Eric Reiss is the author of Practical Information Architecture (ISBN 0-201-72590-8), Web Dogma '06. and Usable Usability (ISBN 978-1118185476). He has also contributed to several other books and publications, including Designing Web Navigation (ISBN 0-596-52810-2), Pervasive Information Architecture (ISBN 978-0123820945), Designing the Conversation (ISBN 0-321-88672-0), Speaker Camp (ISBN 0-321-96112-9) and commentary to the online Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction. Reiss was President of the Information Architecture Institute for two terms and is the current Chair of the European Information Architecture Summit. Reiss is active in the information architecture/usability/user experience/service design scene. In 2010, he was named in a blog as "One of the Top 10 European Content Strategists to Watch". In recent years, Reiss has also been an outspoken critic of innovationists who do not differentiate between innovation and invention. Reiss argues that innovation is a later stage than invention and that it is always a planned activity and never accidental.
Early life and education
Born in San Antonio, Texas in 1954, his family relocated to St. Louis prior to his first birthday when his father accepted a position at Washington University School of Medicine. Reiss is the son of two prominent physicians who played pivotal roles in bringing about the nuclear test-ban treaty of 1963 (see Linus Pauling "Activism"). His Viennese-born father, Eric Reiss, M.D., performed early and groundbreaking research on parathyroid hormone (PTH). His mother, Louise Zibold Reiss, M.D., as Director of the Baby Tooth Survey, was involved in mapping levels of radioactive Strontium-90 in the U.S. food chain secondary to nuclear fallout. His family moved to the Chicago suburb of Highland Park in 1964. He was active in theatre and the performing arts while at Highland Park High School from 1968–1972. During this time, Reiss started restoring player pianos and jukeboxes. He formed his first company, Reiss Player Piano Service, at age 16.
Reiss returned to St. Louis to study at Washington University in 1972. A ragtime pianist, Reiss was Musical Director on the Goldenrod Showboat on the Mississippi River levee during much of 1975, where he also participated in the National Ragtime Festival along with Trebor Tichenor, Dave Jason, Terry Waldo, and the Black Eagle Jazz Band. In 1976, he graduated with degrees in Performing Arts and Political Science.
After his graduation, Eric Reiss moved to Copenhagen, Denmark to become a stage director at the Royal Danish Theatre. He was originally apprenticed in the fall of 1976 to Danish director Sam Besekow, where he assisted with the production of Eduardo De Filippo's play Saturday, Sunday, Monday. In early 1977, Reiss was granted full director status by the theater. In 1977, his original play, Marionettes, was awarded first prize at the Illinois One-Act Play Festival.
Following a 10-year career in the Scandinavian theater world, publication of the first Danish-language adventure game (Skabet), and a short stint studying Egyptology, Reiss' first book, The Compleat Talking Machine (ISBN 1-886606-18-8) led to a career change in 1986 when he migrated from theater to professional writing.
Reiss wrote the talking machine book, now in its fifth edition (10th printing). Reiss has since worked almost exclusively in developing business-to-business communications materials and marketing strategies.
With the advent of PC-based multimedia in the late 80s and the World Wide Web a few years later, Reiss combined his knowledge of theater, communication, and computers to build interactive business tools. In early 1997, he developed an on-line communications concept for his employer, Cross-Border Communications. The resulting microsite, Rick's Cafe, was an interactive precursor to a blog and was subsequently voted Macromedia Site of the Week.
Reiss is currently CEO of the Copenhagen-based FatDUX Group ApS, which designs online and offline interactive experiences. He is a past president of the Information Architecture Institute, serves as Chair of the European Information Architecture Summit - EuroIA, and is on the Advisory Board of the Copenhagen Business School (Department of Informatics) and the Romanian Institute of Information Architecture. Between 2009-2011, Reiss was an Associate Professor of Usability and Design at IE Business School (formerly Instituto de Empresa) in Madrid, Spain, where he received several awards for his teaching, including the "Best Professor" prize in 2009.
Reiss is still active as a performer and musician, working regularly with Vivienne McKee's London Toast Theatre in Copenhagen. He was also a regular on the MTV-produced candid-camera show, Rent Fup, during the season 1998–1999. Other acting credits include the Danish film, Miraklet i Valby (1989) and off-screen dubbing for Lars von Trier's Dancer in the Dark (2000).
- Danzico, Liz "Dogmas are Meant to be Broken", Boxes and Arrows, May 31, 2006. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
- Hassenzahl, Marc "User Experience and Experience Design", Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, Ongoing publication. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
- Boye, Janus. "10-european-content-strategists-to-watch", J.Boje, March 11, 2011. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
- Mascaro, Luca "Invenzione, Innovazione e Architettura Dell Informazione", May 21, 2007. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
- Hevesi, Dennis. "Dr. Louise Reiss, Who Helped Ban Atomic Testing, Dies at 90", The New York Times, January 10, 2011. Accessed January 10, 2011.
- Sorkin, Michael D. "Louise Reiss: headed historic Baby Tooth Survey in St. Louis", St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 7, 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
- Chicago Tribune, August 28, 1977. "One-act plays have revival in Illinois" Not available online.
- Infoseek, Sinclair "Skabet for the Sinclair Spectrum", Retrieved September 3, 2011.
- Sonoran Publishing. "Compleat Talking Machine, 5th Edition", Sonoran Publishing. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
- Resmini, Andrea. "El Pato y el Profesor", FatDUX blog, March 29, 2009. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
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- (i.a. podcast) FatDUX Eric Reiss on Leadership
- (2008 IA Summit) E-service: What we can learn from the customer-service gurus
- Interview with Eric Reiss on Web Dogma '06
- IA Voice podcast interview with Eric Reiss
- Finderati – Eric Reiss
- Round-robin interview with Eric Reiss, Bob Goodman, Peter Jones, GK Vanpatter
- Video – Increasing your conversion rates with CMS, Reiss speaking at Sitecore conference in Copenhagen (in Danish)
- IA Voice podcast "Seven Trends in Information Architecture" Eric Reiss speaking at EuroIA 2006 in Berlin
- Interview "Five Questions to Eric Reiss" on the Hot Strudel blog (in German and English)
- Interview with Eric Reiss "User centered design or user driven design?"
- Video – Eric Reiss keynote on innovation at Italian IA Summit in Trento, November 16 2007 in Italian and English (part 1 of 2)
- Video – Part 2 of Eric Reiss's innovation keynote in Trento, Italy
- Video – two interviews featuring Eric Reiss and other IA leaders compiled by Kent State University
- Video – Eric Reiss lecture at Akademia Pedagogiczna in Krakow, Poland "Architektura informacji. Czyli jak zachować zdrowy rozsądek w erze cyfrowej" (in Polish and English)
- Eric Reiss quoted in Fortune Magazine January, 2008 (PDF in English)
- Editorial in Bulletin for American Society for Information Science, February 2008 "It's not what you think, but how you think"
- Interview with Prof. Eric Reiss in Polish magazine Konspekt "We are all information architects" (in English and Polish)
- Video – "Branding dangers: how NOT to build a brand digital?", Eric Reiss speaking at Brand Festival Digital in Budapest, Hungary
- Profile at FatDUX