Think user-friendly

Marcus Mustafa is an information architect at e-business solutions company Halogen. Here, in 10 answers, he tells what that means

Marcus Mustafa is an information architect at e-business solutions company Halogen. Here, in 10 answers, he tells what that means

Where does the title come from?

An information architect builds and develops information structures. We make blueprints for user-friendliness.

What happens on your average working day?

No two days are ever the same. My primary aim is to make the information on a Web site available to the user in a way that makes sense to them. We study people's behaviour and plan our work according to their needs.

It is like planning a house or a supermarket: you have expectations about what you will see when you step through the door. It would be confusing to enter the front door and step straight into the bathroom, right? It is no coincidence that the milk is always placed at the back of the supermarket.

How much do you earn?

Money isn't the motivation for me, but information architects tend to earn between £30,000 and £60,000.

What kind of reaction do you get from people when you tell them your job title?

People don't usually understand my job from the title so I use the example of the house and the supermarket to explain it to them. Then they either understand or just look at me blankly.

What skills do you need for your job?

You must have a great personal knowledge of the Internet and a deep understanding of the technologies that are available. Personal skills are also very important. You have to be strong-headed and appreciate the challenges of a delivery chain.

How much experience is required?

Every information architect I have met has a different background. You cannot learn this job through studying theory - you have to be curious.

I do a lot of power-surfing. It is the best way of learning about other people's mistakes and finding the best new solutions. Combine this with scientifically-proven usability studies and you are halfway there. Add strategy to set the business rules and technology to determine technical requirements and you come close to a perfect mix of competencies.

What is the normal route into the job?

You will have worked for many years in the industry, maybe as a production manager, creative leader, project manager or a combination of all these.

Of which of the projects you have worked on are you most proud?

We are currently working on a pan-European extranet for a world-leading financial services company. Delivering projects of this scale gives me the most satisfaction. They are specifically developed for the B2B market and change industries by automating business processes. That's real innovation.

What is your next step?

To help make Halogen the first choice for pan-European bricks-and-mortar companies in the media, financial services and mobile telecoms industries.

What is your dream job?

To be an external consultant for a leading creative e-consultancy. If I had to choose something else, I would be a pop star!

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