By mprove on May 20, 2009
ok, let's see where to start my little report on the Information Architecture Konferenz – with K and Z – because it was mostly the German IA community coming together for it's annual conference. I must start with the lovely venue, the new Riverside Hotel in Hamburg on top of the river Elbe. That was a perfect location for 200 IA folks attending the 2-day conference last weekend.
Should I write for the web and start with the highlights? Or should I keep my fingers crossed and hope that you continue to read (or at least skip) to the end? Anyway. Mr. IA Institute, Louis Rosenfeld, gave the opening keynote on Web Analytics and User Experience (slides) – a call for data driven people to consider the Why – and a call for designers evaluate the What.
"It's not much use to know what is happening if you don’t know why.
You can’t know why things are happening if you don’t know what is happening."
In the afternoon I was skeptical about the talk "Design und praktischer Einsatz von UI Patterns" (slides). And I was not disappointed. I do not want to understand, why information architects follow just the design patterns approach rather then using the much broader notion of Christopher Alexander, BTW_ a real architect of the 1960s and 70s. [Resources on Patterns]
Claudia Urschbach made us shout "eya" when a pig shows up on her slides. I was not first. I did not get the beer. But I got vivid impressions from web design work at the BBC in London. They are heading towards the semantic web by generating single web pages for each and every actor or singer and band on the radio or TV and each and every episode of their soap operas, or shows or you-name-it. They expect to get a hyperlinked network where e.g. the website for a cooking show can link to the BBC page of their singing celebrity guest. (slides)
On Sunday we had two presentations on agile software development and information architecture. Oliver Emmler and Wolf Nödinger gave a very good example by applying agile philosophy on the presentation itself. "What do I want to say? How many time units? Hmm, does not fit in 30 minutes, so let's skip the history of extreme programming and have an interactive part with the audience instead." I liked that. Here are the (slides) of the other talk on agile IA.
Persuasive web design and pervasive information architecture. I am just glad that these come from two different talks. Sebastian Deterding talked about the relation between usability and motivation. Poor usability is less of a problem if you are motivated to accomplish a certain goal. (But this is no excuse for bad design.) On the other hand, a website can persuade a user in the sweet instance when the user's attention is focussed on an issue (eg. her CO2 footprint in dopplr) and an action button is offered (here_ donate to plant some trees).
Pervasive Information Architecture impressed by the presentation style. Andrea Resmini used the zooming UI capabilities of prezi.com for his closing keynote. Give it a try and you can imagine the wow-effect it made on the audience.
But the ultimate highlight of the conference was Peter Boersma's invited talk on user experience deliverables. He extended the common view of user stories, wireframes, mood boards!, usability reports etc. by pitch presentations, product launch activities, and management documents like strategy papers, risk and planning documents, and requirements engineering. You might wonder why this is the highlight! Well, it was quiz time. An incredible show regarding the various deliverables of user experience. Definitely worth my trip from Hamburg to Hamburg ;-)