The Future of Information Architecture, A Retreat

August 09, 2004 06:50 PM

Where: Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, CA
When: October 1-3, 2004

This weekend retreat is an opportunity for IAs from around the globe to come together in an informal and beautiful setting to discuss and share ideas about the future of Information Architecture. Where are we heading? What is the career path for an IA? What is on the horizon for the next 5 years and how do we plan to approach it?

Supported by AIfIA under the Event Sponsorship Program and organized by AIfIA members, we will be gathering for a weekend to talk with one another, share ideas, peek into the future and see what it holds for us. If you want to help shape the direction our field is taking, get to know other Information Architects, and enjoy a beautiful place near the Pacific Ocean, this is the weekend for you. It will be a IA cocktail hour that goes for an entire weekend, sprinkled with a few presentations and occasional deer leaping across the grounds.

Rather than have everyone preach to each other, it should be a time to make connections, and problem solve together, as a true retreat should be. So far we have Margeret Hanley speaking on career opportunities for IAs, Jess McMullin unveiling trends that will shape the next five years in IA, Peter Merholz pondering the relationships of comics, urban planning and emergent phenomenon to IA and Victor Lombardi offering design patterns for design management.

This is a small gathering – only 40 slots are available! It’s an unprecedented opportunity to have real conversations in an intimate setting. To sign up now fax the completed Attendee Information form (25kb PDF) to the Asilomar Conference Grounds.

Note: this registration takes care of all meals from Friday night to Sunday lunch, as well as accommodation. No extra fees are collected by the association-- this is by us, for us!

Want to do more than just attend?

Would you like to present? Lead a workshop? Please send us a short (1 paragraph) description of the breakout session or workshop you would like to lead. The committee will review, and work toward putting together a program that will wow and titillate. Here are some ideas we’ve come up with, but don’t necessarily have leaders for that might stimulate your thoughts:

  • Collaboration models: How do we work better with our peer designers and developers? What is the IA’s role in the organization?
  • Cultural perspectives: How will information use be different in Africa vs. San Francisco in 5 years?
  • Is ROI really relevant?
  • How do you get access to the C-level folks? What do we have to say to them?
  • Is the web ready for a paradigm shift? Will it be social networks, new search techniques, or...?
  • How do we market our skills to the world? How do we communicate our business value?
  • IA Published magazine: Could AIfIA or Boxes and Arrows take this on? Would this be a good way to making us an “established” field? What other things could we do to push the next realm of marketing?

Descriptions are due August 16th, 2004. Send them to retreat@boxesandarrows.com.

Want to spend some time not talking about IA?

Asilomar is in an incredible location. In Pacific Grove on the Monterey peninsula, it is close to the Monterey aquarium, and affords activities like bike riding and kayaking, as well as low-key activities like beach combing and bonfires. The conference grounds themselves are unique: designed by Julia Morgon in the Arts and Crafts style, every building has a fireplace and a common space, and many rooms have fireplaces as well. The birthplace of AIfIA, we’re sure you will be inspired by this tranquil and magical spot to invent as well.

Draft Schedule

Meal Schedule:

Breakfast: 7:30

Lunch: 12:00

Supper: 18:00

 

Friday, October 1, 2004

 

Start

End

Session

Leader

13:00

17:00

Registration

Chiara Fox

 

 

 

 

16:00

17:00

Deliverables/Get to Know You Chat

 

17:00

19:00

Supper

 

19:00

wee hrs

Party off-site

Andi

 

Saturday, October 2, 2004

 

Start

End

Session

Leader

9:00

9:30

Welcome

Christina Wodtke

9:30

10:30

Ten Trends for 2010

Jess McMullin

10:30

11:00

Coffee Break

 

11:00

12:00

User Experience and Offshoring

Liam Friedland

12:00

13:30

Lunch

 

13:30

14:30

Taking IA Careers to the Next Level

Margaret Hanley

14:30

15:30

Design Patterns for Design Management

Victor Lombardi

15:30

16:00

Coffee Break

 

16:00

17:30

The Future of IA Tools

Victor Hsu

17:30

19:00

Supper

 

19:00

20:00

The IA of Things: A Discussion

Bill DeRouchey

 

Sunday, October 3, 2004

 

Start

End

Session

Leader

9:00

12:00

Scenario Planning including break

Jess McMullin

12:00

13:00

Lunch

 

13:00

14:00

Beyond the Page

Gene Smith

14:00

15:00

Rebooting Information Architecture

Peter Merholz & Livia Labate?

