Modern chess design has stood the test of time, but that wasn’t always the case. Sometimes less is more.

Chess has a long history, it dates back to the 7th century in India, where it was created as a war game. In some ways, a lot of the game has remained unchanged since the creation, but there have been some big moments in the evolution of the game. Today, we’re talking about one particular moment in chess history — when the pieces became standardized.

To put on my information architect hat for a minute, the word “piece” in chess has a few different meanings depending on the context (if you’re following my IA and chess blog series, I will…

Today I wanted to write more about my personal experience with chess, more as a player, than anything else related to the industry or design.

Now that things here will be reopening soon-ish, I am starting to look towards the possibility of playing over the board (OTB). As a person who started playing because “Queen’s Gambit” on Netflix, I’m really looking forward to this. I am a really tactile person, I think there’s something great about having to physically move the pieces around versus just moving your mouse. Playing online games is great for so many things, but it’s also…

Thank you, readers!

I know I’ve been writing a lot of articles, lately, but I wanted to take a quick moment to check in with my readers. Some of you have been following my little blog for a while now. I know I haven’t posted one of my Information Architecture and chess posts in a while. I haven’t given up on that, but the blog (and my writing) have been evolving over the past few weeks.

Really, this blog started as a way to help me understand Information Architecture (and how it applies to chess) by doing what I know…

The chess giant’s website has a strong start. Does it have what it takes to compete with the big chess apps?

As soon as I heard that chess legend Garry Kasparov was going to start accepting users for chess website, I jumped at the chance to be on the wait list. My impatience paid off — I got into the first batch of early access users! I’m going to be reviewing the site today as both a chess player and UX Designer.

The welcome email image
The welcome email image
The welcome image in the email.

First thoughts from a cursory glance

My favorite thing about Kasparov Chess is that it looks like it was made in the 21st century…

A site redesign is more than just a visual overhaul. is eager to redesign their website. They’ve opened it to the general public as a contest, asking for users to submit a redesign of the homepage. The winner could take $10,000 and potentially a job. While that seems well and good, I do wonder why they wouldn’t just hire a design firm to do a full site redesign.

However, since the site is looking for notes on things that could be better, let’s talk about that. I am a user experience designer and a fairly new chess player. It…

Information and context is critical to user experience — but it’s a careful balance.

This year’s Information Architecture Conference is starting next week, and this is the first year I get to attend. As a new information architect, I had applied and received an equity scholarship to attend the conference this year. Exciting! I was watching last year’s keynote address, where speaker Cassini Nazir did a talk called “Architecting Exformation: Design for Curious Minds.” My first thought was, “what is exformation?” as I’m sure some of you are wondering the same thing.

Information and exformation

As information architects, we look…

How playing chess has helped me find my focus.

Over the past month or so, I have been working with a therapist for my anxiety and what we suspect is ADHD (getting tested soon). We do a lot of mindfulness practice, which is something I am not unfamiliar with. If you don’t know what it is, it’s where you do things intentionally, without judgement or emotion. As in, checking in with yourself, asking yourself if this is helping or not. In theory, we don’t get upset with ourselves if we do something, like a built in habit we’re trying to…

A lot, actually.

It’s not a secret that I am new to chess — like many others over the last six months, I watched “Queen’s Gambit” and I fell in love. I binge watched the show over one weekend. The main character, Beth Harmon, reads a lot of chess books over the course of the series. I love to read, so I instantly got curious about what she was reading. I fell down a rabbit hole of looking into some of the books she was reading, but because I was only just getting into chess at that point I made myself hit the…

What playing chess can teach us about understanding information.

Information Wayfinding & Chess — Figuring out the board and the online world

This is the second post in the chess & IA blog series, where we look at two abstract concepts and use them to reinforce each other. The first post can be found here. Today we are hopping right into information wayfinding and the game of chess. To me, information wayfinding seems intrinsically linked to the navigation systems of our online world. Playing a game of chess is working through the navigation of the board to get the chess…

Believe it or not, reading the IA standard — Information Architecture for the Web and Beyond — got me into chess.

If you don’t know what information architecture is and how it fits into UX, I have a blog post here. It’s funny, I sort of stumbled into information architecture. I have been a freelance web developer, and while learning more about UX, I realized that information architecture was something I was already doing for my clients, and it was the part of the process I enjoyed the most, even more than coding.

When I picked up Information Architecture for the Web and Beyond, the so-called “polar bear” book, I didn’t expect to find a passion around chess. …

Jessi Shakarian

Jessi is a UX Designer and information architect apprentice at LA DIA Design. She lives in Los Angeles and can be found on twitter @jessishakarian.

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