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  Set a foundation. Establish a practice.
About Practice Modeling

The interest of practice modeling is to define the aspects of a sustainable professional environment for addressing information architecture while cultivating professional discipline, productivity and a readiness for innovation and change.

At times, approaches to information architecture may appear unbounded by concrete methods. Tacit knowledge runs so deep in the field of information architecture (IA) that even respected and influential contributors are often found positioning core aspects of IA as being beyond codification [1],[2] —where real world experience and mentorship become the primary paths to gaining knowledge and mastery.

These unchallenged perspectives contribute to a reluctance, by many, to pursue and justify systematic approaches that promote a broader base for an IA discipline. But this has not stopped the DSIA™ Research Initiative from attempting to develop the industry's first comprehensive IA practice model.

Being effective at providing IA solutions can be enhanced by providing an environment that is conducive to performing the function of information architecture. Similar to a building that requires a solid foundation upon which an habital and sustainable structure can be built, it's safe to premise that an IA organization might require its own set of pre-conditions for cultivating success.

It is strongly felt that research into practice modeling will expose the necessary conditions that are ideal for IA and other UX design professionals to grow and eventually perform and maintain master skills. These skills will greatly improve individual competency and raise the performance level of an entire organization.

Primary Features of a Practice Model
Preliminary evidence suggests that a comprehensive practice model will have the following:
  • A clear connection to a business model
  • A definition for practice
  • A vehicle to benchmark and assess performance
  • Processes and methods that meet the criteria of assessment benchmarks
  • A model for gaining consensus
  • Regular output, refinement and maintenance of best practice

The download above offers a high-level snapshot of the primary areas of interest of a practice model and their respective IA roles as developed by the DSIA Research Initiative. Roles and practice interests can be related in a way that identifies unique areas to which IA and other UX design professionals can focus. Approaching one's practice in this way sets reasonable expectations and endorses a logical distribution of responsibilities and effort.

Practice Modeling Research Overview  |  Next: Practice Framework

[1] Garret, J. (2002). ia/recon: Part 2 of 6: "To her, developing effective structures is a matter of exercising her professional judgment— judgment honed through years of trial and error and hard-won experience with her craft"; Part 6 of 6: "I have often been asked the secret of my success as an information architect. Here, I will reveal for the first time that secret...I have hunches."
[2] Spencer, D. (2009). How I Draft an Information Architecture: "...Just make it up..."

Practice Model: Work Product

Research Overview
About Practice Modeling
DSIA™ Practice Definition
DSIA™ Practice Framework
DSIA™ Practice Methodology
• DSIA™ AOI Model - TBD

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