15:00

15:15

Goodbyes

Christina

Session Descriptions & Presenter Bios

Welcome & Closing

Christina Wodtke has been an information architect since the dawn of the dotcom era and is a leader in the growing field of Information Architecture (IA). She founded Boxes and Arrows, an online magazine of IA; is president of the Asilomar Institute of Information Architecture; chaired the fourth annual ASIS&T summit on IA; and has spoken on the topic of IA at conferences from Seybold to Web World.

Christina is currently consulting. Before that, she lead the design team working on Yahoo! Search and Marketplace. Formally a partner at the renowned user experience agency Carbon IQ, she has also worked with clients such as Shockwave.com, Wells Fargo, Sprite, and Houghton Mifflin, as well as nonprofits such as BraveKids.org and UrbanSchool.org.

Ten Trends for 2010

The decade holds sweeping changes for information architects and architecture. These changes include shifting business practices, economic drivers, social changes, evolving content, and rapidly accelerating technologies. IA is not an island, and our practice at the end of the decade will reflect the world around us. If we recognize these changes we can prepare personally and organizationally to thrive as information architecture is transformed. Taking on trends from next-generation Windows to the commoditization of current practices, this session will spark your thinking about the future of information architecture.

Jess McMullin is founder of nform User Experience Consulting, currently a three-person consultancy based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He co-founded AIfIA and has served on the Leadership Council/Advisory Board until his election to the Board of Directors in Fall 2004. He serves as a main contributor to iaslash, and is currently involved in several community initiatives. He has presented at the IA Summit and published in Boxes and Arrows about his ideas on value-centered design, reconciling user-centered design and business goals. He has contributed at various levels to several IA and user experience books, most notably serving as a technical reviewer of The Elements of User Experience. He continues to share his thoughts on his newly minted blog at www.interactionary.com. He has been married eight years, has two beautiful children, and once worked in an ammunition factory, which might explain his distaste for bullet points in presentations.

User Experience and Offshoring

Product design and usability can suffer tremendously when UI development is done offshore. A product development team can make or break usability. All the information architecture, interaction design, and usability testing on earth will not make products usable if design ideas and test results are not properly communicated and utilized by the development team working on the other side of the world. This session will discuss the issues, and propose solutions for working with offshore UI development teams. Some of the implications in offshoring design and usability work will also be addressed.

Liam Friedland is the User Experience Architect at Westbridge Technology; where for the past 3 years, he and his team have worked exclusively with offshore UI developers. Prior to Westbridge, Liam was a founding manager in Siebel's User Experience group, where he grew and led an interdisciplinary team. He has over fourteen years of experience introducing and managing user-centered design programs at some of the world's top software companies, including Microsoft, Oracle, and Borland. Liam has published several articles and co-authored a book chapter on User Experience. He recently developed and presented a highly rated tutorial on UE Strategy at CHI & UPA.

Taking IA Careers to the Next Level

As we become more experienced within the IA profession, the options in our careers become less obvious; do we want to go into management, apply our learning in different areas or become a better practitioner? This workshop will allow us to think about options on career development past a senior IA.

Margaret Hanley has worked as an Information Architect for more than 9 years on three continents. Margaret is currently the Executive Producer of Core Products for bbc.co.uk, managing a set of IA related products like search, homepage and Programme Information Pages. While working as an IA at the BBC, she developed content models and controlled vocabularies to describe everything from "Composer of the Week" to traffic updates on the Nottingham WIL site. Prior to joining the BBC, she served as Senior Information Architect at Ingenta in Oxford. In the United States, Margaret was a project manager for Argus Associates, concentrating on the development of deep information architecture for corporate web sites. Clients included Microsoft, IBM, Square D and LookSmart.

