Episode 102 of The Informed Life podcast features a conversation with Amy Jiménez Márquez. Amy is an experienced enterprise design leader; she’s currently VP of Experience Design at Zillow and previously led teams at Amazon and Compass. She’s also an educator and the publisher of Boxes and Arrows.
In this conversation, we delved into the role of information architecture in managing digital experiences at scale. In particular, we explored two phases of the process: research and modeling.
Grokking people’s psychology is a starting point. This manifests on two levels: understanding users (via research) and understanding team members (via formal assessments such as Myers-Briggs.)
Insights derived from research inform system models. Amy emphasized the importance of modeling in the design process, and called out Object Oriented UX (OOUX) as a practice that can make modeling more tangible:
I teach a course in IA. The most difficult thing for me to teach is concept modeling. People just don’t get it. But when you break it down into object identification, like where you separate nouns and verbs, there’s an exercise that Sophia [Prater, OOUX advocate,] has on her website — breaking things down into nouns and verbs and how the nouns relate to each other. It’s so much more tangible, and it’s so much easier to get people to start understanding what a concept model is.
This conversation provides insights into how design leaders can use information architecture not just to create more effective products, but to also to be more effective leaders. It’s especially worth your attention if you work in or with corporate design teams.