- Skills required for positions as an information architect
- Job descriptions for information architects
- Salary and competency studies on information architecture
STC provides employment information for members at http://jobs.stc.org/home/index.cfm?site_id=360. Find listings also on the IA Institute Job Board http://iainstitute.org/jobs and athttp://jobs.ok-cancel.com/.
The IA Institute also has a mentoring program: http://www.iainstitute.org/mentoring/.
Skills required for positions as an information architect
ID SIG member Art Ignacio (firstname.lastname@example.org) analyzed job postings for information architects and developed the following list of skills called for most frequently.
Art explains how the list was structured:
“The following requirements were collected from job listings with the term “Information Architect” in the posting’s title. An attempt has been made to categorize the requirements. Where meaningful, items within each category are listed in order of increasing level of requirement. Information Technology (IT) is the most technology-centric category, with requirements outside the norm, but representing some employers views of the position.”
This list may suggest a career path from technical communication to information architecture. News and educational information on any of the topics listed are welcome for posting on the ID SIG website.
INFORMATION ARCHITECT— REQUIREMENTS
- User, usability
- Conduct user surveys
- Perform task analysis
- Perform heuristic evaluations
- Determine audience needs
- Create task flows
- Define user scenarios, persona development
- Business requirements
- Manage stakeholder expectations
- Deliver status to senior management
- Perform comparative, competitive research
- User interface development
- Produce mockups, wireframes, flowcharts, storyboards, content inventory, site maps
- Develop working prototypes, perform rapid prototyping
- Demonstrate UIs and test functional alternatives
- Perform iterative UI design
- Possess facilitation and interpersonal skills; able to work with cross-functional team
- Translate user research to design decisions
- Develop functional specifications, page specifications, visual specifications
- Develop templates
- Establish standards, guidelines
- Manage 3rd party vendors, contract staff, work with remote teams
- Web technologies, experience with the following
- Web site tracking and analytics
- Data modeling, databases, XML, taxonomy, hierarchy, classification, categorization
- Search, form filling
- Tools, experience with the following
- MS Office, Acrobat Distiller
- MS Project
- Visio, Photoshop, Illustrator, FreeHand, Dreamweaver, HTML, CSS
- JavaScipt, Flash, Flash ActionScript
- Adobe Premier, Windows Media, QuickTime<
- CMS, Documentum, TeamSite
- Information Technology (IT)
- Develop workflow, logical processes, h/w, os, interfaces between systems
- Experience with application, data, middleware
- Create entity relationship diagrams
- Create CRUD (create, retrieve, update, delete) matrices, data modeling
- Experience with Web-based application frameworks (.NET, JSP, ASP, PHP, etc.)
- Knowledge of Internet and email standards and UNIX system administration
- Evaluate tools, technologies
- Work with application vendors to understand direction, roadmap
- Experience with WebLogic, WebSphere
- Art, Graphic Design, Fine Arts, Industrial Design, Interface Design, Technical Communications
- Cognitive Psychology, Human Computer Interaction, Human Factors
- Instructional Design, Library Science, Information Science
- Information Systems, Computer Science
- Business Administration
Job descriptions for information architects
During the week of December 5, 2005 the SIG-ia list of ASIS&T and the Single Sourcing SIG list of STC had discussions of job descriptions for information architects. The information below is generalized from resources mentioned in those discussions and other information.
Ann Rockley provides a basic description in Managing Enterprise Content (New Riders, 2003).
- Analyze and design content.
- Build information product models, element models, metadata, and reuse strategies.
- Design information retrieval for authors and users.
- Design information for ease of use by content users and ease of reuse by authors.
This may involve the following:
- Develop a scheme for topic-based technical documentation and reuse of information. This includes gathering information from writers, designers, marketing, and customer support and working with them to identify topics and potential reuse.
- Develop guidelines for organizing and labeling topics, define the appropriate units of information, and identify metadata.
- Define security for access and entering metadata.
- Develop or customize the XML schema.
- Provide guidance on the transformation of content for publishing.
The following specific activities are from various published job descriptions:
- Analyze content and tasks.
- Develop task models and usage scenarios.
- Create sketches, diagrams, maps, storyboards, and rapid prototypes to develop and document the information design.
- Develop highly usable solutions for web-based transactions, applying expertise in information, interface, and interaction design methods.
- Integrate information and interaction design into the design process; prepare estimates for information architecture work.
- Participate in project management with an emphasis on keeping customers informed about information architecture issues.
- Keep up-to-date on news and trends in the information architecture and share that knowledge with the team. Train writers and editors in information architecture. Serve as an information, interface, and interaction design consultant.
Qualifications mentioned include:
- Degree: Minimum BA or BS in Library Science, Psychology, Human Factors, or Fine Arts or related field. Master’s in Information Design or Library Science.
- Experience in information architecture and interface design including design of websites, web applications, or web services.
- Knowledge of computer networking concepts, XML authoring and publishing tools, database structures, and information models, scenario and task-based, topic-oriented documentation.
Salary and competency studies on information architecture
The Information Architecture Institute has a salary survey posted at http://iainstitute.org/pg/salary_survey_2003.php, and a competency study at http://iainstitute.org/pg/competency_survey_2004.php.
Links to salary surveys for information architecture: http://iawiki.net/SalarySurveys. Posted August 2005.