Andy Fitzgerald

language + meaning + user experience architecture

Language Arts for the Lizard Brain

5 April, 2017

Here are the slides and a complete transcript of my 2017 Information Architecture Summit talk on language, cognition, and vocabulary design, delivered this March in Vancouver, BC. This is the latest iteration of a topic I first presented at Taxonomy Bootcamp in Washington, DC in November 2016.

Talk Description

Because we use all use language proficiently every day, we tend to assume we know how it works. Sometimes we’re even right! When designing communication systems for others, however, we frequently run into wild discrepancies between what we expect our users to understand — and what our users actually understand.

One culprit...

In Pursuit of the Perfect UX Portfolio

7 November, 2015
portfolio home page

One of the more common questions I get from folks here in the Seattle UX community is about portfolios: How to create an effective portfolio? How much work should I show? What’s the one piece to include (for “x” job)?

I won’t pretend to have the perfect answers to these questions (hence the title “In Pursuit of…”). I don’t mind, however, sharing a few tips that I’ve found helpful in creating portfolios and interviewing and hiring folks based on them. As it happens, I’ve also recently finished a ground-up redesign of my own portfolio, so I can put some of...

The Trouble with Systems

1 July, 2013

Much virtual ink has been spilled in the last year or two over the importance of thinking about information design in terms of systems as opposed to thinking of it as a set of carefully laid out maps.

In a 2012 blog post on Embodied Responsiveness, Andrew Hinton observed that “rather than trying to pre-program and map out every possible scenario, we need systems that respond intelligently by the very nature of their architectures.” Stephen Hay (Responsive Design Workflow, 2013) and Sara Wachter-Boettcher (Content Everywhere, 2012) have likewise called out the need to stop thinking about web design...