SIGIA-L Mail Archives: RE: SIGIA-L: site visualization (was sit
RE: SIGIA-L: site visualization (was site recommendations)
From: Louis Rosenfeld (lou_at_louisrosenfeld.com)
Date: Thu Aug 16 2001 - 11:53:38 EDT
The problem that Tim et al. face is that they've started with the solution,
and continue to search for the problem.
I also spoke with Tim and was impressed with antarcti.ca, but no practical
value was apparent to me. And that's not surprising, because in addition to
being a technology skeptic, I generally assume I'm not the sharpest tack and
that people like Tim are exceptionally intelligent, visionary, and able to
see things that I can't just yet. Which they typically are.
But I tried to learn from Tim just what practical value his tool has, and he
(as Karl has already pointed out) couldn't really justify the technology by
associating it with a specific real-world problem.
In a perfect world, we'd think through the problems first and then design
the solutions. But we don't live in that world, so we're confronted with
all sorts of orphaned "solutions" like antarcti.ca. And that's fine. But
so what? Should we dedicate much of our productive time to them? As a
hobby such a tool might be deserving of our attention, but beyond that
probably not. Better to spend that time and energy understanding our
problems; that's essentially what information architecture is all about.
In a fit of idealism that's probably not entirely impractical and certainly
not unprecedented, I think people in Tim's position should simply give their
technology away and let others figure out which the problems they solve.
Well, maybe not Tim, as he's already given the world so much by playing a
leading role in the development of XML. But give the world something and
see if it catches on, a la HTTP, XML... and, as we've seen, pretty cool
things happen, and their inventors go down in history, which ain't a bad
outcome. Berners-Lee, Bray, and other visionaries may not have made a mint
on those inventions, but those inventions' popularity has positioned them to
take on other fun projects, often with other people's money.
Like starting antarcti.ca. ;-)
information architecture consulting
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