Rich Julius, Information Architect
Thanks for visiting my IA page, which includes a number of lightly annotated information architecture and UXD samples, as well as a few staged sites and prototypes.
I have directed dozens of information architecture and user experience projects over the past 15 years. This page highlights selected portfolio samples where I was the hands-on IA (as opposed to the outstanding deliverables provided by the many talented IA/UXD professionals who have worked for me over the years).
Today my focus is on helping the struggling news industry develop multi-channel publishing strategies and more effective digital discourse. It is an information architecture challenge that truly puts my skills to the test.
News site UI for The Alameda Sun (graphic design by Oksana Pankeviciene).
|This is the only piece here that is actually someone else’s work, but I wanted to tell this story: in 1998 when I was the information architect for MS2 I had the opportunity to engage Cooper Interaction Design (we shared the same VC firm). While personas are often derided as “consultingware,” the most effective part of the Cooper engagement was the Personas document.I made sure that every one of the 100+ staff at MS2 had a copy of this personas page affixed to their cube wall. In meetings, in the hallways, or at a team lunch we spoke of the users in terms of “Jackie will need this feature” or “Ben won’t have the patience for this.” It was a wonderful tool for getting everyone user-centered.|
|I have continued to use personas in projects, but they often seem to be ignored after the initial delivery. The persona sample here is from the last set I wrote myself, for CommonTies in 2006. Personas at their best are a high-level summary of a thoughtful demographic analysis, so I now delegate this task to analysts with more patience than I have. I’m more of a wireframe and prototype guy myself, so let’s move on to those.|
|iMedia Revenue Aggregation (2012)
This is a hybrid specification document; it serves as both a spec for revisions to the aggregation system, as well as the wireframes and discussion around UI issues. I selected this as a portfolio piece because while it isn’t pretty, it documents both information architecture and technical design.
|DNAinfo Newsroom (2010)
I conceived and designed the “Newsroom of the Future” for DNAinfo, serving as both IA and CTO. This particular document was created to help the editorial team conceptualize an improved newsroom interface as we went into late beta. The goal was to reduce the number of clicks required to complete the full news story workflow (the “85 to 16 Clicks” in the title was not quite literal, but was based on a comment made by one of the senior editors). Again, not as polished as the client-facing samples below, this typifies the communication style of a hands-on IA who is not “producing deliverables” but is in continuous collaboration with internal stakeholders.
|Cisco MAP Portal (2008)
I served as both product manager and as IA for the Marketing Acceleration Planner portal, the jewel of Cisco Partner Central. The project involved the rebuild of an existing system by my company, a globalization initiative as the existing system had only been deployed in North America, and the integration of four other vendors’ systems as part of the total solution.
|Seagate Surveillance (2007)
I was the primary IA for Seagate Technologies from 2005 to 2009, contracted through both Specific Impulse and Crimson Consulting. During these four years I managed a number of IAs, but also did hands-on wireframing myself, including this one for Seagate Surveillance.
|VerizonSurround Broadband Portal (2006)
I worked as part of an agency team to develop the strategy for a broadband entertainment portal for Verizon’s 5 million DSL customers. The goal was to provide a showcase for the best in broadband content while building an active community. I started out managing the user experience effort, but stepped in as IA when my lead IA went on maternity leave. This wireframe therefore represents a collaboration, but it was such a challenging and sexy project I couldn’t resist including it.
|Brotherhood Mutual Insurance (2005)
I served as contract IA for Brotherhood Mutual Insurance, designing their underwriting system interface as they moved from “green screen” to their first graphical interface. Talk about an easy-to-please audience! (Too easy to please in fact, as you’ll discover in the Prototypes section.)
Site and System Maps
|Feeling brave? Email me if you want to log into the sales demo. This is a walk-up interface; you should be able to use it with almost no training.||iMedia Revenue Newsroom (live)
I spun off the DNAinfo newsroom technology in 2011 to pursue my vision of the “Newsroom of the Future” (with DNAinfo’s very gracious support) and to develop an integrated companion system that would be focused on the sales revenue side. The new system was reincarnated as a cloud-based, Software-as-a-Service model. It has been extended with interesting aggregation technology and improved interface models that enable even the most technophobic journalists to feel right at home. Sites running on the iMedia Revenue newsroom include http://GalwayIndependent.com and http://AvondhuPress.ie.
|DNAinfo.com “Manhattan Local News” (live)
I was the first employee, CTO, and information architect of this news site founded by the billionaire Joe Ricketts (an interesting story in itself). IA highlights: an advanced tagging model where each tag can be promoted to a “knowledge node” with its own metadata, and a transparent collaboration model where stories are folders made up of components (video, images, text, audio, and links, aka “VITALs”). There is some cool stuff behind the scenes here. In May 2012 they expanded to include all 5 boroughs; during my tenure it was Manhattan based, with over 1.2 million visitors/month.
|The Conspirator Official Movie Site (live)
Developed in 2006, this was Ireland’s largest online business directory, and is my own personal experiment in both taxonomy creation and interface coding (I own the site, coded it, and designed the database and taxonomic model). It has a lot of interesting and occasionally brilliant pieces, but I include this not because it was a success (it wasn’t), but because I learned so much from it, especially from its many flaws.
|Perspecta, “The Information Architecture Company” (closed in 1998)
I included this in part as a tribute to the late Steve Holtzman, my mentor, who was Perspecta’s president until he passed away from cancer in 1998. It was the second company founded by MIT Media Lab chairman Nicholas Negroponte (his first was Wired), and featured remarkable “fly-through information” interfaces. Among other things, my job was to find a practical use for them.
|Answers OnLine (1996)
Firing up the Way-Back Machine, this is a snapshot of my first large-scale enterprise web property. The site included graphically rich branding and the ability to change language (you can flip from French to Japanese on every page!). Thankfully, I updated this to a more conservative yet far more practical design 6 months later.