The world is complex.
Information is subjective.
Customer Experience is key.

Globally there is a big community of courageous professionals for whom their daily work is about making sense of any mess. They are information architects, user experience designers, developers, social media experts, visual designers, innovators... sometimes working as specialists but in other roles too: as creative directors, entrepreneurs, managers or consultants. They are to be found in agencies, startups, big corporations or work as freelancers.

They all have something in common: they are responsible for Designing, Developing, Building, Communicating websites, mobile apps or digital services and products that act as information spaces in ubiquitous ecologies (on any device, in any location, and in any format).

The aim of this project is to stimulate discussion about how we

Architect for Happiness. 


The exploration 

During January and February of 2015 we run a research to explore how the heterogeneous community of makers of stuff for others to use Architects for Happiness:

  • Do we consciously work to deliver happiness? Are we driven by user happiness in every step of the process?
  • Do we work with the big picture in mind? Do we look only for higher purpose or only for positive emotions?
  • How is user and customer happiness measured?
  • How much influence do we have on overall customer happiness?
  • How much does this community know about and use Information Architecture techniques?  
  • How do perspectives vary among different specialists?

Our main source of data was a survey. (Access the full details at Data collected on the 2 surveys post). In addition, we conducted interviews with industry professionals. Some of them are available at the blog

 

A big THANKS to everyone who participated!

 

We presented initial results at World IA Day Barcelona. Have a look at the presentation.

 


Inspired by the results and the response at the presentation, we are continuing to talk with industry professionals and academics. We are also working to prepare a workshop in Barcelona to explore more and work on developing some tools for the creator community. 


As professionals involved in making stuff for others to use we, somehow, impact on people's happiness. 


People seek happiness. 

Scientific research tells us that people are bad at predicting what keeps us happy.  On the other hand, a huge amount of theory, research and spiritual approaches on well-being, supports the idea that positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning and higher purpose are all concepts that can imbue happiness and improve output.


Businesses need happy customers.

No two companies are alike, but all businesses appreciate the value of a happy customer. A happy customer is a returning customer and offers free advertising via word of mouth and social media. Businesses measure sales and customer satisfaction by looking at customer engagement; they want to build relationships with their customers and work to offer positive interactions. 


In between the two are the professionals that make things for others to use. 

There is a heterogeneous community of professionals that bridges the gap between business and customer. They design, build and communicate the services and products made available and include information architects, researchers, user experience designers, developers, social media experts, visual designers, innovators and entrepreneurs. 


Information Architecture

“Information architecture is a new idea, but it’s an old practice—in fact, you could say it’s as old as human communication itself. For as long as people have had information to convey, they have had to make choices about how they structure that information so other people can understand and use it.”
— Jesse James Garrett (The Elements of User Experience, 2011)

This research focuses on how webs, mobile apps or digital services are designed and built and how much the goal of user and customer happiness is embedded in the process. We also hope to learn how much people know about Information Architecture and how much it is employed in the creation process.   

With such a big heterogeneous community of professionals involved, it’s clear that not everyone knows about Information Architecture. In fact, depending on your educational background or where you work, the approach and the tools used to design and build can be very different.


Behind the Scenes 

Hi there! We are Nicole Neuefeind (left) and Silvia Calvet (right)

Nicole is an experienced design and marketing professional with an international background in the US and Europe. She founded and managed an award-winning design and commercial photography studio with a 9 year track-record that includes user experience design in its portfolio of services. 

Silvia believes that companies can be profitable and happy. She likes to co-work with organizations and teams to understand problems, identify needs and constraints to create valuable products and services that meet business goals and customer needs. She always looks at the big picture to ensure value and benefits across channels for all the actors.


wiad_infographic-final_0.jpg

Inspiration

We felt inspired by the World IA Day 2015 theme of Happiness  and thought about exploring how much do we Architect for Happiness. 

As there is an heterogeneous community that structures information for webs, mobile apps and digital services, it's difficult to define who is an 'Information Architect'. On the other hand, not everybody involved has a solid education in Information Architecture or, in the worst case, no education at all.

For that reason we decided to explore approaches and perceptions on how Information architects and other 'creators' currently Architect Happiness. Let's see if the patterns that the study reveals help to improve how we work.

We also hope to generate more awareness of our practice.  


Acknowledgements

A lot of people in the IA community have supported our project with ideas, feedback, and spreading the word. A big thank you goes to: Nicholas Moore, María Pérez de Arrilucea (@nunile), Stefan Rubino Insinga (@SRubins), Luz Calvo (@moresimplicis), Mario Pérez-Montoro, Peter J. Bogaards (@BogieZero).
We are also grateful for a number of graphics we found online and used via Creative Commons licenses. Credits.