IA Summit 2011 schedule

Wednesday 30th March 2011

  • See What I Mean: How to Communicate Ideas with Comics

    by Kevin Cheng

    At 9:00am to 5:00pm, Wednesday 30th March

  • Tapworthy Mobile Design and User Experience

    by Josh Clark

    From idea to polished pixel, this workshop explains how to create a mobile app that delights.

    Learners will discover how to conceive and refine an app’s design in tune with the needs of a mobile audience—and their fingers and thumbs. This workshop teaches participants how to “think mobile” to plan and create app interfaces in tune with the psychology, culture, ergonomics, and context of an audience on the go.

    Experienced designers and newcomers alike will uncover the shifts in mindset and technique required to craft a great app. This workshop isn’t (only) for geeks. It’s for everyone involved in the app design process—designers, programmers, managers, marketers, clients.

    Learners will equip themselves to ask the right questions (and find the right answers) to make aesthetic, technical, and usability decisions that will make their apps a pleasure to use. The workshop focuses on generally on broad principles of mobile design, using examples from all major mobile platforms.

    This full-day workshop is built on seven core sessions:

    • The Mobile Context
    • Designing for Touch
    • Organizing Your App
    • Crafting a Visual Identity
    • Introducing Your App
    • Working with Gestures and Screen Orientation
    • The iPad and other Tablets

    At 9:00am to 5:00pm, Wednesday 30th March

    Coverage note

  • Pervasive IA Workshop

    by Andrea Resmini

    This half-day workshop will introduce the design methodology for pervasive information architectures which is detailed in the upcoming Pervasive Information Architecture book to the IA Summit audience.

    It will acquaintance the attendees with concepts such as place-making, resilience, consistency, cross-channel experiences, and explain in detail how those are to be applied in real, day-to-day information architecture work, for better results in both ‘traditional’ projects and in new pervasive scenarios.

    It will also introduce the CHU methodology (Channels, Heuristics, User-tasks), and make the case for imprecise design in ubiquitous ecologies.

    This will be a hands-on workshop which will:

    • introduce the methodology with a short experiment and a 45 mins session / presentation;
    • let people offer their comments and ideas;
    • invite them to try out the methodology on an actual case-study using pen and paper
    • discuss the results and offer everyone a chance to suggest improvements, changes, and failures

    Attendees will be actively involved and will have to think, draw, sketch, and discuss for at least 3 out of the 4 hours of the workshop.

    The goal of the workshop is for attendees to have a better grasp of how you can practically design for cross-channel information spaces by deploying a holistic and heuristic approach which has strong roots in the traditional design practice, but offers enough (practical and conceptual) twists to make it entertaining and worth exploring.

    At 1:00pm to 5:00pm, Wednesday 30th March

    Coverage write-up

Thursday 31st March 2011

  • Information architecture: Theory and practice

    by Donna Spencer

    This full day workshop will provide you with a thorough overview and understanding of information architecture theory & practice. It will cover a wide range of IA issues, including an understanding of how it fits into a project, fundamental skills & knowledge required for IA work and current IA issues. It will be theoretical and practical and allow you to immediately apply ideas to your projects.

    At 9:00am to 5:00pm, Thursday 31st March

  • Creating an Agile UX Manifesto

    by Ann McMeekin Carrier and Mark Plant

    The original Agile Manifesto laid out four inspirational values and twelve specific principles. People quickly began to try and deliver against these using Scrum, Kanban, XP and other agile “frameworks”, and increasingly the practices of IAs, Interaction Designers and Creatives are expected to fall in-line.

    Scrum has some great ideas but the strict time boxing can be problematic for creative discovery. Kanban is great for tactical work-flow management towards the end of a project, but estimating and reporting can be tough.

    Both of us work in agile environments, but there’s a permanent question at the back of our heads. If we started from the same place, but with a UX perspective instead of a Developer perspective – would we come to the same end-game?

    We will discuss the original four values and work to create and agree a set of UX specific principles to explore how well we really align with the mindset of the original signatories. As we do so, we’ll provide an environment for learning a bit more about Agile, sharing experiences and harness the wisdom of the crowd for the benefit of the wider community.

    This workshop steps away from the assumption that we already have the right answer and uses a combination of democratic voting, group discussion and breakout brainstorming to attempt to arrive at some conclusions.

