After a nice and mostly relaxing break over the Christmas holiday period, where I spent a good deal of time watching Australia take on South Africa in the cricket, I started back at work on the 9th. In the lead-up to the break there'd been signs of a build up in demand for Web development services - across the board: design, IA, strategy, development - and I was expecting a busy start to the year.
Instead, it's been more than simply busy. I haven't seen the year start off in this way for nearly five years. And I'm not alone. All across the local industry we're seeing the same thing: companies with more work than they know what to do with; and difficulty finding experienced staff.
Clients are expecting more than they have previously, but not without expecting to pay for the service. Happily, among the most frequently-asked-for 'extra' are information architecture and user experience services, a sign that the Australian market has well-and-truly caught up with the global trend we've been witnessing for the last few years.
The local IA professionals I've spoken with have uniformly seen the same increased demand for their services, which further supports the belief that this is neither isolated nor short-lived.
Closer to home I've been working on formalising an integrated UCD approach that places more emphasis on the characteristics of the clients' business as a means of counter-balancing the requirements derived from direct user research. Perhaps counter-balance is the wrong word. It's more a sense that those user requirements can be addressed in a variety of ways and the most appropriate way for a particular business is that which is most closely-aligned with the characteristics of the firm.
Anyway, you may get the opportunity to read an article on the subject in an up-coming issue of UX Matters (www.uxmatters.com) - if I can produce a draft worthy of being published!
That will have to be all for now, but if I can I'll post some exerpts for comment.
Bye for now.