IUE2009: Thursday’s tracks

Okay, that was a great conference.

The last day was built on parallel tracks of presentations, most were about an hour-long. I’m only going to write about 3 of the ones I attended.

  1. Now That I See It, Dan Klyn, Flannel
  2. In-House Recruiting, Cora Bledsoe, Quicken Loans
  3. Grown-Ups Guide to the Social World of Web 2.0, Jan Welborn-Nichols, Market Arts Creative

Now That I See It

Dan Klyn’s talk was enthusiastic and thoughtful. He asked the question about information architecture, is there more we can learn from “regular old” architects? Of course, the answer is yes.

One idea he garnered from architecture is the spectrum of architecture work. Which level should it meet?

  1. Shelter
  2. Comfort
  3. Convenience
  4. Prestige

Ask that about any Web project. What an excellent model for thinking about the aims of a project! Associated with each is the level of customization, the speed of delivery, and the reliance on established patterns of use. E.g., for many sites that need comfort or convenience, building a site using WordPress (or another blog CMS) would be fine. However, if you need certain convenience or prestige, more custom approaches/implementation of information architecture may be needed. An out-of-the-box CMS may not be able to reach that level of work.

I suspect most of us make these strategic calls at the early stages of projects, but I found this spectrum of shelter to prestige to provide a nice frame.

Dan also talked about some discussions he’s had with Richard Saul Wurman, who wrote a book a published in 1997 with “Information Architects” as the title. I’ve not read the book, but been aware of Wurman by references from a number of authors in the IA field. My general take is that he pushed thoughts on the topic forward, but that the book was focused more on what today we call information design. Funny, I’ve watched a number of TED presentations, but had no idea that Wurman was behind that project.

It’s been so long since I’ve been in a room with other information architects. I love IAs.

Dan is working on a book called “Now That I See It.” I’m looking forward to seeing it!

In-House Recruiting

Cora presented one of the most immediately applicable ideas of the conference. In short, it is the idea to create a place for people interested in participating in user research to gather, so that when Quicken Loans needs to recruit participants, they have an existing pool of possible participants to pull from. See a core part of the answer at feedbackcentral.quickenloans.com.

Awesome idea. Perhaps we’ll do this at work.

Grown-Ups Guide to the Social World of Web 2.0

Jan presented a fast-paced survey of many Web 2.0 sites out there, and gave her review of many of them. She shared many recommendations on making the most of each one. Her talk was great and entertaining…and I need to get to work. Read LOTS more about her talk at Zach’s blog, and visit her company’s site at market-arts.com.

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