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World Information Architecture Day - DC 2017

"More devices are coming online every day, creating and accessing ever more information. Information Architecture is how we make sense of it."

Jorge Arango - Information Architect, Partner at Futuredraft

The fifth annual IA Day was held in 58 locations, 24 countries and 5 continents. I was lucky enough to get a ticket to the DC IA Day. The day kicked off with an excellent presentation by Abby Covert, one of the founders of world IA day. Her talk, "How to Set IA Up to Fail", taught us all missteps to avoid in a practical and pragmatic ways. Her book "How to Make Sense of Any Mess" offers real world examples of how to understand, manage and architect information in a way to bring clarity to complexity. I enjoyed meeting and talking with Abby afterward.

Next I attended Brandon Luong's sessions, "Nurturing the Customer Experience from Day 1 to Lifetime Value." I've known Brandon for a couple of years, first meeting him at the Collaborate Conference in 2015 where we both pitched business ideas in the Dolphin Tank. It's been great keeping in touch with him since then. As Chief Strategy Officer of WeTogether he works to build inclusive tech and startup organizations. His talk was fun and informative and gave great advice for building customer focus.

After lunch with a new friend who I had met at the DCWebWomen portfolio night, we returned for an excellent Design Thinking workshop led by IBM professionals with extensive and deep experience in cognitive analysis and human centered design. Vera Rhoads and Steve Mealy led us through an exercise to imagine an improved user experience when visiting a museum. My team developed a persona, imagined what the person would say, think, feel, and do while visiting the museum and from that we developed ideas to improve the their experience. If was enlightening to hear from all the groups and all the possibilities to meet user needs.

The final session that I attended was "IA for AI: New methods for designing a new class of products" by John Whalen. He led us through examples and experiences in using Information Architecture for Artificial Intelligence. He shared comparisons and evaluations of Google Voice, Alexa from Amazon, Cortana from Microsoft. I also enjoyed the facial recognistion app AffDex that he shared with us. It determines a persons emotion based on their expression.

All the sessions were excellent. At some times we needed to make choices due to multiple presentations going on at once. The choices were difficult and from talking with people who attending sessions that I couldn't, it's clear that they were all great. It's so nice knowing that although I spent a Saturday away from my family, it was worthwhile, educational, and inspiring. It was also clear that the organizers took care to build diversity and inclusion into the event and it was inspiring to see this reflected in the speakers. Additionally, the SketchArt created during the sessions by Steph Brown and Rachel Thompson are wonderful reminders of the topics in the sessions.

I'm very glad that I attended this event and look forward to it next year.

Here are useful links about the event:

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