IAI Newsletter #1.12 December 2006

The IAI Newsletter features news about IAI and our partner sites: Boxes and arrows and IAwiki. We've also added a list of conferences, workshops, F2Fs, and job postings at the end, so scroll down!

In this issue:

* IAI News
* IAI News: New Advisory Board, IDEA Conference, Member Services
* Updates on Programs and Initiatives: Website Redesign, Local Groups, Second Life, Mentoring
* Volunteer Spotlight
* What's New with Our Partners?: Boxes & Arrows, IAwiki, Web Indexers
* IA Event News: Chilean Summit
* Upcoming Conferences and Event Listings
* Upcoming Workshops
* Job Postings


IAI NEWS - http://www.iainstitute.org

Hi, fellow IAs –

Last month's newsletter had a new feature - an update from one of our IA Directors. As promised, we're going to do it every newsletter and this month is my turn.

One of the month's highlights was the first discussion with this year's board advisors. Timing was interesting with advisors from the United States, Canada, Panama, Germany, and South Africa. This year we have a smaller group of advisors (10) than in previous years (25) mainly because we have a larger board, but also to ensure the advisors can effectively contribute, something that is trickier with 25 people. As an introduction and kick-off meeting, we discussed where the Institute is up to and initial ideas for things to work on this year. See who's involved here: http://iainstitute.org/pg/people.php#advisors.

We held a new conference, IDEA, at the end of October. By all accounts, it went very well. I couldn't make it but have listened to all the podcasts http://www.ideaconference.org/blog/?p=49. If you missed it as well, have a listen to these.

There were approximately 150 guests attending the sessions, meeting in work groups for lunch, and discussing ideas over dinners. The conference centered on the design of complex information spaces of all kinds: Recognizing that information architecture is important in spaces including, and beyond, the Web. A list of the speakers and topics is available at http://ideaconference.org/program.html.

If you read the IAI members mailing list, you may remember a recent discussion about whether to open up the list or keep it closed. The board had a long discussion about this, based on your comments on the list. At this point, we have decided to keep the list closed - we (and many of you) believe it is a valuable member benefit in its current form and would like to retain it as such.

Also on the membership front, we have been preparing two membership surveys - one for current members about your experiences so far, and one for previous members who haven't renewed. Our Membership Coordinator will send you a link to the survey in December and we hope that everyone will participate.

And the topic everyone is interested in - our website redesign. We are making progress - we have a structure, a draft visual design and are currently searching for a suitable member database. As you all know, these types of projects involve many interlinked pieces and a lot of work to get right. We have a list of great volunteers ready to get stuck into some of the practical work and are sorting out the logistics of that at the moment.

Donna Maurer
IAI Board of Directors
Marketing & Communications




We've all heard the cop out about the cobbler's children having the worst shoes. Most of us have probably made that excuse about our own neglected personal websites as we spend all our time working for clients or doing paying work. But everyone agrees that the website for the IA Institute needs to be exemplary. It should exhibit solid IA fundamentals, a great user experience, and seamless usability.

We all know that the current site falls short of these targets in several respects. There has been a site redesign project underway as long as I've been a member of the Institute. When I joined the board of directors this fall I expressed some interest in the progress of the website relaunch and was rewarded with the role of IT/Web director. I began reviewing the documents associated with the redesign project and was impressed by the depth and thoroughness of the process and deliverables. I suppose that shouldn't have surprised me, given the core capabilities of so many of our members. (The site relaunch, just like the original site, relies entirely on the volunteer efforts of our members.)

So, in the interests of transparency and as a way of sharing with our stakeholders some insight into the redesign process, we're including a link to our IA concept documents for the site redesign in this newsletter (and we plan to continue posting our documentation as the project continues to give our membership some visibility into the progress we're making.)

View the concept map on the IAI website.

Note that these are final deliverables and we are not circulating them to seek amendments or suggestions. The project is well on its way based on these IA documents. We are close to selecting a final design approach and volunteers are busily implementing some of the new technical features and grooming the old site content.

In fact, we are seeking a volunteer to help review and revise the content in the Education section of the site, so if you are interested, please contact Melissa Weaver at volunteer AT iainstitute DOT org to volunteer.

Christian Crumlish,
IAI Board of Directors
Information Technology/Web


The Local Groups program has teamed up with the Translation Initiative to inject new energy into both. Wolf Nšding and his local group are working with IAI Advisors Jason Hobbs and Jorge Arango and Board member Stacy Surla on a strategic vision for local group development, and a process for delegating tasks and providing support. We've also planned a set of Checklists and Tipsheets for local group leaders. The first ones are at http://iainstitute.org/localgroups.


