IA Summit 09 – Day 2

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IA Summit 2009 Podcasts

The IA Summit was held in Memphis, TN from March 20-22. Boxes and Arrows captured many of the main conference sessions (“see schedule”:http://iasummit.org/2009/program/schedule/).

| “Preview”:http://boxesandarrows.wpengine.com/view/when-life-intervenes | “Keynote”:http://boxesandarrows.wpengine.com/view/ia-summit-09-keynote | “Day 1”:http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/ia-summit-09-day-1 | Day 2 | “Day 3”:http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/ia-summit-09-day-3 | “Closing Plenary”:http://boxesandarrows.wpengine.com/view/ia-summit-09-plenary |

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Main Conference Sessions, Day 2 – Saturday, March 21

These sessions were recorded on the second day of the conference. Download them individually here, or get them all with the Boxes and Arrows “iTunes feed”:http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=275459507.

Links to the presentations and “slidecasts”:http://www.slideshare.net/faqs/slidecast will be updated continuously. See the Slideshare “IA Summit 2009”:http://www.slideshare.net/event/ia-summit-2009/slideshows page for up-to-the-minute lists of available presentations.

Thanks to the speakers for their hard work and for sharing their knowledge with the community.

Is Interaction Necessary?Karl Fast

Do we have the conceptual tools necessary for designing with next-generation technologies? Multi-touch surfaces are going mainstream. New technologies for interacting with information are moving from the lab to our homes.

Karl Fast, professor in the Information Architecture & Knowledge Management program at Kent State University, argues that our conceptual tools for interaction design are more limited, and limiting, than we currently believe. The concept of “interaction” as currently understood is based on a host of assumptions, many of which run so deep that we no longer see them as assumptions.

Is interaction necessary? Of course it is. But for what?


Personas and politics: The Discursive Construction of The “User” in IAAdrienne Massanari

Adrienne Massanari, Instructor of New/Digital Media in the School of Communication at Loyola University – Chicago, assesses the problematic relationship between new media designers and “users” in texts written about user-centered design.

Adrienne examines current texts written about user-centered design, information architecture, and interaction design to understand the ways in which users are discursively “written into” the design process. She suggests that personas and their use is as much motivated by political realities within new media organizations as it is by the need to incorporate user needs within the design process.


Discovering & Mining The EverydayRichard Ziade & Tim Meaney

In our world today, machines are an indelible part of our everyday lives. We rely on powerful devices to help us find information, organize our lives and make decisions. What if all these machines that help us in our everyday lives actually “listened” to our actions? One of the most challenging aspects of the Semantic Web is introducing its concept and benefits to the everyday population. But do we really have to?

In this talk, Arc90 partners Richard Ziade and Timothy Meaney contrast the way we make discoveries today – by testing theories within controlled environments – to a world where correlations can be discovered by simply peering into and querying data gathered out of our everyday actions.


Integrating Effective Prototyping into Your Design ProcessFred Beecher

Senior User Experience Consultant Fred Beecher shows his audience how to determine what, for your particular situation, is the most effective way to use prototyping to improve the user experience of your site or software.

He shares the factors that influence how effective various prototyping methodologies will be and how to choose wisely; what level of effort you will need to invest in prototyping in order to get useful feedback; and how to permanently integrate prototyping into your software development process in a way that is effective for your organization.


UX Design & Deliverable SystemsNathan Curtis

One thing is brutally clear: no teams – in fact, no two individuals – seem to produce deliverables like wireframes the same way. And that’s a shame. Too many designers seem guided by the flawed notion that not just design but documentation too must be ever unique. This leaves readers flustered, confused, and often dismissive. Even worse, not adopting a uniform approach may diminish a team’s influence and credibility, and, possibly, our discipline’s role in the industry.

This session, lead by Nathan Curtis of EightShapes, shares practical techniques that his organization has learned from, taught, and embedded in teams. Just as important, attendees learn to avoid failures Nathan and his team have experienced along the way.


User Interface Issues with MetasearchDana Douglas

The user interfaces for search are evolving as new features and capabilities are developed.

One emerging capability that raises new design questions is that of federated search or “metasearch,” a search engine that applies the user’s keyword search terms across data bases or collections of content. Many government agencies, professional organizations, and private sector entities maintain multiple collections of related publications or bibliographic content.

Dana Douglas, User Experience Specialist at UserWorks, focuses on the current issues in metasearch interfaces and findings from usability tests, as well as related findings from past testing of other search interfaces.


Usable, INFLUENTIAL Content: We Can Have It AllColleen Jones

You wrote some web content. You followed the usability guidelines; it’s findable, scannable, relevant, and readable. But it’s dry. It’s cold. It doesn’t win your users over. They’re not buying, not converting, or not taking the action you’d like them to take. Turns out that what’s missing is a big something—influence. Usability qualifies us to be on the playing field. What gives us the winning edge is influence

Collen Jones from threebrick presents a practical guide to influencing through content. Her approach is neither marketing fluff nor manipulation. but critical to a company and its users achieving their respective goals. Colleen offers useful techniques and examples drawn from a decade of experience to help you turn usable content from blah to brilliant.


