IA Summit 2007 – Where does IA fit in the design process?

IA Summit Logo

One of the great things about being in this hemisphere is that it makes it all the more easy for me to get to some of the conferences I’ve been dying to get to for ages. March this year is going to be very exciting because I’m going to both SXSW and the IA Summit.

Anyone else heading in that direction? I’m looking forward to putting some faces to some names!

I’m also very excited to be participating in a panel at the IA Summit. Chaired (and organised) by Peter Boersma, and featuring amazing people like Peter Merholz, Livia Labate, Larisa Warnke and Josh Seiden (and me!), we’re going to be discussing where in the design process information architecture fits.

Some of the questions that Peter says he’s going to ask include:

  • When should IAs be part of a design team?
  • How do IAs work together with other design team members?
  • How do you communicate your design process to clients?
  • How do you measure improvements in your design process?

 I have a few opinions… but I’d be really interested to hear how you’d field these ones!


Inaugural IA Bookclub [London]

Persuasive Technology
Finally! a place to go and talk about nerdy books that IAs love in safe, non-eyerolling company!

Yay to David Carruthers for kicking off the IA Bookclub which will meet for the first time in February to talk about BJ Fogg’s Persuasive Technology.

I read this book in the first year I was doing my Masters when I first ever heard of captology, and it really changed the way that I thought about design. I’m looking forward to re-reading it and hearing what everyone’s got to say about it! (And to see how my reading of it has changed over the past few years).

I’ll get onto it just as soon as I finish re-reading Inmates Are Running the Asylum. The first time I read that one was before the first dot com boom. The anecdotes and examples serve as massive flashbacks to that innocent time, but the guts of what Cooper has to say is just as inspiring as it ever was. Have you read it yet? It’s compulsary reading for anyone who’s anywhere *near* designing the way that people interact with technology.

Anyways, back to the book club. Here are the details:

what: London IA Bookclub
where: twentysix London, 1 Dorset street, London, W1U 4EG
(more directions)

when: 7 Feb @ 7pm
UPDATE: moved to 8 Feb @ 7pm
and back to 7 Feb again! (still 7pm)
UPDATE: Book Club is SOLD OUT! I think there might be a waiting list, but apparently we have 17 IA Geeks getting together to talk next week. Excellent!

twentysix are putting on some drinks and snacks, all you have to do is RSVP, read the book and come along!

20×2 London


Just for the record, if Kevin ever sends you an email out of the blue and asks you to participate in 20×2. You must say yes.

20×2 is an ongoing project that exists to showcase the creativity that lurks in each of us. Writers, musicians, filmmakers, web geeks and other bon vivants are asked to take two minutes each to answer the question of the day. The results can be as varied as the emotions and reactions they evoke.

Of course, it’s quite terrifying in the lead up, trying to come up with something vaguely interesting that answers a question like ‘Where Am I?’, but you’ll be well rewarded by all the thought processes you go through in the run up, and you get to have a great night out and meet lots of great people, and see some really creative and interesting responses to the question.

I really love this format. I’m thinking of how I can borrow it for other uses!

(I probably should have told you about this BEFORE the event (sorry Kevin!) but I wasn’t quite brave enough).

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Image Credit: agsystems @ Flickr

MiniBar London (People will share if you let them)

I like this idea. It’s like a short, sharp, Friday evening version of BarCamp with beer.

Well, actually it’s nothing much like BarCamp at all except I imagine a bunch of the same people turn up and more who aren’t so interested to invest a weekend in it. Oh, and who like free beer :)

Here’s how they describe it:

For those who don’t have time to attend a full BarCamp, some of us have come up with MiniBar, a chance to snaffle some free beer while discussing p2p, Creative Commons, web applications, social networking and general Web 2.0 mayhem & fandango.

Despite the pouring rain, MiniBar was very well attended and perhaps because they all knew that John Buckman had a pretty interesting presentation up his sleeve. Or for free beer.
But first, two things that bugged me about MiniBar:

  • Microphone please! The presentation was in a large space, the rain was noisy, and it was really, REALLY hard to hear John speak because there was no microphone! (no, I’m serious). This is a shame, because what I heard of his talk was really interesting.
  • The Very Situated Social Tagging System: this turned out to be stickers that you stuck on your name tag. Very lame. Tagging is part of the BarCamp thing, but can we do something much cooler for next MiniBar please?Like, let people make their own tags and then we can collect all the tags and look at the patterns?Tags are kind of interesting when you see them applied to a single object/person, but they’re not really tags if they’re predefined, and they can be so more interesting when you see them applied to a group, or segments of a group! There are a dozen great ways we could do this without spending too much time or money. Can we do this again but better?

OK. Back to John.

John was essentially telling us about two of his businesses, BookMooch (a site where you can swap your used books for other people’s used books, using the BookMooch economy of points for books swapped) and MagnaTune (a virtual music label where musicians can sell/license their music. It’s also well used for music licensing for films, MP3 players in cars(!), and more) and a little about Creative Commons.

The moral of the story for me was that John could show through these examples that given the opportunity, the incentive and the right environment, people are likely to act generously and to pay for content they value, even if they could get it more cheaply or free for the same effort.

OK. Perhaps that doesn’t sound particularly new or interesting… it’s the last bit – the bit about getting it for free or more cheaply for the SAME EFFORT that I think it interesting.

Check out the PDF download of Johns presentation for more details (you can pretty much make out what he was saying from his slides, which is just as well given the accoustics on the night!)

The next MiniBar is apparently on 15 December and that presentation will be from the Tape It Off The Internet guys apparently… should be very interesting!

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Image Credit: Gareth Rodger @ Flickr