UIEtips: Information Interplay – Visual Design, Information Architecture, and Content

Jared Spool

September 29th, 2010

There’s an on-going debate in the design community: are teams better off with generalists or specialists? Those taking the generalist side argue that a breadth of abilities helps more. On the specialists’ side, they claim it is the depth of specific abilities delivering the benefit.

From our research in what makes up the most successful teams, it turns out they are both right. And they are both wrong.

A team with three people, each of whom has basic skills in visual design, information architecture, and content design, will produce about the same results as a three-person team where there’s a specialist for each area. But the teams that do the best have three individuals, each of whom have advanced skills in all three areas.

The implications of this are clear: if you want to create a best-of-breed team, you need to constantly be raising the skills and capabilities of every team member in the critical design areas. Specializing in three areas is much more valuable than specializing in one.

In this issue of UIEtips, we revisit an article from 2009. In the article, I discuss the interplay that happens in-between visual design, information architecture, and content design. I talk about how the areas interact and how to ensure you’re creating the best designs. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Read the article, Information Interplay: Visual Design, Information Architecture, and Content.

By the way, if you’re looking to advance your skill set, you should attend this November’s User Interface Conference. Some of the full-day workshops include visual design, designing with scenarios, and content strategy. Review the all the workshops at UICONF.com.

What are you doing to boost your skills in these three areas? We’d love to hear from you. Share your experiences below.

User Interface Conference FifteenExplore the 8 workshops offered at this year’s conference . Register for UI15 by October 8 with promotion code BLOGPOST and get $400 off.

One Response to “UIEtips: Information Interplay – Visual Design, Information Architecture, and Content”

  1. Hugh G. Says:

    Thank you, Jared. It’s nice to have results to back up our opinions.

    I’ve made it a personal goal to become proficient in all those areas, but so far I’ve not seen many others who have. Are they as rare as I think they are?

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