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Sketch Notes Workshop Session

Washington, D.C. 2019

United States


North America

If you would like to follow our progress, volunteer to assist or sponsor to ensure a wonderful experience, please get in touch: 

2019 Theme: Design for Difference

As designers, we are responsible for creating worlds of experiences, environments, services, and systems that impact millions of people – with lasting impacts. While we don’t have a Hippocratic Oath, it’s important for us to follow a similar goal to “do good” and “do not harm.” It is our responsibility as IAs to consider the consequences and impact our design decisions have on humanity and society as a whole.

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.

So, what differences are we are designing 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

There is no average user. There is no norm.

“Different is the new normal we should be designing for.”
Inclusive Design Strategist Elise Roy at the 2018 IA Summit in Chicago.

How do we as information architects and designers design for this difference? What is this difference that we’re designing for? How can we better understand it and become more engaged and mindful for our different and diverse users? How might we communicate this understanding to others and provide more meaning and depth?

We build worlds. Let’s do it responsibly.

Event date
Sat, 23 February 2019

Venue, parking and transit

U.Group (formally ByteCubed): 2231 Crystal Dr #401, Arlington, VA 22202

Come join us on Feb, 23rd at U.Group in Crystal City, VA! 

Public Transportation 

  • Using MetroRail - Exit at the Crystal City stop, off the Blue or Yellow Lines. 
  • Using MetroBus - the 23A, 23B, 10N, L200, and 599 all have stops within a block or two of the plaza. 

Always check the schedules and notifications in advance of your travel. There are always track work and re-routes due to local events, visiting dignitaries, and unexpected changes. 


  • Parking is free on the weekends using the garage in the building complex. Please note, this is a massive garage that services multiple buildings. Follow directions for the Ruth Chris' Steak House dining area of the garage and you'll get to the right spot. 

Other Options 

Try one of the many options in the region for local transportation: 


WIAD DC 2019 Schedule 

10:30 AM - 11:00 AM

Maggie Ollove: Who are we leaving behind and how do we fix it?

Whether it’s who gets to vote by mail or receives childcare subsidies, government systems work better for some. While largely unintentional, this realization gives us an opportunity to re-design these systems to embrace difference.

As designers working to solve complex problems, we can’t make change in a single design moment. But small intentional choices that introduce difference can nudge us towards something that helps more people. Maggie Ollove will share stories and tips from her work.

Session Video 

Maggie Ollove designs innovative services with a human-centered approach. She currently leads projects at the Center for Civic Design on how voters get informed and transforming election procedures. Previously she worked to solve the challenge of childcare for low-income families by co-founding a service that builds trust between grandmothers and parents to exchange childcare. She brings her skills in design research, workshop facilitation, and prototyping to find solutions to social challenges.

10:30 AM - 11:00 AM

Jordan Higgins: 7 Senses of Architecture for Building Accessible Immersive Experiences

Augmented and virtual reality is rapidly becoming mainstream, and for those involved in creating interactive experience requires new ways of thinking about accessibility and usability. In this talk we'll explore what the 7 senses of architecture, 5 we are familiar with (sight, sound, taste, touch, smell) and 2 we don't often consider (balance & muscle memory), means for us as experience architects to ensure we don't leave users behind as physical and digital worlds increasingly blend together.

Jordan Higgins leads immersive design at U.Group, an early Microsoft Mixed Reality Agency Partner focused on finding innovative applications of augmented and virtual reality for training, simulation, collaboration, and brand engagement. He also serves on the board of UXPA DC creating professional development programs, and teaches design as Adjunct Faculty at George Mason University.

10:30 AM - 11:00 AM

Rachel Weatherly: What We Can All Learn from One University's Journey to Accessibility

Faced with new regulations and thousands of advocate complaints, colleges and universities are scrambling to meet their missions and accessibility compliance. American University prioritized their redesign to meet new guidelines on an aggressive timeline and established diversity and inclusion as hallmarks of its culture. From content analysis to new template elements to staff training, the accessibility project addressed the fundamental issue of moving from equal access to equal experience.

