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World IA Day 2019

Pittsburgh 2019

Pennsylvania United States

World Information Architecture Day Pittsburgh presents:

2019: Design for Difference

As information architects and user experience designers, we are responsible for creating worlds of experiences, environments, services, and systems that have lasting impact on numerous people. While we don’t have a Hippocratic Oath, it is our responsibility to consider the consequences our design decisions have on people.

Research is a foundational step in the design process. It ensures that we understand and account for diverse user needs within communities, both in our own domains and globally. There is no average user; there is no ‘norm’. We seek to understand and design, among other factors, for:

  • Difference in ability and disability

  • Difference in access to information and technology

  • Difference in language and cultural understanding

  • Difference in age, gender, and identity

  • Difference in experience


World IA Day (Saturday, February 23, 2019) is an annual, global, conference-like celebration of the practice and education of Information Architecture, with distributed events organized by local volunteers.

This year in Pittsburgh, spend a fabulous day hearing from experts in our community and participating in a choice of workshops. The conference's excellent value is made possible, for an affordable ticket fee, by our wonderful local sponsors—including headlining sponsor TEKsystems Digital.


Some tickets have freed-up at the last minute! If you click 'Register' and our Eventbrite page no longer has any tickets available, you may still join the waitlist by clicking the 'Tickets' button in the Eventbrite page, and then completing the steps following that.

Venue, parking and transit

Alloy26 Auditorium

Nova Place

100 South Commons

Pittsburgh PA 15212


The best parking option is the Nova Place parking garage, directly beneath our event venue. The cost will be $5 per vehicle. Enter through Gate 4 on South Commons.

For detailed arrival and parking instructions, with photos, read our logistics message at this link:

Link to arrival & parking logistics


World IA Day 2019 Pittsburgh Agenda

Located in Alloy26, Pittsburgh Tech Council, and the Faros Seminar Room at Nova Place

Venue sponsored by UPMC Enterprises

8:30 - 9:00am

Arrival, registration, coffee & pastries

Location: Alloy26 Lobby

9:00 - 9:15am

Opening remarks

Location: Alloy26 Auditorium

9:15 - 10:00am

Keynote: Casey Buchanan-Smith

Digital Accessibility 101

Discover accessible thinking in a “Learn by example” discussion covering basic accessibility concepts and considerations. Learn about available accessibility tools and resources as well as ways to boost accessibility knowledge and awareness in your work place.

Location: Alloy26 Auditorium

Sponsored by Thermo Fisher Scientific



10:15 - 10:30am

Speaker: Jack Morgan

Designing for 1.2 Billion People

There are approximately 1.2 billion people learning a new language, and the majority are doing so in pursuit of a better life. As part of our mission to make education free for everyone, we studied millions of people spanning every country on the planet... until we made a shocking research discovery that led us on a journey around the world, throughout the Middle East and eventually inside one of the world's largest refugee camps in Azraq, Jordan - where even more unexpected discoveries awaited.

10:35 - 10:50am

Speakers: Ashley Deal & Raelynn O'Leary

IA Methods and Frameworks: Why They’re Useful and How They Fail

The tools, methods, and practices we rely on for developing information architectures are critical formative inputs, but are not a sure-fire path to creating an engaging and meaningful experience for your audience. In this talk, we’ll make the case for the importance of a strong designer’s stance—emphasizing the value of bringing your unique experiences and perspectives to bear on the IA challenges you face.



11:00am - 12:15pm

Break-out Session 1: anne m. gibson

Exploring an Alphabet of Accessibility

We’ll look at twenty-six (or more!) people who need us to build accessible websites. We’ll explore some of their experiences, including low vision, invisible disabilities, and neurological conditions, and talk about ways we can build more accessible websites.

Location: Faros Seminar Room

Sponsored by BarkleyREI

11:00am - 12:15pm

Break-out Session 2: Kimberly Zahler

Becoming a design leader: It's about impact

It is critical for designers to be skilled in expressing the impact their designs will have on target audiences, regardless of the type of work they are doing. Design leadership can be embodied at all levels, and is a skill that can be learned and practiced by everyone. It begins by thinking beyond the deliverable to the outcomes and impact. The goal of this workshop is to give participants hands-on experience rapidly iterating an idea collaboratively, articulating the impact and value of the design recommendations. We'll explore the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census as our topic.

Location: Pittsburgh Technology Council Resource Room

Sponsored by BCG Platinion | MAYA Design

11:00am - 12:15pm

Break-out Session 3: Raelin Musuraca

Our Social Responsibility in a Future without Interfaces

Facilitated by AI / ML, future interfaces and content will be delivered to users in real-time, customized to needs and preferences, in ways users themselves may not comprehend. What then becomes the UX designer’s role — facilitator of free will or social steward?

Location: Alloy26 Auditorium

12:15 - 1:00pm

Lunch by Bluebird Kitchen

Location: Alloy26 Lobby

Sponsored by TEKsystems Digital

1:00 - 1:15pm

Speaker: Andrew Twigg

Designing to Develop Empathy

Andrew Twigg will discuss ways in which empathy develops; the role of systems 1 and 2 in choice; and start to ask questions about how empathy and criticality might be cultivated, so that people—and designers—can take more appropriate action and enact care to make a difference.

1:20 - 2:05pm

Keynote: Anthony Levin-Decanini

Designing mindfully as a person with privilege

How do we do the work of structuring information in a way that doesn't reinforce systems of oppression? Step one is acknowledging privilege.

Location: Alloy26 Auditorium

Sponsored by TEKsystems Digital



2:15 - 3:00pm

World IA Debate, Moderated by Anna Abovyan

Designing for Difference: A Panel Discussion

This is not your usual panel: a topic is randomly pulled from a hat and the panelists are left to duke it out (audience members must remain silent!). As the discussion gets heated, one panelist will step down so that a brave audience member can enter the fray and speak their mind.


Closing remarks & give-aways


Happy hour at Federal Galley