CanUX 2017

In 2017 I gave my ‘What’s the point of information architecture talk’ with some CanUX-flavoured additions.

Here is how I described it beforehand:

What’s the role of the IA in a world that’s seen Brexit, President Trump and an erosion of trust in facts and experts? IA has always been focused on ‘meaning’ as well as the arrangement of parts to build systems. And meaning has a point of view. When an IA makes a choice we shape the choices available to our audiences. From the “tags” in our controlled vocabulary to the shape of our information architecture, we often decide what’s significant. We can control the visibility of concepts. We can write things in and out of existence. Whether our users are human or digital, we wield power and influence.

That sounds pretty heavy. Dan will lighten things up and make them more memorable with four jokes and a magical experiment. He’ll also share a practical framework for understanding where and how IAs can have an impact. And he will talk about where and how human curation and information seeking fit in an organisation known worldwide for our impartiality and editorial quality. I’ll talk about the power of language to shape reality.

IA is an expression of values and a coercive activity – we create worlds and force users to adopt certain perspectives. We can empower users or nudge them to adopt new ways of seeing the world. But only if we’re effective. Dan will share how he has been trying to make sure that information architects are useful. And how do you move IA out of theory or concepts into having the necessary and practical impact on the rest of the user experience it should? How do you design and build information architecture in a world of MVPs and larger, complex interconnected systems? What’s the point of information architecture?

This engaging and thought-provoking talk presents a practical model for evaluating ‘what’s most important’ for the IA, and looks at the power we have and the responsibility we inherit because of it.

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