technical documentation, training, and learning content. We use GitHub as our back end, and nearly every document is stored as a markdown file. Most of the site follows a pretty old-school documentation pattern of articles stored in tables of contents. …

Each week, we’re taking a classic paper in information science and breaking it down into its argument, some clear examples, other perspectives from the field on the same issue, and what it can mean for an information architecture practice today. This week, we’re looking at Michael Buckland’s “Information as Thing.” [PDF]

Most subjects can be taught in at least two ways: starting from what’s easy to learn or starting from the fundamental building blocks of what makes it true. In math, you can start with addition or you can start with what numbers are. In information architecture, you can start…

Sarah R. Barrett

IA, information person, Seattleite.

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