Instead of Big IA (excuse me: UX) this time a look at the smaller pieces of the pie.
First we had "little IA" versus "Big IA" from Peter Morville's column "Big Architect, Little Architect" back in 2000. Then last month, implicitly we had to to adopt "micro IA" as opposed to "macro IA" because that's Andrew Dillon's new term for Big IA. And now there's "IA lite" (vs. "IA classic"?), Dave Rogers' nickname for the IA that a webdesigner could learn easily, according to Joshua Kaufman.
The first two adjectives ("little" and "micro") refer to the same activities: deep IA work focussing on structures, search, semantics, metadata, ontologies, taxonomies, or controlled vocabularies.
The third one ("lite") is new, and well chosen I think. I shudder when I think of Lite Beer and similarly so when I think of Lite IA or IA Lite. But part of that is snobbery: Lite Beer has its place in the spectrum of beers and so may IA Lite find a place as well. As I said in "Big IA is now UX":
Related fields, placed in the horizontal line of the T-model, have interests that overlap with our shallow subjects.IA Lite focusses on these shallow subjects, like navigation, labeling, and layout.
Maybe IA Lite can morph into the IA version of what Jakob Nielsen called Guerrilla Usability:
[..] simplified usability methods [that] can be a way for a company to gradually build up its reliance on systematic usability methods, starting with the bare minimum and gradually progressing to a more refined lifecycle approach.It's a shame that Guerrilla IA seems to be taken by Lou Rosenfeld to mean something else, otherwise we could use the same words that Jakob used and define Guerrilla IA as:
simplified IA methods that can be a way for a company to gradually build up its reliance on systematic IA methods, starting with the bare minimum and gradually progressing to a more refined lifecycle approach.Who knows, if IA Lite catches on, maybe one day IA will fall pray to what fellow Design Engaged participant Tom Coates called
"The Mass Amateurisation of Everything" and we have the IA processes, methods and tools in place so that everybody can be an IA.