For months I have been trying to write a post about Detroit. Why Detroit? One, because it has been in the news so much. Two because, as an IA, I think the downfall of Detroit is quite obvious. The city is a manufactured city, instead of a natural place of settlement. It was put together to help fuel the auto plants, and now is faltering in a huge way. But, this isn’t surprising to me. It reminds me of all of the new ideas that startups and even large businesses have that just seem so meaningless. Why are they meaningless? Because they have zero to do with natural human behavior.
Scott Berkun wrote this piece about Google Glass, and I couldn’t agree more. I think we get distracted a great deal, by the coolest and newest technology. Sometimes this is important, but many times it takes us away from our roots. These are, understanding and designing for, and to enhance human behavior. We want to make our users lives better, but in a sustainable way, not in a way that will fall apart.
So the next time you see something new and shiny, I’d like you to ask yourself is this meaningful? And if so how will it help people in real life (not just how it could help people, one day, maybe, with a whole bunch of changes). We IAs are no different than city architects. We have a responsibility to our users and our businesses to not throw together ideas without an idea of how they can sustain, but to vet them, to make them better and to make them help people live better lives.
Last week marked my first ever IA Summit (for more details leading up to the event check out My First Time). I would be lying if I told you that I wasn’t the happiest IA on the planet once I realized I was able to attend. The event was little short of amazing, and I can’t wait to attend next year’s Summit in Baltimore.
Not only did I get the chance to attend, but I was also granted the opportunity to speak. The topic I chose pointed out the importance of bringing the business along with us in our IA work. I mentioned that to do that we needed to Learn the Business Behind the IA Business. If you missed it, I have provided the slides here. Also, if you are local to NYC and missed the Summit, be sure to check out the NYC IxDA Redux where I’ll be presenting this talk for a second time. Lastly, if you made the talk and have feedback or thoughts please contact me as I’d love to hear them and incorporate them into upcoming presentations. Thanks!
This March will mark my very first time… attending the highly-regarded IA Summit! I couldn’t be more excited to finally attend the event. I literally have a feeling of joy and “going home” welling up in me. Like many of you, when I first started in this profession the term User Experience was not yet rolling off the tongue of anyone that looked to build a website. Back in those days, we were all Information Architects, and the IA Summit was our only chance to meet and exchange ideas about the new field we were a part of. I have heard tales of how amazing the Summit is, but, sadly, I have never gotten to attend, and thus part of me has always been missing.
Finally, the time has come, and I wait no more! I am coming home to my IA roots and I can’t wait to get back to them. To me attending the IA Summit is so much more than just going to another conference. It means:
- closing the circle of my life as an Information Architect, and me to finally feeling whole.
- that IA is still very much alive and well, and that I am a part of that community and can still explore the industry.
- that there is still a large group of us out there dedicated to this side of the “UX Umbrella”; a side that introduced us to thinking user first.
- that I didn’t completely F up when I started working in a profession that no one else had heard of before.
- that our passion for our users and profession has not diminished, nor has our passion to explore it further.
The best part is, I’m actually getting to speak at the event as well! (Be sure to check out UX is All About the Benjamins… Well, Partly the blog post that inspired my talk) I look forward to sharing my thoughts and hearing your feedback on them. If you plan on being at the Summit too reach out and let me know. I’d love to meet up and chat!