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Living in Information: Responsible Design for Digital Places 1st Edition
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— Karen McGrane, author of Going Responsive
"I loved this book by Jorge so much that I asked him to help me design and build the world we want to live in."
— Dave Gray, author of Liminal Thinking and Gamestorming
"We spend more time in information environments every day— this book is a great place to spend some time to understand how we can design digital places that benefit us in the long term."
— Dan Ramsden, Creative Director for UX Architecture and Design Research, BBC
"It has never been more important to design with intention and vision. Living in Information provides a definitive roadmap on how to lead, architect, and design information environments that are intentional, resilient, add value, and shape social interactions"
— Priyanka Kakar, Director, Product Design, The Walt Disney Company
"It immediately and profoundly impacted the way I think about the systems I design and use."
— Jeff Sussna, digital transformation consultant and author of Designing Delivery
About the Author
Jorge Arango is a strategic designer and information architect. Upon seeing the then–new World Wide Web in 1994, he left his career in (building) architecture to start the first web design consultancy in Central America. He has since designed information environments for organizations that range in scope from developing–world nonprofits to Fortune 500 corporations. He is co–author (with Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville) of Information Architecture: For the Web and Beyond (2015), the fourth edition of O'Reilly's celebrated "polar bear" book. He is also a former president of the Information Architecture Institute, and speaks and teaches about design leadership around the world. Jorge lives with his wife and three children in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can reach him via email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter, where he is @jarango.
- Publisher : Two Waves Books; 1st edition (June 15, 2018)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 240 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1933820659
- ISBN-13 : 978-1933820651
- Item Weight : 13.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.75 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,174,909 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #277 in Media & Communications Industry (Books)
- #342 in Human-Computer Interaction (Books)
- #3,922 in Communication Skills
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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A few quotes that stood out:
A definition of information: “You can think of information as anything that helps reduce uncertainty so that you can make better predictions about outcomes.”
How places convey information: "Places convey information. At the physical level, a building’s form conveys to your senses the possibilities for action that it makes available to you."
How information environments influence us. "Whether you’re designing a physical environment (such as a church) or an information environment (such as a word processor), you must be aware that you are creating a context that will affect how its users behave in it. The success of the design depends on whether or not it supports the goals its users have for the sort of place it creates."
By comparing digital “places” (instead of products) to more traditional building architecture, I’ve grown a more holistic understanding of what I create as a designer. My biggest takeaway from this read came early on when Arango discussed the nature of context. The “products” we create are so much more than just products since they introduce new contexts in which our users interpret and act with the world- hence they are digital “places.” It is thus in our duty as the architects, or more appropriately the “gardeners,” of such experiences to be cognizant of both the internal processes and external long-term consequences of what we decide to create.
After reading this book, every designer should come away with a sense of responsibility. In Arango’s words, “we must realize the great power we have over people’s understanding of the world and their behavior in it, and wield that power responsibly.”
There were lots of passages that really resonated with me. Some of them left me wanting another book diving deeper into certain topics. In particular, the passage on “…engaging with each other in a context in which over a quarter of the world’s population is present is bound to have some effect on our ability to act collectively”, was like a precursor to “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix that was released this year. The film supports this point on interactions on social media designed by algorithms to keep users in their own “bubble” or “echo” to keep them engaged, rather than giving a consensus of what neighbors and the local community think. And it has proven to cause high levels of civil unrest in recent years.
I really liked some of the terms such as “shared information environment”. It’s better than the term “social media” which sounds more product focused whereas “shared information environment” brings in the connotation of collaboration, communication and “it’s about the people” in the digital space.
I also really liked the quote from Upton Sinclair “It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends on not understanding it.”. It reminds me of my first thoughts on how team structures I’ve experienced are not conducive to actual human centered design when UX is under marketing or product instead of it’s own team. The section on team structures and their level of collaboration corresponding holacracy went into detail on this pain point of companies in varying levels of UX maturity even today. This personally made a great sanity check for me. I wish I read this book earlier in my career.
Top reviews from other countries
Mr. Arango is certainly one of the most culturally literate people in the field of information architecture today. As such, this is very much a book on the philosophy and ethics of information design – one that is long overdue.
If you are looking for lists of dos and don’ts, or best practices you can apply tomorrow, you will be sorely disappointed. But I guarantee that this brilliant book is going to make you think long and hard about the projects on which you’re working. And it WILL make you a much better designer – digital or otherwise.
There's a deep and conscious reflection about ethics, philosophy of design and the way in which Arango mirrors physical places and digital environments is not to be taken for granted. Ecosystems need to be crafted carefully and meaningfully.