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Archaeology & IA: The Adventures of Information Jones

About the Talk

April 24, 2015 10:30 AM

Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis, MN

During my previous career as an archeologist, I studied people I couldn’t talk to in order to learn how they interacted with the world around them. As a User Experience Analyst, I now study people I can talk to and learn first hand how they interact with their environments.

In this presentation, I will bring my interdisciplinary perspective to life through a case study of the FCC.gov redesign, demonstrating how my experience as an archeologist made this daunting task doable.

In 2014 we began the research process for redesigning the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) website. The project included intensive research and restructuring of the site. We dug through layers of data and content making fascinating discoveries along the way.

The understanding and research that goes into information architecture is not unlike what goes into the study of an 18th century farmstead. Both disciplines use maps and collect artifacts to create a story of people and information. Using the right methods, you can get the job done with more ease than Indiana Jones.

Every step during the FCC project can be reframed through the archaeological process. The parallels can help you prepare for IA research with the mindset of a historian or archaeologist, expanding your approach and enhancing your skill.

Session Takeaways

  • Be a historian: Gather historical materials relevant to the site and talk to the locals when you can
  • Survey the area: Have a standard method to your research, this helps you determine when you need to go back and investigate an area further
  • Dig deeper: Determine where you need to analyze more

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