    It starts by checking that everyone agrees with the original Manifesto’s values through voting on them in a plenary session. Dissent is handled by giving those individuals a chance to put their case and then re-voting. A declared majority (we decided on 10/14 last time) carries the proposal.

    We then break out into smaller groups to facilitate brainstorming, discussion and inclusiveness (as well as reinforcing contribution and sharing) to define principles.

    After a time period we collate the groups suggestions, cluster and combine them, and vote / discuss their validity as something to move forward with.

    At 1:00pm to 1:00pm, Thursday 31st March

  • Observation Techniques for Developing an Experience Strategy

    by Christina York

    Ever wish you could get out in the field more?

    This workshop is about sharing techniques for observing user experiences and synthesizing those field observations into a strategy for improvement. The workshop will involve a hands-on observation project: observing the 2011 IA Summit conference experience. Workshop participants will perform field observations, website assessments, share findings, and work together to create topline statements and actionable recommendations for the 2012 IA Summit conference planners.

    This is a general workshop open to professionals of all levels of experience. Beginners in field observations are invited to participate in a real project that will teach techniques, allow you to practice them, and have a real deliverable as the outcome. Experts in field observations are invited to participate as the workshop will be a fun way to practice known techniques and share knowledge and experiences with other practitioners. Also, anyone interested in contributing to the profession by means of providing structured and productive feedback about the conference is encouraged to participate.

    The workshop will consist of 5 basic activities:

    1. Guided pre-workshop preparation
    2. Presentation of techniques and sharing of field wisdom
    3. Field observation activity
    4. Ideation/synthesis group activity
    5. Group discussion of findings and creation of action items

    At 1:00pm to 5:00pm, Thursday 31st March

  • Working With (and becoming) a Product Manager

    by Kevin Cheng

    ou listen to all the stakeholders’ needs, consider the various priorities, and come up with a set of requirements for a product to address these needs. Then you work with the engineers to iterate and build the product, ensuring that it’s the best product possible. Does that sound like what you do? Then maybe you’re a product manager.

    The role of a designer or information architect is remarkably similar to product management. So why does it always seem like one is the Dark Side of the other? Why does it feel like we can’t get a seat at the table when it comes to strategy decisions, and how come the two sides seem to always be in conflict?

    This half-day workshop will help you understand what’s it’s like to be in product management, from the perspective of a designer. Based on my personal experiences of transitioning over the years from programmer to designer to product manager, I hope to bridge the gap between the two camps, and perhaps even help those who want to cross the bridge.

    The workshop will be a mix of presentation and exercises which will teach you:

    • Some key differences between UX and product management, and maybe discover whether it’s really something you want to do.
    • What skills transfer over to product management.
    • How to use your skills to your advantage and be a better product manager.
    • What a day-to-day role of a product manager is.
    • The different types of product management roles.
    • A better understanding of a PM’s goals so you can work more effectively with one

    At 1:00pm to 5:00pm, Thursday 31st March

Friday 1st April 2011

  • Upping your game: Five things IAs need to talk about more

    by Leanna Gingras

    Learning how to do information architecture holistically is damn hard, and standard IA conferences and books often don’t deliver so much as they repeat the same tired old saws. How’s a sophomore IA to learn and improve their practice in this echo chamber? By challenging ourselves to explore disciplines outside of IA.

    We’ll talk about just a few of the disciplines we can draw insight and wisdom from. We’ll learn why it’s important to make sure our findings are statistically valid, how a passion for literature translates into better communication skills, and why we should take psychology, business and relationships as seriously as we take IA. Finally, we’ll examine real-life examples of how going outside of our comfort zone can help us produce our strongest, most innovative, and best work.

    At 1:45am to 2:30am, Friday 1st April

  • The Value of Design Principles

    by Rob Fay and JoAnna Hunt

    This presentation tells the story of why the Blackboard User Experience (BBUX) team built a model for defining a quality user experience across design disciplines and how this model is used to drive and communicate improvement. Our team set out to define a set of design principles for three reasons. First, we wanted to define what it means for us to design and develop a quality product. This definition of quality must be shared among a large diversified team involved in the product development lifecycle. Second, we wanted to validate our designs both internally and externally to make sure we were meeting our shared definition of quality. Third, we wanted to compare our work against these principles so we could ensure that product quality increases over time. The goal of this presentation is for participants to take away ideas for how they can create a model for measuring quality and find ways to instill a shared design vision among diverse team members.

