T-Model for UX
November 7, 2004 at 5:47 PM
Peter Boersma has published an interesting model of the User Experience and it's relation to Information Architecture called the T-Model. This is a pretty touchy subject for a lot of people, especially those who deal with Interaction Design and even Web Design. It dives into the mess that is defining the damn thing for IA, and the issue of Little IA and Big IA. With that said Thomas Vander Wal has already made some comments about this, I'd like to hear what you have to say about it. Feel free to post your comments right here.
I think the model does a couple of things -- it brings IA to the same level as all the other verticals. For a successful/good user experience, all the verticals have a key role to play -- and IA is only one part of that. It also puts user experience (and the user) at the top -- where it should be. What I'm finding most interesting about Peter's model is the way it evolves through the article - the T-model as it is described by Peter parallels in many ways the way a web professional evolves. In many cases (not all) the beginning of a web professional's career starts in one narrow part of the model - the verticals in the diagram. Over time, as the person's experience and skills broaden, they grow to understand more pieces of the verticals and are more effective at dealing with the "big picture" once they have solid enough grasp of the many verticals. That's when they can be effective at the top, driving the overall user experience, doing big picture work. It also fully acknowledges that while they are doing the big picture UX work, they are still experts in the IA vertical (or another vertical if that was their background)