Getting to Know Global IA

I’m at the IA Summit in Montreal and have been pleased to find that IA (information architecture) professionals are tackling the challenges of content globalization in a big way. And this is a great thing, because the IA industry is critical to the evolution of truly successful global Web sites.

I’m not much of an IA guy, so I’ve been getting up to speed on industry buzzwords like facets and taxonomies and folksonomies. And the presentations by far have been terrific.

There were a total of four sessions that spoke directly to content globalization, touching on everything from translation testing to global IA (I gave a talk on one of my favorite topics, the global gateway). And there were a good number of attendees across these sessions — mostly internal IA professionals and their agency counterparts. I did not find one localization industry professional (besides myself), but I expect that to change in the years ahead.

Thanks to the efforts of Louis Rosefeld, Peter Van Dijck, Jorge Arango, Livia Labate, and many others, I expect we’ll see some really exciting things coming out of the IA industry, which will have a large impact on the localization industry. My personal goal will be to do what I can to get the localization industry and the IA industry to work more closely together to share insights and do a better job of advancing global Web sites, from taxonomy to translation.

PS: I spoke with more than a dozen IAs who are all working on brand new multilingual Web projects (from IT to services to apparel), another strong sign that companies have awakened to the importance of Web globalization. I said it before and I’ll say it again: 2005 is the year that Web globalization goes mainstream.

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Author: John Yunker

John co-founded Byte Level Research in 2000 and is author of The Web Globalization Report Card. He also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.

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