Following the recent IAI board meeting in Second Life (SL), Stacy Surla has been attending SL events and meeting with non-profit and educational organizations using SL as a third channel to teach and reach out. She feels we have a few interesting thoughts to ponder: As IAs, what roles should we be playing in shaping Web 3D environments? What recommendations on integrating these environments should we be making to our clients and within our own organizations? And how can the IAI use SL to further our own goals? We will kick off a Second Life initiative if the membership shows interest in exploring these questions.

In short, it's a great time to volunteer and talk about IAI initiatives. For projects to join, see http://iainstitute.org/pg/volunteer_opportunities.php. To discuss where you think the IA Institute should be going, join the Meta Discussion List at http://lists.iainstitute.org/listinfo.cgi/meta-iainstitute.org.

Speaking of volunteersÉHave you considered becoming a mentor? Are you looking for professional guidance from a fellow IA?


Have you ever felt you needed suggestions or directions on a work-related issue, help exploring educational options, or advice about management concerns? Do you already have the answers? If so, the AI Mentoring Program may be what you are looking for.

The IAI Mentoring Program matches experienced IA practitioners with other IA professionals, new IAs, those transitioning to the field, students, and anyone interested in being mentored. The program is provided as a service to IAI members. Mentors do not need to be members, but protŽgŽs (those who are mentored) do.

Our program is self-selected. ProtŽgŽs choose mentors from a list on our website. Mentor listings contain a statement from our mentors outlining the experiences they wish to share and the types of protŽgŽs they want to help. This means that mentors must be prepared to have IAI members contact them directly, and protŽgŽs must respect the wishes outlined in the mentors' profile. At any time a mentor may choose to hide or remove his or her profile.

While we encourage anyone interested to participate, know that participating in a mentoring relationship is a commitment. Mentors and protŽgŽs work together to establish goals, create an action plan and monitor progress. We offer online tools to help you manage expectations and determine what types of activities are appropriate.

Each mentoring partnership is free to determine its own relationship and the process for managing the mentoring relationship. A sample mentoring agreement outlining the goals and expectations that have been agreed upon for the mentoring partnership is available as well. This form is not a requirement for participation in the mentoring program, but can be a helpful guide in setting goals and boundaries.

Sound interesting?

If you would like to be a mentor:Email operations AT iainstitute DOT org, to be added to the list of available mentors.

If you would like to be a protŽgŽ, you may either:

(a) view the list at http://iainstitute.org/mentoring/mentors.php (members only; login required) and find someone whose interests and experiences match what you are looking for, or

(b) Email operations AT iainstitute DOT org and we will suggest an appropriate mentor based on your interests, experience, and needs.

For more information on how to choose a mentor, suggested activities and what to expect, visit http://www.iainstitute.org/mentoring/.


VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT - http://iainstitute.org/pg/volunteer_opportunities.php

We're seeking volunteer testimonials. If you have a story about volunteering for IAI that you would like to share with our membership (did you get a job lead? did you develop a super portfolio piece? Did your mentoring experience give you insight into your professional development?). Or do you want to praise someone who provides an amazing service at the IA Institute? Let us know at membership AT iainstitute DOT org.


ASIS&T Bulletin, Boxes and Arrows, IAwiki, and Web Indexing SIG

ASIS&T Bulletin - http://www.asis.org/bulletin.html

If you haven't yet read the latest issue, make sure to check out Karen Loasby's column Changing Approaches to Metadata at bbc.co.uk at http://www.asist.org/Bulletin/Oct-06/loasby.html.

Boxes and Arrows - http://www.boxesandarrows.comThe definitive source for the complex task of bringing architecture and design to the digital landscape. Articles from the past month:

Bring Your Personas to Life!
By Zef Fugaz

Method acting can take your personas from the page to the stage. Think beyond traditional practice to give emotional life to your personas. http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/bring_your_pers.

Visio Replacement? You Be the Judge
An Introduction to the Newest Simulation Tools
By Scott McDowell

In the same way that the Internet took us to the next level of interaction, complete with rich visuals, simulations are doing the same for application definition. McDowell explores the ins and outs of new simulation tools. Will one of them work for you?

Read other recent Boxes and Arrows articles:

IAwiki- http://www.IAwiki.net
A collaborative discussion space for IA. Anyone can contribute; no registration required. Interesting topics from the past month:

*New entries have been added to the discussion of card sorting, category accessibility, and rapid prototyping:

*Added to Blogs of Note - http://www.iawiki.net/BlogsOfNote
Find new additions to the list blogs of interest to professional IAs. Three more great resources added in November!

*New and Updated Member Profiles:
Joshua Kaufman updated his bio and Michael Bergman wants to share some great resources he has found at the iawiki on his updated profile.
This could be you - post your updates and let us know what you are up to.

