World Information Architecture Day 2017: Things Got a Little Messy
It’s not often that a keynote speaker starts off his talk with, “I’m a mess.” But that’s just how Andrew Hinton, Senior Digital Experience Architect at State Farm, began his comments at Atlanta’s World Information Architecture Day (IA) event.
Atlanta’s World IA Day event took place on February 18th at General Assembly inside the Old Fourth Ward’s Ponce City Market, the fully renovated Sears, Roebuck & Company building that is a major part of the redevelopment movement in Atlanta. The event welcomed 150 students, information architects and researchers who all came to learn, share, and listen to industry thought leaders like State Farm’s Andrew Hinton, and join a worldwide celebration of all things information architecture. World IA Day is about bringing the information architecture community together. This year 63 locations took part, spanning five continents and 24 countries from Johannesburg to London, Beirut to Mumbai — a truly global event. THRIVE was proud to be one of the day’s leading sponsors, and was represented during the weekend by THRIVE’s Senior UX Designer Rebecca Rusk who served as Co-Chair of the event for the second year.
As for Andrew’s so-called “mess”? No, he hadn’t woken up late or spilled coffee on his shirt. He was referring to the chaos of information that makes up our daily lives and interactions — digital, mobile, design or otherwise. The fundamental tenet of Information Architecture (IA) is bringing sense and organization to it all. (You may be familiar with the book How to Make Sense of Any Mess, written by one of WIAD’s founders Abby Covert.) This year’s theme was dedicated to doing just that and celebrating all that is consistent, transparent, findable and understandable. Andrew went on to stress that we find ourselves in a complicated times of information overload, and that technology architects and designers have a responsibility to support clarity and truth — now more than ever — and to make interactions easier for those who struggle, no matter what the platform or interface.
Other speakers also echoed the need for inclusion and diversity in what we design and build. A student panel from Georgia Tech, moderated by THRIVE’s own Jasmine Hentschel, explored creating Artificial and Virtual Reality constructs while paying attention to a diverse audience. Student panelists elaborated on how to bridge today’s innovations with new patterns of digital interaction in the AR/VR space.
Atlanta’s World Information Architecture Day also featured lightening Ted-style talks from leading Atlanta organizations including Cox Communications, Full Story, Dangerous Kitchen and Content Science. Participants were treated to some valuable and compelling insights into the IA process with small group mentoring sessions that paired them with industry thought leaders to discuss a multitude of design and career topics. Many took away actionable insights to put to work in their lives and careers.
As a result, we’re all going to be working on making user interactions a little less of a mess.