Promoting the Field: Creating and Getting the Word Out

Information architects need, as a group, to make a better case that their services are valuable and necessary to the operations of just about every complex organization in existence. To do so, two things must happen:

  1. the basic case needs to be created through such means as ROI analysis, business case creation, and case study documentation; then
  2. the case needs to be made to members of the media

Each of these areas could ultimately be developed as specialized content areas in and of themselves.

Perhaps an argument for a more formalized IA association is that such an entity might be necessary to list as the contact for any press releases we might send out...

Anyone out there with PR experience willing to contribute?

Posted by Louis Rosenfeld at November 03, 2001 04:02 PM

Let's not isolate ourselves!

If you want to prove necessity of Information Architecture to clients it might be profitable to position IA in the field of things to be done for successful website employment. Which essentially means turning around the user, content, context story.
We developed a model called EPA (E-business Planning Approach) that shows all things to be done including the IA-tasks. Clients find out for themselves that IA is the most important link between the different areas of goals, organization, user, content, site development and infrastructure.
Case made!

Posted by Natasja Paulssen at November 13, 2001 12:33 PM

I do have some PR experience, and know others who are wonderful at it and may be interested in helping.

Had a couple thoughts -- communities vital to enlist are the design firms ( design associations (see, and design software companies (Adobe, Macromedia, etc).

At this point, many of are addressing "usability" because it is a buzz word, but are setting up their own standards & seminars (e.g. )

Was just at the Communication Arts site -- they've got their call for entries for their Interactive Design Annual 8... looked through to see what criteria they were judging... nothing... but did notice that they've separated entries into the following:
A — Advertising: interactive ad, point of sale kiosk, sales presentation, Web site, etc.
B — Business: product/service demonstration, training, catalog, internal/external communications, Web site, etc.
E — Entertainment: games, programs, books, music, etc.
I — Information Design: educational program, museum/exhibition guide, public service, Web site, etc.
S — Self-Promotion: sales promotion, including Web sites, for designers, art directors and vendors who provide creative services, art schools that offer courses in visual communications, design and advertising club promotions, etc.

inference: they're not judging other categories for true usability, and that they feel that only "educational programs, museum/exhibition guides, public services, Web sites, etc." would require information design.

Design firms & designers are increasingly under the gun to show measurable results for the products they help develop... i would think that even those who are able to persuade clients to pay for less-than-usable designs are still very aware that the day is coming, and that they may be more open then ever to associating their efforts with a strong IA/Usability partner

Posted by terie clement at November 13, 2001 7:08 PM

I have PR experience and I know several other people who have a PR background that would be willing to help. I, of course, am willing to help in any way I can. What kind of PR are we talking about? I can tap resources of local and national design agencies as well as other industry related companies (such as software manufactures, publishing companies, companies who hold chairs on various standards boards, etc.).

I think we need to clearly define the mission, objectives and needs at this point. From there we can actually move forward in the right direction to really create a noticable presence.

Posted by Nick Finck at November 14, 2001 7:00 PM

Nick, Terie, and Nastasja (and anyone else interested):

I'd like to get us together (via email or right here) and start roughing out a promotional plan. I think we need to consider a couple of major areas:

Promoting IA to the World: Can we draw together case studies and stories in one place (via a web site) that we can point the media to and which IAs can use "self-serve"? And should we be considering traditional means of marketing, such as sending out press releases? Perhaps our nascent community building efforts are an interesting story in and of themselves?
Promoting IA within the Field: Sometimes it seems that our own practitioners are not quite on board with IA. Should we be considering design awards, "interesting IA project of the week," practitioner interviews, and other ways of featuring the good that we collectively do? Should we run a regular "why I'm optimistic about IA" column somewhere?

Hope we can rough out a plan soon!

Posted by Lou Rosenfeld at November 19, 2001 11:48 AM

have you seen iawiki's plan?

Posted by christina at December 4, 2001 10:19 PM

This discussion has indeed been taken to
IAwiki where we try to work out a promotion plan.
Wow, you work fast, Cristina!

Posted by Natasja Paulssen at December 5, 2001 8:26 AM

ohh..I'd love to get involved. I just looked over at the IA Wiki Promoting IA and that was a pretty good promo plan. The plan will also require different plans for awareness and reminders. Another reason why I'd like to get involved is that I'm part of the Boxes & Arrows marketing team.

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