Session Video:

Rachel Weatherly is an expert strategist and designer, specializing in behavior change. She currently leads user experience and digital strategy at American University, including their extensive accessibility efforts. Previously, she developed digital strategies and researched behavior change at Sapient. In two years at the Atlantic Council, she reinvented the 50-year-old think tank's digital presence, after spending almost a decade at Gannett working on the digital transformation of print.

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Natalie Mandriko: Experiential session: Emotional design to ease moms out of guilt and shame

Our journey into emotional design has started with the most shameful topic among women - postpartum depression. Uncovering deepest secrets of motherhood was a great UX research challenge. The emotional life of motherhood is complex. Designing for emotions mean not only inducing positive feelings but moreover reducing negative feelings that have a huge impact on people happiness and health. We hope your emotional design solves the root problem in human lives.

Session Video:

Natalie is an experienced digital solutions consultant who worked with various clients from tiny startups to Fortune 50 companies. She designs valuable experiences and manages design and development of digital products.

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Colin Eagan: Architecting Personalized Experiences

Each user is different and unique -- but is adding personalization to your website an achievable (or desirable) goal? It's certainly a popular one: it’s now estimated that some 45% of organizations have tried to personalize their own homepage in some way--but fewer than a third think it’s actually “working." Time for an IA intervention. This highly practical talk will focus on Designing for Difference in personalization, including tech selection, user data models, and, of course, wireframes.

Session Video:

Most people drew pictures when they were kids. Colin made his own board games. Luckily, he gets to further his love of information design as Principal for User Experience at ICF International in DC, where he consults for Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits and government clients. Colin is a frequent contributor to UX conferences and publications, including UXPA International, IA Summit, UXDC, Confab, A List Apart, and The UX Booth. He credits any career success thus far to not going to law school.

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Janice Chan: How can we improve our defaults through IA?

When we speak of diversity and inclusion, we often talk in terms of who is at the table. But when we set up the table, did we think about how everyone would get there? Information architecture is about getting users to the content. It provides the foundation for so many facets of the user experience. This lightning talk will focus on the roles that IA practitioners play in designing for difference, challenging the audience to consider ways to bake accessibility and inclusion into the defaults.

Janice Chan consults (, teaches data management, and helps run NTEN’s Nonprofits and Data online community group. She has spent 12+ years, mostly in nonprofits, organizing and restructuring information so that teams can work together more effectively and focus on their missions. This includes data management, event and volunteer management, marketing and communications, curriculum development, technical training, and project management. Find her on Twitter @curiositybone.

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

David & Heather: Built-in Accessibility for Design Systems and Libraries

Designing for accessibility is a great way to practice empathy and learn to experience the world from someone else's perspective; it's also a legal obligation in many cases – particularly in DC. Unfortunately, combing over accessibility checklists and revising non-compliant designs can be frustrating and slow things down. In this talk, you'll learn how to give your team a leg-up by creating accessible designs right out of the gate – by building it into your design systems and libraries!

David Herring has 14 years of experience with enterprise design transformations; helping clients across the globe gain better customer insights and create innovative digital experiences. As an IA Manager at Sapient, David partners with clients to merge best methodologies, practices, and tools into custom experience strategies to bring the most business value. David has a BA (Honors) in Design, did graduate studies in Engineering Psychology, and is a DHS Accessibility Trusted Tester.

Heather Myers is a Visual Designer based in Washington, DC with a passion for travel, photography, and design. She believes in using design for good. Her work at Sapient has allowed her to work on public sector projects with a positive impact.

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Dian Holton: Designing for gender and age-specific underrepresented audiences

Dian Holton will be speaking about designing for gender and age specific underrepresented audiences. She will highlight AARP's role in providing content and services directed towards Gen X women.

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Guillermo Galdamez: Governance: Designing for continuous listening

A beautiful, functional design for any system is a key first step. How do we ensure that it continuously delivers value? Governance is often neglected, but we can define practices to promote equitable conversations, placing advocates in positions where they can advance their priorities.

