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Pittsburgh 2018

Pennsylvania United States


North America

World IA Day Pittsburgh

What is information architecture? How can we improve our practice? Why does IA matter? 

Spend a fabulous day hearing from experts from around the country and participating in a choice of workshops.

World IA Day is brought to you by our amazing local sponsors including headlining sponsor TEKsystems Digital.

Event date
Sat, 24 February 2018

Venue, parking and transit

Truefit - inside Union Trust Building

501 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Please use the Oliver Avenue or the William Penn Place entrances


9:30 AM - 9:40 AM


9:40 AM - 10:30 AM

“What is IA, Why Does It Matter?”

Presented by Dave Cooksey

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Workshop Option 1: Bringing Order to Chaos: Using Collaboration to Experience the Design Process

Presented by Karen Moyer

Information Architecture projects are about organizing complexity. Typically, the designer is trying to figure out which alternative structures could work and which one is the best.

This hands-on workshop uses a collaborative approach to help participants look at the design process by organizing physical objects. In the process, you will have a chance to experience what it feels like to transition from too many possibilities to one, specific, concrete approach. You’ll get practice articulating your ideas to others, trying things out, and weighing alternatives fast. And, perhaps most important, you’ll participate in conversations with your teammates that need to happen before making decisions.

Karen developed and led this workshop while teaching in CMU’s School of Design for over 35 years. You’re bound to enjoy Karen’s enthusiasm and anecdotes.

10:30 AM -12:00 PM

Workshop Option 2: Data-Driven Approach to IA Design, Evaluation, and Documentation

Presented by Barbora Batokova

Creating a usable information architecture (IA) is one of the most important but also challenging tasks while designing a successful digital product. In this workshop, you will learn a comprehensive, data-driven approach that will help you design, evaluate, and document information architectures, ensuring they’re useful and usable. You will get an overview of specific design research methods in each of the five stages of the approach, each illustrated by an example when I was designing SEI’s public website and the intranet. Together, we will take a closer look at tree testing, one of the key IA methods.

Consisting of five major stages, the approach begins with the (1) understanding of the current state: stakeholders, user needs, content, and common tasks of the product. In the second stage, you (2) assess the current state with tree testing, think-aloud protocol, and heatmaps/click tracking. In the third stage, you (3) fill in the gaps using surveys, expert interviews, competitive analyses, and search log analyses. In the fourth stage, you (4) create the new IA with the help of three additional methods: card sorting, butcher paper IA, and task-flow diagrams. Finally, you (5) test and refine the new IA by doing first-click testing and doing another round of tree testing.

The entire approach focuses on creating tangible artifacts based on both qualitative and quantitative design research data. You can (and should) share these artifacts with your team and stakeholders to involve them in the discussion and the design process. During the tree testing hands-on exercises, you will learn how to prepare, execute, analyze, and document the method using specific online services and templates.

This participatory, data-driven design approach leads to further insights and increased buy-in from stakeholders, which is necessary to meet both business and user needs with the new IA.

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Workshop Option 3: IA and Communication Design: Taking a Critical Look at Perceptions, Responsibilities, and Opportunities in Media

Presented by Stacie Rohrbach

Given the mass of information that technology provides us, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. To reduce information overload, many online services cull their data looking for trends that help them determine which pieces of content to push to readers. In addition to topic popularity, their content decisions may also be based on such things as the interests of funding sources, and corporate political views. News sources are particularly notorious for providing readers with narrow perspectives on world events. However, the readership of specific information sources are not always aware of the slant to the news that is provided to them. As a result, readers become ill-informed, which leads them to make poor decisions on important issues.

In this workshop we will decode the visual and structural approaches of news organizations and hypothesize their impact on audiences. We will also investigate ways of using communication design and information architecture to help people become better informed citizens by teaching them how to carefully read content (not just the words but the forms of content) and encouraging them to make comparisons among information sources. The workshop activities are intended to encourage critical thinking about the decisions we make as designers and provide strategies for working through similar challenges.

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


1:00 PM - 1:15 PM

“Designing with Wicked Intent”

Presented by Carolynn Johnson

1:15 PM - 1:30 PM

“Machine-Learning-Generated Data”

Presented by Elliott Williams

1:30 PM - 1:45 PM

“The Use of Iconography and Illustration in IA for Clarity and Comprehension”

Presented by Marisa Boevers

1:45 PM - 2:00 PM


2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

“Modeling for Good”

Presented by Kaarin Hoff

3:00 PM - 3:40 PM

“Assembly Required: When Access to Information isn't Enough”

Presented by Stephen Anderson

3:40 PM - 4:00 PM