Web Indexing SIG - http://www.web-indexing.org
A Special Interest Group of the American Society of Indexers:

The Web Indexing SIG web site has a new link to a new article just published on web site indexing: Web Indexing: Extending the Functionality of HTML Indexer by Mike Unwalla, published in the October 2006 issue of the The Indexer, the journal of the British Society of Indexes. The link on the Articles page http://www.web-indexing.org/articles.htm points to the full text of the article on Mike Unwalla's Techscribe web site. HTML Indexer is a stand-alone indexing tool that is designed solely for creating web site A-Z indexes.

The Web Indexing SIG welcomes suggestions for links to articles on any aspect of web sites indexes and indexing: including hyperlinked A-Z indexes, metadata keyword indexing of HTML pages, web-based index databases, indexed content management systems. Suggestions may be sent to info AT web-indexing DOT org.


IA EVENT NEWS Ð IA Retreat & Information Technologies Encounter in Chile

This November, two very special IA events took place in Chile. As Peter Morville noted on the iai-members discussion list: "One of my favorite things about the IA Institute is the international nature of the membership." He states that over the past few years, it has been great to meet up with IAs around the world at IAI-sponsored events. "The IA Retreat in Chile was no exception," writes Morville, "the people were warm, smart, interesting, fun, and very knowledgeable about IA and UX."

In this issue, Javier Velasco recounts his experience at the IA Retreat in Chile and the 7th Society and Information Technologies Encounter for IAI members.

New Horizons: IA Retreat in Santa Cruz, Chile

This year's IA Retreat took place quite far from the usual IA circles: we gathered in Santa Cruz, a small town in central Chile. After two hours of bussing from Santiago through Ruta 5, where you can't help notice the mountains and volcanoes of the Andes, we were greeted by a barbecue splashed with Red Wine.

We had a day and a half of superb presentations and great discussion. The Latin American IAs could finally meet The Experts, and The Experts met a crowd of well versed and creative IAs who are working hard to open up the field in their countries. There are larger reports under way; in the meantime, you can find material at:

7th Society and Information Technologies Encounter

University of Chile has been hosting the Society and Information Technologies Encounter since 2000 as a means of creating a space where Government, the private sector and universities can discuss the state of the art in information technologies and how these are being adopted by the country. During its seventh version, the encounter was taken over by the local IA community.

A two-day seminar, dubbed UX and Blogs: In Search of the Lost Customer was a strong eye opener to the local crowd on the relevance of Experience Design for the success of IT projects. Our international guest speakers included Jorge Arango, Mari Carmen Marcos, Peter Merholz, Peter Morville and Gene Smith. Local lecturers included Professor Ricardo Baeza-Yates who currently runs Yahoo! Research labs both in Spain and Chile, presentations from a local Bank, some divisions of the government and people from the local IA group. Most noted by our international guests was the presentation given by Senator Fernando Flores, a man who's done several remarkable things in his life, and is a well known entrepreneur/intellectual.

Special thanks to the IA Institute for sponsorship to support these events.

Javier Velasco,
Event Organizer


UPCOMING CONFERENCES, F2Fs & OTHER EVENTS -- arranged chronologically --IAI member may discounts apply.

IA Summit 2007
Las Vegas, USA
Enriching IA Ð rich information, rich interaction, rich relationships
Pre-conference workshops: March 22-23, 2007
Conference: March 24-26, 2007



Information Architecture & Search
Led by Peter Morville
co-author of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web and Ambient Findability
Thursday, 8 March 2007 - Friday, 9 March 2007, Sydney, Australia

This new two-day class from Peter Morville covers information architecture from top to bottom, explaining how search and navigation systems can be designed to support and shape user behaviour. There is a special pre-Christmas $200 discount offer available to all IAI members up to 15th December and the first five delegates to register will receive a free copy of Peter's books - Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, 3rd Edition and Ambient Findability!

For more information please contact helen DOT lewis AT keyforums DOT com DOT au, call on +61 2 9436 4255 or register online at http://www.keyforums.com.au.


IAI JOB POSTINGS - http://www.iainstitute.org/jobboard/
The IAI Job Board lists job postings related to information architecture, as well as information design, interaction design, user experience, and HCI.

The following are a sample of recent postings:

  1. Director, Usability and Design
    Tribune Interactive, Chicago, IL USA
  2. Interaction Designer
    VeriSign, Inc., Santa Cruz, CA USA
  3. Information Architect
    Sienared Recruitment, London, South East GBR

You must be logged into the IA Institute website to view job descriptions.Job board newsletter archives are available at: http://lists.iainstitute.org/listinfo.cgi/iai-jobs-iainstitute.org.


Comments about this newsletter? Questions? Things you'd like to see included in future issues? iai-newsletter-owner AT lists DOT iainstitute DOT org.

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Thanks for reading and we'll be back with another newsletter in about a month!

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