Making sense…

…..of all the letters and words–PW, PADd, IA, UX, Content, Design, PM

This week (8-30) had you reading a lot of different things but believe it or not all of those things go together in important ways. Starting to sort out how you think they go together is key to understanding and implementing a web design project.

So to get you thinking of potentially how they could go together, you a partner (or two) created some sort of visual representation to explain your position on their intersections. Following are those representations (*.pdf- open in new windows):

Venn Diagrams: Alyssa_Ben_Emily ; Hannah_Peter
Flow charts: Carolyn ; Sarah
House : Hannah_Kaitlyn
Cloud process: Lois_Dakota

What was excellent about them was that you each approached the task in somewhat different ways, but you also had some communities between your interpretations. As we discussed in class, each of your interpretations were exactly right and also, exactly wrong 🙂 Why? Because every project needs a slightly different interpretation based on how that’s project’s goals match the organization’s goals. This is not to say that professional writers should stop being user advocates and arguing for the best solutions, but it’s important to remember that your arguments and positions need to match the goal of the organization.

Some of the highlights of your diagrams from above were

  • the emphasis on the role that the professional writer can have
  • understanding that content is a key facet of any project and is where the professional writer can make an impact
  • the burgeoning realization of the complimentary nature of information architecture, design, and content
  • the importance of never losing sight of the overall purpose and audience (with the understanding that these things have to be negotiated at the start of every project)

It was great to see the groups who produced their visuals in a venn diagram formation trying to visualize the overlapping parts. That was a smart move to show the relationships. The flow chart pair decided to do individual ones, but it was interesting to see that one (Carolyn) actually just added detail to the other (Sarah). The fact that the two of you produced different visuals also made me smile since you took a simple in-class assignment and made it your own.

Hannah B. and Kaitlyn and Lois and Dakota get big props for their innovative and creative depictions of how all the terms and concepts go together. Hannah and Kaitlyn’s metaphor of the house helped to put the all the terms and concepts into conversation in a way that brought the abstract ness down to something that was more concrete. What made Lois and Dakota’s impressive was their unique take of pulling out key terms, while framing the whole process under the umbrella of purpose with an emphasis on project management and delivery (the little d we often forget).

You then took this discussion and springboard directly into thinking about purpose and audience from the position of your portfolios. By starting small, that is, thinking of these big concepts in regards to something you know well (yourself !!), the hope was to get you to start understanding the nuance and complexity of purpose and audience and how information architecture (in particular) is the representation of that.

It’s important to remember that purpose and audience work in tandem and often cannot be separated. Those discussions of purpose and audience then become parts of an iterative process in any project. Iterative in the sense the constantly come back to those concepts to ensure that your other decisions about IA, UX, Content, and Design are matching those overarching concepts. As the professional writer, that’s one of your strengths to an organization, i.e., being able to bring those conversations back in line and participate in meaningful ways.

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