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Office 12 UI Is Information Architecture

A follow-on thought from my previous post.

If you watch the video interview with the Office UI lead, you’ll hear her talk about making accessible 1,500 commands.

The new ribbon, and its task orientation, is not an interaction design solution, but an information architecture solution. It’s actually classic information architecture. What is the most suitable cognitive/mental model when interacting with Office products? (their answer: task-based). What are the terms/labels that will best guide people to discover/find the functionality they desire?

  1. Peter,

    How would an Interaction Designer approach this — what’s the difference? In my mind the approach would be the same, but IA deals with information whereas ID deals with actions (tasks), no? Same techniques might apply, yes? I’m just wondering because the diffenences seem to be very muddled at times…


  2. I’m just a simple caveman…

    However, as someone with limited I/A experience(mostly a developer), I tend to think I/A is the interface to a large degree, or at least the foundation. I tend to work mostly on websites, though, so that probably blurs my thought process a bit.

    As I step deeper into webapp development, perhaps I’ll find that I/A is separated from I/D more than I believe right now.

  3. Q. How many information architects does it take to define information architecture?

    A. Not sure yet, no one seems to agree.

    From you post you say it’s “not an interaction design solution” but reread your post a few times. Most of your statements would lead one to believe it, in fact, is a IxD solution, until you state the exact opposite.


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