Design Patterns for Design Management

One career path for information architects is to graduate to supervisory and managerial roles. Success in this role requires combining knowledge of our discipline with management skills in a way that is unique from other kinds of managers. Managing involves expanding individual research and design skills into processes that suit teams and organizations. It also involves integrating business and organizational development practices in ways that make sense to both UX teams and the entire organization.

Victor will present a set of lessons for discussion, as well as questions that each participant can pose to her- or himself to find a personal perspective on design management issues.

Victor Lombardi Victor Lombardi works as a design strategist in New York City. He has designed over 30 digital media products working within companies and as a consultant, and has managed both technical and design teams. Recently Victor led the information architecture practice at AIG, a Fortune 10 financial services company. Prior to AIG, Victor was a manager of information architecture at Razorfish, a digital media consulting firm. He is currently President of the Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture. For more information visit his website: http://www.victorlombardi.com/

The Future of IA Tools

Information architects currently conduct our practice with found tools – tools like Visio, that were built for another purpose, but that we now use for information architecture. A new set of tools is emerging that support specific IA methods and techniques. This session will discuss current efforts in this new IA tool set, and provide brainstorming opportunities for you to make your voice heard on the tools you want to see developed. If you’re using dedicated IA tools, we’d like to hear your experiences, and if you have ideas for IA tools we want to hear those too.

Victor Hsu is the product manager for Axure Software, creators of Ubiquity RP--the first commercial wireframing tool. Victor is actively engaged in helping build tools for practicing user experience in the future.

The IA of Things, A Discussion

As wireless networks become pervasive, computing power miniaturizes, and display technologies get cheaper, traditional products, objects you can actually hold and touch, will increasingly incorporate user interfaces and information systems. Interface design for alarm clocks and stereos has by default fallen on industrial designers and engineers, but as these pocket-size interfaces become more complex, industrial designers must look to the core skills of information architects to develop smart interface designs.

How do our web experiences in IA translate to the design of objects? How do we communicate solutions when a “button” goes from something just clickable to something that can pushed or pulled, turned left or right, slow or fast, and includes visual, audio and tactile feedback? As things increasingly incorporate information, what additional competencies and vocabulary do we need to develop the information architecture of things.

Bill DeRouchey began architecting information about a decade before discovering the term Information Architect. He has structured information for websites, software, textbooks, devices and brands, and mixed in a lot of writing, for clients including Kodak, Intel, HP, Microsoft, Whirlpool, Texas Instruments, Extensis, Unicru, and more. Bill is a Senior Information Architect for Ziba Design in Portland, Oregon.

Beyond the Page

Since the beginning of the web, the page—an HTML document with links and content—has been the dominant metaphor for organizing and viewing
information online. Not only is it an essential part of users’ vocabulary, the page is deeply ingrained in IA literature, tools and deliverables. But the importance of the page is being eroded on three fronts: by the growth of XML content (like RSS and Atom), by the rise of rich internet applications, and by web services that bring web-based content and applications to the client. This session will look at why the page model has endured and explore tools and techniques IAs can use to architect beyond the page.

Gene Smith is an all around nice guy, who doesn’t have an online bio we can poach for this retreat.

Rebooting Information Architecture

As information architecture matures, as the methods become formalized, as the requirements for demonstrating value become greater, I know my practice has lost some of its quirky zeal, that my excitement has been dampened. This session will attempt to reboot our thoughts on information architecture, bringing ideas in from all over -- comics, emergent theories, sociology, architecture, urban planning, what have you. This session will be less a presentation than a salon -- everyone is encouraged to bring their favorite ideas to the table, preferably with books, articles, drawings, whatever, that helps explain them.

Peter Merholz is a founding partner of Adaptive Path, the world's premier user experience consulting company. He is an experienced information architect, writer, speaker, and leader in the field of user-experience design. Clients include PeopleSoft, Cathay Pacific, and Intuit. Peter is a regular speaker at Web design and information architecture conferences, such as ACIA's IA2000, South by Southwest (SXSW), and UI Conference. He is also writer whose work has appeared in several industry publications, including Webmonkey, New Architect, and .Net Magazine.