For those who are not familiar with the IA Summit it is one of the best organized events for anyone interested in Information Architecture, User Experience, or other related professions. The conversations in the hall alone are well worth the expense.
This year's conference was held in sunny San Diego and featured some of the best talks that I have heard in five years of attendance. Starting with an exceptional keynote by Irene Au the rest of the day offered a dizzying selection of presentations from both seasoned presenters and first timers.
Opening Keynote (Irene Au)
After a little bit of yoga to help loosen tired muscles Irene jumped straight into a wonderful talk that set the tone for the days to come.
Becoming a Change Agent (Carrie Hane Dennison)
My first session was a wonderful discussion of how we can affect change in the environment around us. Rather than throwing in the towel because "we've always done it that way" we can work with stakeholders, team members, and subject experts to get to "Can I talk to you about ...?"
Research in Awkward Places (Alison Meier)
Next I sat in on a presentation which gave practical tips for how to do research outside the comfort of a lab. Whether it be in a retail environment, on the street, or in somebody's home these tips can help you be successful when trying to capture user research in the wild.
Fidelity and the Art of Persuasion (Jane Reinberg Guthrie)
Modeling for Clarity (Joe Elmendorf)
After lunch I settled in for two shorter presentations which were both very helpful in learning how to share a User Experience vision with others. Remember - when in doubt do not be afraid to ask questions.
Designing for Emerging Technology (Erik Dahl)
The second to last talk of the day was one I've been wanting to see since Midwest UX last fall. On that occasion I was too slow taking a seat and the room filled up to capacity. If you are curious about where technology is taking User Experience this is a presentation that you should not miss.
The Architecture of Advocacy (Christina Wodtke)
Christina Wodtke is one of those speakers who could spend an hour talking about the history of Eastern European Commerce and it would still be a fascinating 45 minute session. This afternoon was a little more interactive than most - rather than talking at us she provoked conversations that spilled into the hallways afterwards. If you ever find yourself doubting your abilities find this talk among the podcasts and become motivated to Do Good.
Closing Keynote (Martin Belam)
The final talk of a successful first day, Martin spoke to the crowd about the Ghosts of Information Architecture. Included in his presentation were several amusing quizzes which I have included links to below. Find out how much of an IA you really are and how hated you are by content strategists.