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Practice Framework to Jump-Start Information Architecture Discipline

Franklin Park, NJ (September 1, 2010) - Methodbrain, curator of the DSIA Research Initiative and DSIA Portal of Information Architecture, is offering the IA community a dose of adrenaline that promises to jump-start the IA Discipline. The DSIA Practice Framework—the latest addition to the DSIA body of knowledge—equips managers and individual practitioners with the means to assess and refine their approach to advancing their individual and collective discipline of information architecture.

As promised, the DSIA Research Initiative is addressing the growing call for an approach that better positions IA practitioners for the type of discovery, documentation and consensus that fuels discipline and knowledge transfer across the field, academia and within the research community. This framework is considered to be ideal for user experience design (UXD) organizations and groups that focus on more narrow interests of information architecture.

Nathaniel Davis, founder of the DSIA Research Initiative, says that, "We need to put our money where our mouth is by road testing and documenting the impact of our ideas as they thrive in the wild. Over time, if the practice framework shows promise, it can eventually be promoted as an acceptable method for practicing information architecture in a methodical manner."

In his recent article, appearing in the Bulletin of the American Society of Information Science & Technology, Davis makes a similar public appeal, stating that the framework, "offers an approach that should be explored and vetted for its usefulness in the pursuit of maturing the information architecture practice." And, the practice framework will have to provide measureable results.

Like most things in business, there needs to be a return that's worth the investment. The good news is that the framework doesn't require a financial investment because it's been released into the public domain at no charge. But, it will require time and energy to translate because it's only a framework and not a process.

Davis makes a number of claims when processes adhere to the DSIA Practice Framework, such as its ability to help:
  • Improve the competencies of any IA or UX organization
  • Foster individual practitioner growth in core competencies
  • Encourage practitioners to contribute
  • Advance knowledge transference and consensus
  • Promote discipline in applied methods
  • Provide the basis for continual assessment and refinement
Discovering what works within the DSIA Practice Framework is left to managers and practitioners to reveal. "This is the exciting part", says Davis, "because, this is where practitioners can begin to methodically discover and gain consensus, efficiency, and effectiveness around their approaches. They can choose to keep what they discover, or they can decide to share part or all of their insights with others in the field. I have hope for the latter, because this will foster greater academia participation in fueling stronger interest in the field."

The DSIA Practice Framework is off to a good start. Currently, Davis is monitoring a test group to measure the impact of the framework on IA and UX practitioners and record data that measure the effectiveness of the framework against its claims (see above). The web site where Davis will post his findings will allow registered users to report the status of their implementation of the framework as well.

"Evaluating and reporting on the viability of a framework, in a professionally-social context, is a DSIA [Research] innovation that will be useful for bringing swift validation to methods that information architects will use to do their work", says Davis. I'm very excited about getting this approach completed and implemented into the DSIA research life cycle".

Davis did not offer any further details or a specific time frame for the completion of his open evaluation strategy. But, says that the system could be ready in the fourth quarter of 2010.

For now, to help get your organization moving in the right direction, the official DSIA Practice Framework reference guide is now available for download at the DSIA Portal of Information Architecture.

Download the DSIA Practice Framework Reference Guide for Free:
Go to the official download page

About DSIA Research Initiative

DSIA Research Initiative is a private think tank dedicated to advancing a formalized discipline of information architecture based on IA theory, research and practice. DSIA Research Initiative makes a large part of its knowledge available through the DSIA Portal of IA as a way to improve awareness of information architecture. The Initiative is also committed to facilitating a collaborative bridge between the professional field of information architecture and academic institutions as a way to offer students a solid perspective of information architecture and its relationship to user experience design.

About Methodbrain
Methodbrain is a private practice that specializes in information architecture research and strategy. Methodbrain established and currently curates the DSIA Research Initiative as a way to foster a formal dialogue around information architecture.


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