Using a Global intranet case study, Galdamez will show how governance can be leveraged to guide a system’s growth, ensuring that voices are heard and the organization realizes ongoing and increasing value.

Guillermo Galdamez is a Knowledge Management Consultant who focuses on the intersection of strategy, taxonomy, collaboration, and innovation. His expertise lies in developing and implementing knowledge management programs, search, content strategy, and taxonomy design in international and multi-cultural environments. He has worked in a variety of settings, including academic institutions, Fortune 500 companies, professional associations, and intergovernmental organizations.

02:00 pm - 03:00 pm

Jeff Pass: Architecting IA Industry Events for Diversity & Inclusion with: Ali Tolbolsky, Glennette Clark, Daniel Newman, and Asha Singh

Jeff Pass, co-director for D&I at IAC’19 and longtime WIAD DC organizer, along with other local organizers, will share what prior events have done to promote Diversity, Inclusion, and Saftey at industry events. Attendees are then asked to share their experiences and recommendations for making WIAD DC and other industry events as safe, diverse, and inclusive as possible. 

Session Video:

Session Slides: 

Jeff Pass made his first website in 1997 and has been involved in IA, design, and usability ever since. Recently, Jeff’s focus has been on using his position (and privilege) to help promote more diverse, inclusive, and safe events within our industry. Jeff has been a WIAD DC organizer every year since 2013 and is now the Diversity & Inclusion Co-Director for the inaugural IA Conference, in Orlando, this March. He also worked in support all 3 organizations’ codes of conduct.

Ali Tobolsky is a usability specialist and design strategy consultant with a diverse history serving commercial and federal clients. She supports a variety of internal and client-facing Booz Allen virtual reality applications, offering experience mapping and usability evaluation. She is immediate Past President of the User Experience Professionals Association - DC Chapter (UXPA DC) and co-organizer of VRUXDC Meetup.

Glennette Clark is a designer, educator and entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, she founded UXCamp DC in 2010 and has since expanded to New York and Pittsburgh. Glennette is an unwavering advocate for increasing the number of women and underrepresented minorities in the tech community. She is a graduate of Howard University with a BA in Journalism and Philadelphia University with an MBA in Strategic Design. Glennette is a design and tech educator. She is an Adjunct Professor in the Maryland Institute College of Art Design Leadership, Open Studies, and Masters in UX Design programs.

Daniel Newman is the Director of Product Design at NPR. In this role, he leads an experienced team of product designers to create digital news and storytelling experiences that define the future of public radio. He also co-chaired the 2016 Information Architecture Summit in Atlanta. Prior to joining NPR, Dan managed the Web & Mobile User Experience team at Wolfram ( He holds degrees in sociology and advertising from the University of Illinois.

Asha Singh is a Digital Project Manager at Publicis Sapient with a knack for building diverse teams and a history of serving federal and nonprofit clients. She spends her spare time organizing professional development and knowledge sharing opportunities for DC area communities. Asha currently serves as the Treasurer of the UXPA DC board, served as a WIAD DC organizer since 2016, and holds two degrees that she occasionally uses.

03:30 PM - 04:30 PM

Stacy Surla: Being an Ethical IA

Stacy provides the keynote, focusing on Being an ethical IA, and workshopping through a few examples showcasing its merits. 

Session Video:

Stacy Surla helps people design products and services that work across interfaces, enterprises, and ecosystems. As an information architect and UX strategist she's establishing a human-centered and design-thinking way of working with the goal of helping people and programs solve big problems, especially in the areas of expression, engagement, invention, and knowledge.

Stacy's career spans more than 30 years, with a concentration on human-centered transformation in not-for-profit and government settings. Ms. Surla is Vice President of MetaMetrics Inc., serves as adjunct professor at Kent State University's graduate IA/KM program, and was a twice-elected officer of the Information Architecture Institute.

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