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…


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. …


It is an introduction to an abstract game that is closely tied to human history.

When I started this book, I didn’t know anything about chess, really. Like many others, my dad had tried to teach me when I was a kid, but I lost interest after learning how the pieces moved. I had recently watched Queen’s Gambit, and started using an app to learn how to play the game. But aside from vaguely knowing who Bobby Fischer was, I didn’t know anything about the culture and history of chess. I knew that there seemed to be a steep learning…


I was late to the party, watching the Netflix show in February. Like a lot of other viewers, I became obsessed with chess from watching that show.

Even though chess has been around for 1,400 years, it seems intimidating from the outside. It’s got a steep initial learning curve. Like many people, I learned how to move the pieces when my dad tried to teach me as a kid, but never made it farther than that. But seeing Beth’s journey with chess, how it helped her, I couldn’t not be gripped by chess.

I jumped in with both feet of understanding chess for absolute beginners. …


It seems like more than ever, we are interconnected — the internet is on our wrists helping us with our health, paying for coffee with our phones when we forget our wallets, using apps instead of remotes for the tv. It’s great, right? Simplifies our lives…until it doesn’t.

As everything is supposed to be efficient and convenient right out the box, on the site, our collective patience as users continues to get smaller and smaller. …

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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