Ethical issues and information architecture

Donna Maurer

Information architecture affects people - there’s no doubt about that. And in any practice that affects people, a range of ethical issues come into play. Each and every decision we make can help or hurt many - our users, clients, peers and even our profession as a whole.

This presentation will examine some of the ethical issues that we face as information architects, including:

  • The myriad of effects of our design decisions on users
  • Working with clients and peers
  • The consequences of creating categories and classifying objects
  • What inclusive design really means
  • Personal beliefs and their role in projects
  • How can we design for sustainability

I’m not a philosopher, so this presentation will be very much from a practitioner’s perspective. It may even be funny!

Donna MaurerDonna Maurer is a freelance information architect and interaction designer, a mentor, writer and trainer. She has seven years experience working in-house and as a consultant doing both strategic and tactical design. She has designed large intranets & websites, e-commerce & search systems, complex business applications, a set of design patterns and a content management system.

She believes deeply in the value of user-centred design and uses a range of user-centred approaches on her projects – from quick analysis of existing research to deep ethnography. She also believes deeply in team-based and iterative design – continually surprising her colleagues by talking to people rather than computers and designing the old-fashioned way with pencil, sticky notes and much coloured paper.

Donna is an experienced speaker who has taught full-day workshops and presented sessions at many local and international conferences, on the topics of information architecture, interaction design and whatever else crosses her mind. She spends her remaining spare time playing in her orchard, spending (not enough) time with her family, on the boards of the IAI and WIPA, and writing a book on card sorting to be published by Rosenfeld Media later this year.

2 Responses to “Ethical issues and information architecture”

  1. Who let the dogs out — IAs getting together at Oz-IA 2007 « Matt’s Musings says:

    [...] Ethical issues and information architecture - Donna Maurer [...]

  2. SitePoint Blogs » Four events to keep you learning says:

    [...] is on Information Architecture, though there are also presentations on related topics as diverse asEthics, Analysing quantitative data and Multidimensional tagging frameworks. While OZ-IA is new on the [...]