    At 10:30am to 11:15am, Friday 1st April

  • UX Communities: Starting from the Beginning

    by Martin Belam, Eric Reiss, Matthew Solle and Joe Sokohl

    The panel will address the topic of getting a good IA and UX community running in your city or hometown. It will discuss the many different ways to organise and encourage a diverse strand of events and online communities - and how anyone can (and should) start a UX community regardless of where you live. It will also discuss the many benefits of creating multiple and diverse groups. The topic is ideal for anyone who would like to see a more active and participatory IA and user experience design community in their hometown.

    The panel will give examples of encouraging and mentoring UX communities, working alongside other groups to foster stronger communities, innovating with different types of events, acting as catalysts to promote and support members of the community to start presenting at conferences, get new jobs, build better portfolios, start events, start writing and generally be active in their communities. This will then lead into a Q&A session involving the audience.

    At 2:45pm to 3:30pm, Friday 1st April

  • The Stories We Construct

    by Stephen Anderson

    What do fountain pens, football and photographs have in common? Everything we experience in life is filtered through some story. The things we buy, the decisions we make, how we spend our time— stories govern all these actions. But how are these stories constructed? Specifically, what have we learned about how our brains make sense of and integrate new information? And how can we use these insights to sharpen our design skills? Between lively anecdotes, speaker Stephen P. Anderson will share fascinating insights from psychology, neuroscience and learning theories to help explain why things have meaning in our lives. You’ll learn about symbols, stories and motivation, and the science behind the old adage “perception is reality.”

    At 4:00pm to 4:45pm, Friday 1st April

    Coverage slide deck

  • Unmoderated Remote Usability Testing: Good or Evil?

    by Kyle Soucy

    Recently, there has been a surge in the number of tools that are available to conduct unmoderated (“automated” or “asynchronous”) remote usability testing. This surge is changing the user experience industry and it forces us, whether we want to or not, to take a closer look at what the benefits and drawbacks are of unmoderated testing and whether or not we should incorporate it into our usability toolbox.

    In this session we will cover: what you can learn from unmoderated testing, how actionable the data is, how it’s conducted, when it should be conducted, benefits and drawbacks, and an overview of some unmoderated testing tools that are currently available. An excellent hand out will be given out listing all the available tools with descriptions and pricing information — truly a great resource to have at your fingertips!

    At 4:00pm to 4:45pm, Friday 1st April

    Coverage slide deck

Saturday 2nd April 2011

  • DIY Mobile Usability Testing

    by Bernard Tyers and belenpena

    Usability testing is an information architect’s bread and butter, but applying it to the study of mobile applications and websites brings considerable challenges. Which device should we use for testing? Can we use an emulator? How do we prototype for mobile? Can we just recycle the tasks we use for desktop software tests? Do we test in the lab or in the wild? How do we record screen, inputs and facial expressions? We don’t intend to address all the above in a single session: that would be madness! We’ll focus instead on the last question.

    Follow us in our quest to set up a mobile usability testing environment on a tight budget. We’ll show you how others do it. We’ll roam around London searching for brackets and webcams. We’ll put our DIY skills to the test trying to build our mobile recording device. We’ll scour the Internet for free software. And we’ll finish it off by running a usability test in front of your eyes.

    If we can do it, so can you! You’ll come out of this session knowing exactly what you need to do to record usability tests with mobile devices.

  • I'm Not Just Making This Up: The Value of Thinking Time in Experience Design

    by Tim Caynes

    Thinking time is critical. It enables IA practitioners to evolve insights into experiences. But you rarely see an activity on an experience design plan that just says ‘think about stuff’.

    If we’re going straight to user journeys from client requirements, we’re not thinking things through. If we’re creating taxonomies without analysis, we’re not thinking things through.

    We need to protect thinking time when we pitch, scope and deliver projects for our clients. But it’s an awfully hard sell. If, indeed, it’s even on the price list. In the session I’ll talk about and suggest:

    *ways in which we can better express the value of thinking time
    *methods for better use of thinking time
    *practical measures to help protect and maximise thinking time in user experience design projects

    At 10:15am to 11:00am, Saturday 2nd April

    Coverage slide deck

  • We Love Change? Change is Scary!

    by johanna kollmann

    At 10:15am to 11:00am, Saturday 2nd April

    Coverage slide deck

  • I’m a UX Designer – and I’m an SEO: Working Together to Heal the Rift Between Customers and the Marketers Who Love Them

    by Erin Hawk and Jonathon D. Colman

    By reimagining the classic “I’m a Mac… and I’m a PC” commercials, this presentation helps attendees learn how two individual disciplines – User Experience design (UX) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – can work together to help customers succeed in their goals and, in so doing, redevelop their relationship while growing their business.

