Forget Everything You Know

09. April 2017 · Time to Read: 1 MinCategory: User Experience

Forgetting how you use websites is crucial to understanding how your users will use your website. You need to get back to basic thinking or as Richard Saul Wurman would say "be dumb".

Richard Saul Wurman is usually credited with the creation of TED but was also a pioneer of information architecture (IA) and a lot of his thinking is still in use today.

The only thing I have a grasp of is my inability to understand. That is why i'm more powerful than people who are smarter than me.

Wurman is a man of many talents but it is his specific insights into IA that I mostly know him for. His books on the subject are essential reading to any IA student.

5 Patterns from the Work and Life of Richard Saul Wurman

Dan Klyn has kindly collected Richard Saul Wurman's IA patterns and created a succinct list:

  • Hats - order encodes meaning
  • Sandcastles - what > how
  • Gathering - apperception
  • Tango - terror + confidence
  • Dumb - expertise expires

I suggest you watch Dan's talk on the subject. and keep a look out for his book with Richard Saul Wurman. Until then, give Information Anxiety 2 a read.

If you are new to IA, this talk is a great introduction to key concepts but also introduces you to the man that started it all.

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