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4 Takeaways from World IA Day 2018

Thriving in the Experience Age

If there’s one thing we know as a company that was birthed out of the revolutions of the information age, rapid evolution is key to survival. As we transition from the information age to the experience age, our connectivity to our mobile devices and the ‘internet of things’ is fundamentally shifting not only our mindsets, but how we design and architect our digital experiences.

World IA Day 2018

"information architecture is about helping people understand their surroundings and find what they're looking for, in the real world as well as online."

World Information Architecture (IA) Day brings together “a community of like-minded professionals and enthusiasts who share the common goal of practicing, learning, teaching and shaping the future of information architecture.” We had the opportunity to participate in the local event held in Washington, D.C., where we spent the day hearing and exchanging ideas with industry leaders in IA and User Experience (UX).

In case you missed this year’s events, we’ve pulled together our top four takeaways from the D.C. sessions.

1. Designing for the User’s #@$%-iest Experiences

Wendy Stengel, shared her perspective on what we, as UX and IA specialists do: We help people find something they want, find something they need, and understand something. She discussed how we can design information in a way that can help people through their darkest times (there was a This is Us spoiler here, we won’t hold it against Wendy).

@wendywoowho: how we design, should also be empathetic

We love this because it reiterates that humans are the center of what we do, and that we can use IA for good to help people in times of crisis.

2. Metadata is the ingredient we need to make the gumbo soup of information.

Big data discussions are everywhere. Everyone is trying to make sense of the data they’re collecting in some capacity. Laura Hermann and Ren Pope shared their thoughts on the difference between data mining and data fracking. This presentation stood out to us because it illustrated that data points are people who have stories, which is why we have to give information good context.  “The Information Architect’s job is to provide context to the users, you are the gatekeeper.”

@info_do: give thoughts to re-use of data. Use IA to apply a layer of context

We love this because it serves as a reminder that we are obligated to protect our users, not just their data.

3. Extreme Users’ Needs Reflect Wider Population Needs.

Gina Assaf’s principles for designing for the developing world also broadly transcend principles for broad users. Political implications, privacy and security, safety, partnership, and multi-channel approaches all resonate around finding the users where they already are.

Illustration of designing in developing nations

We’d summarize the talk further, but we know when to bow down to the greatness of a graphic facilitator like Stephanie Brown. You can see her visual capture of Gina’s talk above.

Key takeaway by @ginaassaf: nothing replaces you being from a culture. but do as much as you can...the products you design can isolate and upset people.

We love this because no matter who we design for, we must invest in understanding our users and their culture is crucial to adoption and driving change through design.

4. Don’t forget to use people-first language to empower people.

Andrae Rose’s talk on “Diversity in Design” started with the premise of making us feel uncomfortable, and admits that if we have brains, ultimately we are biased: “Write your bias down. Carry it with you. Reflect on it so you can keep it out of your work”.

Key takeaway: What we design shapes society

We love this, not just because Andrae referenced how Sesame Street has been promoting diversity since 1969, but because the “decisions we make as creatives have great influence on the world.”

We were proud to have the opportunity to participate in World IA Day. Special thanks to our friends at Zoomph who helped us visualize the social conversations from the global event.

What was your favorite takeaway from this year’s event? Tweet us @metrostarsystem.

By | 2018-03-12T18:08:17+00:00 February 27th, 2018|Categories: Digital, UX/UI|Tags: , , |
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