Today we received notice that Argus was folding up shop. The news has reverberated across the IA community and people are lining up to comment and share their stories. It many ways what we are all doing is akin to a wake. Christina Wodtke sums it up well in elegant hack.
I remember 4 years ago when I first came across the Richard Saul Wurman book Information Architects and there was a definition of what that was in the book. I read it and realized that, that was what I did. All day. Every day. I asked my boss if I could change my title from Senior Graphic Designer to Information Architect. He laughed at me and said "what is that? That isn't a title or a real job. I have never heard of an Information Architect."
It wasn't until I got the O'Reilly book by Lou Rosenfeld and Peter Morville that I was finally vindicated - that this truly is a field with responsibilities and accountablitliy. It has a name and a scope of territory. I proudly call myself an Information Architect and bless Lou and Peter for paving the way. As my career has evolved from traditional graphic design into this wonderful world of IA, I see that in many ways, we are still having to fight the fight and justify why we need to be part of the team, why IA is as important or even more important than the visual design.
I met Lou this summer at the Advance for Design summit in Telluride. I gave him a hard time for the scathing review he did of the redesign of the AltaVIsta site that had launched in 1999. His points were right on and it was hard not to agree. I had worked on the part of the site run by the New Media division, and we had been told not to worry about the rest of the site. The outside world doesn't know what the inside issues are - politics, territorial groups in different divisions, etc. Later on, when we were giving our presentations, I sat in on Lou's and realized that the artifacts he was showing were very similar to mine. The process used to get from the beginning to the end was also the same. In my own work, as I evolved, I thought I had made a lot of stuff up. Seeing Lou's work from Argus, validated my work and the way my team worked in our company and I realized that there is a collective unconscious in our way of working.
Without Argus, we are all a little poorer and will have to work a little harder to make sure that we persevere. I am confident that these talented individuals will go on to spawn a new generation of firms out there and I look forward to seeing it.Posted by erin at 09:25 PM | in People