Spontaneous BayCHI

At the very last minute, I gave in to an urge to head down to tonight’s monthly BayCHI program. Ironically enough, I ended up driving down to Palo Alto with Peterme of Adaptive Path and Erika Hall from Mule Design. I had just spent some time visiting Mule’s site last night for the first time. Some of Erika’s simple, to-the-point writing helped spawn yesterday’s post about simplifying writing style.

Jesse James Garrett expounded on the process of reverse engineering interaction design. He reviewed his visual vocabulary designed to map out the flow or framework of a site’s user experience. The shapes JJG has defined in this vocabulary seem very logical — like they’ve always existed for what they represent. However, after working in Visio several times, I know I often scrape through various shape libraries, trying to pick the appropriate shapes for the page, task, or function in a site diagram.

Kim Ladin (IA) and Maria Giudice (Creative Director) of Hot Studio also gave an interesting presentation about the creative tension between visual designers and IAs. At Wired, these two roles were always combined into one person generically referred to as a designer. Without IA specialists, most of the designers thought as both IAs and visual designers. At Lycos, I’ve been working with colleagues who specialize in information architecture — but I see both roles frequently overlapping as we collaborate on various projects.