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Presented By: School of Information

Rackham Centennial Alumni Lecture: Lou Rosenfeld

Lou Rosenfeld  - image courtesy of Myra Klarman Lou Rosenfeld  - image courtesy of Myra Klarman
Lou Rosenfeld - image courtesy of Myra Klarman
School of Information alumnus Lou Rosenfeld (MILS ’90) will represent his alma mater with a presentation on "Beyond User Research" as part of the Rackham Centennial Alumni Lecture Series.

Rosenfeld is regarded as one of the founding figures of information architecture, which is the design and organization of websites, intranets, online communities, and software to support usability. With fellow U-M alumnus Peter Morville, he authored the seminal text on the subject, Information Architecture for the World Wide Web (aka "The Polar Bear book"), in 1998.

As user research becomes firmly established in organizations around the world, "it's tempting to congratulate ourselves and retreat to our shiny new labs,” says Rosenfeld. “But our work is nowhere near complete.” He contends that as currently practiced, user research remains narrow in focus, often limited to the methods and tools that reflect one’s own educational biases, and approaches that fit within people’s comfort zones.

Rosenfeld examines how other research practices, such as web analytics, business analytics, and market research, provide powerful ways of learning about users' wants and needs. “More importantly, they're often complementary with what we do,” he said. “When we synthesize the methods that tell us what is going on, combined with methods that tell us why, only then does user research unveil true insight.”

Rosenfeld is principal of Louis Rosenfeld LLC, an information architecture consultancy. He founded Rosenfeld Media, a user experience publishing house, in late 2005.

The Centennial Lectures showcase the diversity and quality of the intellectual legacy of the University’s graduates. Over 60 graduate programs will host a Centennial Lecture delivered by graduate alumni in October 2012. A reception follows the lecture at 5:30 p.m. in the University Club room of the Michigan Union.

Lou Rosenfeld  - image courtesy of Myra Klarman Lou Rosenfeld  - image courtesy of Myra Klarman
Lou Rosenfeld - image courtesy of Myra Klarman

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