Turning HiPPOs Into Allies: How to Connect with Powerful People in Your OrganizationSamantha Starmer

Most of us have experienced the power of a HiPPO (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) and how it can instantaneously derail a project, kill funding for user research and information architecture work, or approve some marketing feature that will cause a poor user experience.

Samantha Starmer, senior manager at REI.com, says that to find success in moving the practice of IA forward in both our individual companies and in the larger world of business, we must learn how to manage HiPPOs and turn them into allies. She offers her insights and several ideas about how to effectively connect with others including:

* Identifying the HiPPO
* Listening more than you speak. Watching more than you present.
* How to find the HiPPOs breeding ground (it usually isn’t in meetings)
* Laying pipe, or the art of the pre-sell


Selling IA – Heuristic Evaluation for the Pitch ProcessRuss Unger

Russ Unger, Director of Experience Planning for Draftfcb, lectures on the basics of Heuristic Evaluation and how it can be utilized for your company’s pitch process.

An engaging facilitator, Russ uses the majority of his time in a hands-on group activity that has participants actively engaging in Heuristic Evaluation to create key slides for a sales pitch. Participants were provided with a document template that allowed them to generate leave-behind materials for potential clients.

This “guerilla-style” approach for Heuristic Evaluation will help IAs engage work partners from other disciplines within the organization and to work with them to rapidly in generating useful content for Sales and Account teams.


Business-Centered DesignChristina Wodtke

We are all big fans of user-centered design, and all of us have tried our hand at CSS or database design. But somewhere along the way, the third leg of the tripod got lost: business.

It’s critical to know what your business model is. Without this information, you have no idea which actions of the user are valuable and which are not. And without knowing that, you are as likely to spend hours working on an aspect of the website that delivers no value as one that does. This is not usually a fatal mistake in a large corporation, but in a start-up it can literally kill the company.

In this talk, Christina Wodtke, founder of Boxes and Arrows and product developer at LinkedIn, walks through the most common business models, the desired user behavior that supports them, and how those business models affect the architecture of the website including features and functionality.


Time to Spit on the Table: Being Functionally Appropriate Using Culturally Inappropriate TacticsDan Willis

A big man strides into the boardroom. The company’s CEO is introduced, but says nothing. After they all sit down, he loudly spits on the middle of the huge table. “You’ve just seen me do a disgusting thing,” he says. “And you’ll always remember what I just did.” It’s from a 1947 movie, “The Hucksters,” and it shows the power of being culturally inappropriate in order to be functionally appropriate.

Being inappropriate is a scary and powerful tool that user experience professionals should use more often, taking advantage of humor and non-traditional forms of communication. This session, presented Sapient consultant Dan Willis, explores ways of intentionally and skillfully exceeding historically respected boundaries, including:

* Creating culturally inappropriate presentations
* Running culturally inappropriate meetings
* Delivering culturally inappropriate documentation


IA For the Rest of the WorldMiles Rochford

One of the challenges facing designers today is how to engage with emerging markets and rapidly developing economies. Well over half of the global population lives and works in these countries, and technology is rapidly diffusing into their everyday lives.

Information architects have always played an essential role in providing access to information and services. Emerging markets have an enormous need for this access – but also a range of constraints that make it hard for designers to deliver effective IA.

Miles Rochford, Specialist in the Service and UI Design team with Nokia, helps information architects understand the opportunities presented by emerging markets and the role IA can play in development and growth. It will also discuss tools and techniques for creating globally relevant IA, alongside real-world examples of IA in emerging markets.


These podcasts are sponsored by:

ASIS&T logo
The “American Society of Information Science & Technology”:http://asist.org/: Since 1937, ASIS&T has been THE society for information professionals leading the search for new and better theories, techniques, and technologies to improve access to information.

IA Summit 2009 logo
The “IA Summit”:http://www.iasummit.org: the premier gathering place for information architects and other user experience professionals.

The theme of the event this year, Expanding Our Horizons, inspired peers and industry experts to come together to speak about a wide range of topics. This included information as wide ranging as practical techniques & tools to evolving practices to create better user experiences.

The design behind the design
“Boxes & Arrows”:http://www.boxesandarrows.com: Since 2001, Boxes & Arrows has been a peer-written journal promoting contributors who want to provoke thinking, push limits, and teach a few things along the way.

Contribute as an editor or author, and get your ideas out there. “boxesandarrows.com/about/participate”:http://www.boxesandarrows.com/about/participate


  1. The download link for “Turning HiPPOs Into Allies: How to Connect with Powerful People in Your Organization” has a typo in it: “ihttp://” when it should be “http://”.

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