    Using real-world examples, lots of humor, and group collaboration with the audience, this presentation will “Make It Better” by helping these two disciplines re-focus their strengths, approaches, and goals to support not only one another, but the customer as well.

    At 11:15am to 12:00pm, Saturday 2nd April

  • Beyond Digital: What IAs Need to Know about Service Design

    by Priyanka Kakar and Andrea Resmini

    Service design is getting more coverage and attention from the business press and in the user experience community. What is the relationship between service design and IA? What do IAs need to know? And what can service designers learn from information architecture?

    This panel will tackle this cross-training opportunity with perspectives from four experienced practitioners bridging IA and service design in their work and research today. Each panelist will share initial insights about the relationship of IA and service design, what IAs should know, and what they bring to the table from their own practice.

    We will then follow that with a series of questions on the same topic that we will source in advance from
    1. our own conversations as a panel
    2. service design mailing lists and forums
    3. IA mailing lists and forums
    4. Twitter and other social media

    Finally, we will open the floor for audience participation and discussion.

    Through the experience and perspectives of the panelists, attendees will
    • get an introduction to the service design practice, tools and methods and its relationship with IA
    • develop insights on cross-channel experience design
    • learn about designing humanizing solutions that satisfy their user’s express as well as latent needs

    At 1:30pm to 3:15pm, Saturday 2nd April

Sunday 3rd April 2011

  • Beyond the Polar Bear

    by Michael Smethurst and Mike Atherton

    The BBC’s new Food site (bbc.co.uk/food) is completely rebuilt using principles of domain and data modeling. Domain-driven design breaks down complex subjects into the things people usually think about. With food, it’s stuff like ‘dishes’, ‘ingredients’ and ‘chefs’. The parts of the model inter-relate far more organically than a traditional top-down hierarchy.

    A logical domain model makes site navigation mirror the way people explore knowledge. By intersecting across subjects, links themselves become facts, allowing humans and machines to learn through undirected user journeys. This paradigm shift from labeling boxes to taming rich data is a vital skill for the modern IA.

    We will show you how to design for a semantic ‘web of data’, using case studies from the BBC’s Food and Natural History products. You’ll learn to unlock the potential of your content, create scalable navigation patterns, achieve simply fabulous SEO and step confidently into the world of open linked data.

    We’ll reference Rosenfeld and Morville’s seminal IA tome and discuss what still holds true and what needs new thinking. The next web is here. Stop worrying about the perfect taxonomy, and start worrying about making your content findable, pointable, searchable and sharable.

    At 8:30am to 9:00am, Sunday 3rd April

    Coverage slide deck

  • Practicing what we preach: usable and effective design deliverables

    by Aviva Rosenstein

    During any product development process, interaction designers and researchers must communicate with internal and external team members and decision makers. Creating design deliverables that address the needs, goals and constraints of those team members will enhance your credibility as a design expert while improving the overall effectiveness of your organization. Participants will leave this session with a framework for understanding the needs and goals of a variety of organizational stakeholders, and a perspective that will help them design the right deliverable at the right time for any working environment.

    At 9:30am to 10:15am, Sunday 3rd April

  • Your Brain On Graphics: Research Inspired Visual Design

    Right after coffee break!! Great for participation.

    What’s it like to design for today’s audiences? How can you communicate a message most effectively? When you understand how people perceive and process visual information, you’ll be more likely to create effective and usable designs. We’re not talking about graphic design basics, but about working with human cognitive architecture, by leveraging its strengths and accommodating its weaknesses.

    * How our brain is hard-wired for graphics
    * Ways to manage cognitive load
    * Design is not decoration
    * Take advantage of pre-attentive processing
    * Make visuals cognitively efficient
    * Speak to the emotions
    * Concretize the abstract

    At 10:45am to 11:30am, Sunday 3rd April

  • Closing Plenary

    by Cennydd Bowles

    At 4:00pm to 5:00pm, Sunday 3rd April

    Coverage transcript