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The Functional Range of an Information Architect

It is common to find individuals with the title information architect who are proficient across multiple functions within an organization or project life cycle. The following table represents potential cross-functional skills that can be expected of an information architect based on project scope (or complexity) and budget. Note that this range of skills only displays additional functional responsibilities an information architect might have. It does not express the function of information architecture.

Skills Table:

Project Scope Project Budget CFC*
Complimentary Skills Abbreviation Key [+]
Micro - Small $ 0 - $15K x
x x x x x x x x
Small - Medium $15K - 50K x
x x x x x x    
Medium - Large $50K - 150K x
x     x x      
Large - Enterprise $150K - 2.5M x
x       x      
Enterprise $2.5M+ x
* Core functional competency

About Project Scope and Budget
The Project Scope and Project Budget columns do not refer to any existing standard measures. The correlation between project scope and budget are based on previous engagements performed by Methodbrain, LLC.

About Complimentary Skills
Complimentary skills reflect a set of disciplinary capabilities an IA may be able to perform in addition to their core functional competency (CFC). However, as a project's budget and complexity increase, it will directly limit an IA's ability to be effective outside of their CFC.

A Few Insights

• This table can be used as a reference point that allows HR personnel and hiring managers to more accurately set expectations around skill set-to-project complexity.

• Practitioners that perform under the umbrella of user experience design (UXD) are encouraged to select a core functional competency (CFC). Selecting a CFC will help HR personnel or hiring managers quickly understand a practitioner's core strength/s and help hiring personnel better align their resource strategy with short and long-term objectives.

Not selecting a CFC implies a cross-functional role - which reflects the User Experience Designer perspective and job title.

• If hiring a practitioner whose CFC is information architecture, expect to see their skill set trail off as shown. So set realistic expectations based on the size and complexity of your project.

• Notice the cluster of skills in the first two rows. The fact that an IA may possess the wide range of functional skills from small- to mid-size projects also suggests that other types of CFCs (such as IxD, ID and CS respectively) may also be well suited to perform IA tasks in projects with reduced complexity.

At the other end of the spectrum, don't expect someone whose CFC is interaction design to be effective at executing the IA functions of a large- or enterprise-level assignment.

The Basics of IABack | Next: Information Architecture as a Practice

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