The Understanding Bee

Information architecture is the practice of making the complex clear. But is information architecture clear? We collected attendees’ deepest questions and greatest doubts considering the practice and results of information architecture work and thought. And in the Understanding Bee, we are ready to do some ‘splainin.

Inspired by the dramatic arc of an elementary school spelling bee, Peter Morville, Abby Covert and Dan Klyn are asked to answer questions one at a time, at random. Marsha Haverty served as moderator.

Desiring Ecologies: Meaning-Making in the Network Wilderness

As networked information ecologies get more complex, interdependent, and unpredictable, designers must focus on the simple, foundational, and emergent. Connected networks are growing beyond our ability to grasp them as a whole. The big changes will catch us by surprise. Our best chance to positively impact these systems is by influencing the creation of effective small pieces that work as part of a holistic ecology.

This talk will explore the changing role of the information architect in the emerging wave of connected computing. It will propose strategies for reframing the way we approach information design in order to better create enriching and empowering experiences for users. We’ll look at examples from technology, cultural movements, and nature in order to frame a set of guidelines for creating systems that desire collaboration and clarity as an innate function of their underlying nature.

Demystify Success for IAs and UXers

As information architects and UX practitioners we bring order and structure to other people’s problems. We have a problem of our own to tackle. How do we know if we are doing a good job? How can managers evaluate an IA’s performance? How do we define success so that we have a target to aim for? Like most knowledge work, there has been little progress in developing objective success criteria.

Gail will demonstrate how to establish objective performance criteria for IAs and UXers, and how to focus on the business value of your contributions. She will also share a framework you can use to create a shared understanding of success between you and your boss. This framework is based on management case studies, measurement tools, and knowledge worker productivity research.

2015 IA Summit Closing Keynote

Brenda Laurel goes deep on emergence as a force in information architecture from serious to playful designs. As information becomes more free-flowing and intertwingled with the made as well as the natural world, we need to cut meaningful and engaging swaths through it all. Brenda’s work in research, design, nature, and advocacy make her the very model of an information architect.

The IA is IN: Mentoring block

Come enjoy a mentor-mentee interactive session. We’ll start with a structured introduction to mentors with a diversity of experience and then transition to organic conversations.

The Digital Place You Love Is Gone

Expanding on Marsha Haverty’s discourse on meaning, we’ll look at what happens when we encounter loss of place. So many times we design for new users, with only a passing nod at existing ones. But what happens when we redesign a familiar experience, especially one that people have “grown up with”? What happens when digital destinations disappear? A strong dissonance affects people who become used to a certain digital place, a certain set of patterns, images, and interactions. When this place changes, especially dramatically, people experience loss, frustration, anger, blame, and confusion.

We’ll use Melissa Holbrook Pierson’s “The Place You Love Is Gone: Progress Hits Home” as a starting point, with strong nods to work by Andrea Resmini and Luca Rosati, Jim Kalbach, Peter Morville, and other experts in placemaking, wayfinding, and other digital geographies. We’ll look at physical analogies as well as digital examples. Ultimately, we’ll ponder key approaches to easing the sense of loss people might experience when progress destroys their digital homes.

Overcoming Impostor Syndrome: The Workshop

Have you ever felt like you’re not as capable as people think you are? Or felt like a fraud about to be uncovered? You may be experiencing Impostor Syndrome.

Impostor Syndrome is the sense that you are less accomplished or qualified than your peers. It’s common in many professions where ambition is high, and it’s definitely prevalent in UX, where we have limited visibility into each other’s work. We end up thinking that everyone else knows something we don’t, that everyone is doing better work than we are.

As professionals and as people who have experienced Impostor Syndrome, we have explored its causes and potential solutions in depth. When we’ve presented on the subject, we’ve received feedback about how our presentations have encouraged people to “come out” with their own Impostor Syndrome, and we know that the syndrome is pervasive but seldom discussed openly.

In our interactive workshop, we will share techniques for recognizing and combating Impostor Syndrome. We’ll help participants figure out what they need to do to assist in dealing with it and ultimately work towards the goal of lessening the impact Impostor Syndrome has on their lives and work. Participants will create a personal “toolbox” that they can use whenever Impostor Syndrome rears its ugly head.

Session Takeaways
  • An understanding of the causes of Impostor Syndrome and its effects
  • The ability to recognize Impostor Syndrome in themselves and others
  • A toolbox of artifacts and techniques for coping with and combating Impostor Syndrome in order to feel more successful and fulfilled at work and in life
  • An improved sense of their own value as they discover that nearly everyone else feels like an impostor too
  • An opportunity for ongoing conversation and support through a post-workshop forum

Stand (or Sit) and Deliver – Speaking Tips for Small Groups and Meetings

Public speaking isn’t just for big rooms with a podium and microphone.

Sometimes it’s just you and 5,10 maybe 20 people. They might be your clients or stakeholders or your project team. Any time you address a group, you need to get your message across and know you’ll be understood. Prep and practice are always important but when you’re speaking close-up there are different things to think about and opportunities you don’t have in a conference hall.

What is Past is Prologue

Christina Wodtke and Jesse James Garrett in conversation. This is a light-hearted (and ever-so-slightly contrarian) discussion of what has gone before and why IA is now more important than ever. Our scholarship, practice, community, and culture get the deep dig in an intelligent, informal, and invigorating chat.

A Tale of Twin Cities

A fireside chat presented by Karl Fast and Kristina Halvorson

Karl Fast and Kristina Halvorson in conversation. As the Information Architecture Summit visits content strategy’s spiritual home of Minneapolis, let’s look at how these disciplines compare, why they’re important and what they can teach each other.