Kevin on the Conference Theme

Giles, Crystal, (the other two co-chairs) and I have spent a lot of time thinking about what it means to practice information architecture professionally in these fast-paced, modern times. It feels like everything old is new again: software, services, and devices are evolving rapidly, but you know what? The core principles of good IA and UX are more essential to success than ever. They are so essential, in fact, that it’s not uncommon to see information architects like us getting a seat at the big ol’ strategy table, and really using those taxonomies and ethnographic research skills to benefit the social good as well as retool the lackluster navigation experience.

All three of us have found that the better we are at collaborating with people outside of the IA/UX industry — people like business owners, investors, technologists, journalists, circus performers, and even some of those people that use the stuff we make (the “u” word) — we get better design, more buy-in, and happier teams. So what is the design of that collaboration? So how are you demonstrating value to non-designers in your practice, your projects, and your life? To put it another way, how have you weilded the mighty information architect’s hammer the to defeat problems that IA couldn’t beat by itself?

Here are just a few questions that we hope inspire you to submit a talk or panel for the IA Summit in the very near future.

  • How have you architected positive change in your organization? With clients? In society?
  • What theoretical models or real-world tactics in your work have persisted amidst rapid changes in user expectations, conventions, and technology?
  • Where has technology failed to provide people with a good relationship to their content? Was it fixed? If so, how?

If you are awesome, you already know that your talk or panel submission should consist of things like:

  • Original content based on your own personal experience – don’t just tell us how psyched you are about other people’s work, unless it enabled you do something amazing.
  • A real problem that affects people, and a finished or proposed solution to that problem.
  • Some damn good storytelling.

You’ll be hearing a lot more from us, and a whole lot of our friends, very soon. We can’t wait hear the stories you want to tell. Got a question about the theme? Ask me in comments, and I’ll respond right quick.