On Saturday, February 24, we hosted the local celebration of World IA Day 2018. The annual event is held in communities all around the world and brings together like-minded professionals and enthusiasts who share the common goal of practicing, learning, teaching and shaping the future of information architecture. This year, information architecture was celebrated in 56 locations, 25 countries and 5 continents.
As charter members of the Information Architecture Institute, we were happy to host the event at nForm and thrilled to connect with so many people in the community who share our interest in IA. Johanna kicked off the evening with a few greetings and then we jumped right in to the presentations.
Micah Slavens from Lift Interactive walked us through the history of IA up to present day trends and what to watch for in the future with his talk, The Role of IA in Modern Digital. He discussed the importance of looking back in order to look forward and understand what has shaped our current behaviours. He also reminded us that we connect people through technology and we should always keep in mind there is someone on the other side of the screen.
Devfacto‘s Mark Morris was up next and gave us all something to think about in his presentation, “Blank” is Better than “Other”. He emphasized that good IA connects people to the information they are looking for which is why classification and categorization is so important. We are all familiar with the miscellaneous drawer full of random things. Mark suggested leaving hard-to-classify items as unclassified was more effective than using “other”, because it makes it obvious where categorization is incomplete. He used a platypus as an example of an animal that defies classification, and offered some practical tips for finding the right place for platypus-like content.
This tied nicely into Isabelle Sperano and Robert Andruchow’s workshop on categorizing animals. The interactive workshop, led by the MacEwan Design Studies professors, was a chance for participants to get hands on while understanding the importance of context when designing an organization system. Each group was given a list of animals to categorize, but with a different scenario, such as designing a website for a zoo or organizing a small child’s stuffed animal collection. For a Saturday evening, it was impressive to see how engaged everyone was and the level of participation in each group.
We would like to thank everyone who attended World IA Day and joined us in learning from one another. Special thanks to Optimal Workshop for the sponsorship that helped us provide refreshments for everyone. We had a lot of fun planning the event – especially eating all the candy.
Hope to see you again next year!