October 2008 Newsletter

IAI Newsletter #3.10 October 2008

In our biggest issue ever, the Information Architecture Institute (IAI) Newsletter features news about IAI and our partner's sites: Asis&t Bulletin, Boxes and Arrows, and the Web Indexing SIG. We have also added a list of conferences, workshops with great discounts for members and job postings at the end, so scroll down!

In this issue:

* IAI News
* What's New with Our Partners?
* Upcoming Conferences and Workshops
* Online Courses
* IDEA Update
* Job Postings


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

Hi, fellow IAs Ð

First of all, a hearty thanks to the new Board of the IAI for letting me write you one last time in an official capacity. Having served on the Board of Directors for four years (and president for the past two), I've been asked to highlight some of the dramatic changes the Institute has undergone since 2004.

Let me start by saying that had I not been elected to the Board in August 2004, I probably wouldn't have renewed my membership. My perception was that the Institute was an elitist club. And apparently I was elected because others saw things the same way Ð I was seen as a change agent.

Although a perception is always "true" in the eyes of the beholder, my perception back in 2004 was certainly ill-informed; our founders had set out along a difficult path Ð clearly more difficult than they had first thought. And organizational transparency, then as now, was a hot topic in the community.

Back in 2004, we had around 500 members Ð but no one was quite sure. At best, we hoped people were paying their dues. We didn't answer a lot of our e-mail because we didn't always get the mail to begin with. One thing we did know, our churn rate was dismal. In order to address these growing problems, the 2004-5 Board decided to meet weekly rather than just twice a month. We have done so ever since, which comes to just under 200 Board sessions during my tenure.

So, what have we accomplished? Plenty!

Numerous initiatives that were wishful thinking back in 2004 are now a reality. And many of our original initiatives have become full-fledged member benefits, including our job board, annual salary survey, and mentoring program. We've also helped put IA on the corporate radar. This past January, Fortune magazine published a special advertising section featuring information architecture and the Institute. Our website is better focused. A book project is in the works, too.

To help improve transparency, we now have a monthly newsletter Ð each prefaced by a letter like this from a Board member. Our Annual Report has grown to 21 pages of management discussion and financials. The past three years, we've also held live annual meetings in conjunction with the IA Summit.

Our conference, IDEA, the brainchild of past-president Peter Merholz, is now going into its third successful year. We've also awarded six progress grants to worthy research projects. We are about to announce our very own peer-reviewed journal (ETA for the first issue: March 2009). And today's members now enjoy over 45 free or discounted events each year Ð plus virtual events in Second Life.

Today, we have three paid staff members. We have over 120 active volunteers registered on Basecamp. Over 600 volunteer hours are donated to the Institute each and every week. And we answer our mail. Churn is down; we have around 2000 members in over 80 countries. That's because the IA Institute now provides more bang-for-the-buck than any other organization in the interactive arena.

Of course, our membership continues to grouse about the Institute's leadership. Thank goodness Ð perhaps this will inspire even more people to get involved. In the meantime, I'm proud of the results we've achieved these past four years. I'm honored to have served with so many talented individuals. And I'm looking forward to holding a vacation without searching for a landline each Wednesday for the weekly conference call.

Warmest regards,

Eric Reiss
IAI Board of Directors 2004-2008

And finally, The IDEA Conference is right around the corner! We have an outstanding roster of speakers lined up this year, check out the program if you haven't already:


Jorge Arango
IAI Event Director


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

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

The annual IA Special Issue of the ASIS&T Bulletin offers articles from some of the best presentations from this year's IA Summit. Tingting Jiang's and Sherry Koshman's "Exploratory Search in Different Information Architectures" treats exploratory search and better user experience. Gene Smith's "Tagging: Emerging Trends" describes how top-down hierarchies and bottom-up user-contributed classification are now being used together. Luke Wroblewski's "The Information Architecture Behind Good Web Forms" outlines a straightforward, effective approach for forms that actually work, Nathan Curtis' "Audiences & Artifacts" considers design documentation from a business point of view, and Leah Buley's "How to be a User Experience Team of One" is a practical blend of philosophy and applicability.



Boxes and Arrows - http://www.boxesandarrows.com
The definitive source for the complex task of bringing architecture and design to the digital landscape.

Quick Turnaround Usability Testing
by Paul Nuschke

Completing usability testing in a short amount of time is a challenge that consultancies and development teams often face. In the first part of a two-part series, Paul Nuschke describes how to cut time out of the preparation leading up to a study. Part two will discuss how to run the study and analyze the findings.


Getting a Form's Structure Right: Designing Usable Online Email Applications by afshan kirmani

Online forms can be challenging as even in their utility and necessity, we generally need to lure users to complete them. Afshan Kirmani takes the example of an online email application form and explains some fundamental principles that can help us design effective forms.



Web Indexing SIG: http://www.web-indexing.org
The Web Indexing SIG (Special Interest Group) promotes the human indexing of Web sites and HTML documents.

There is a new addition to the The Web Indexing SIG's list of articles at http://web-indexing.org/articles.htm. The June issue (vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 71-78) of /The Indexer/ (www.theindexer.org published by the Society of Indexers, UK) contains and article by Ilana Kingsley entitled "The Usability of Academic Library Website Indexes: An Investigation." For a reprint of the full text, contact either the author or the journal's editor, Maureen MacGlashan at editor AT theindexer DOT org


UPCOMING EVENTS - http://iainstitute.org/calendar/

Events on the IAI Calendar website offer discounts to members. We are always looking for new partners and events we can share with our membership and newsletter subscribers. If you would like to promote your event, please contact events AT iainstitute DOT org.

The Calendar is bursting with events, check out the full listings online!

Registration is open! Pre-conference program available! Speakers announced! The third annual IDEA Conference, the IA Institute's own take on design for an always-on, always-connected world, is coming to Chicago this fall.

IDEA Conference
October 7-8, 2008
Pre-conference October 6, 2008
Chicago, USA

Registration: http://ideaconference.org/register.html
Speakers & Program: http://ideaconference.org/program.html
Sponsors: http://ideaconference.org/sponsors.html


Site Search Analytics for a Better User Experience
Lou Rosenfeld Workshop
October 16, 2008
Steve Krug's "Discount Usability Testing" workshop
October 17, 2008
Chicago, IL, USA

November 11, 2008 & November 12, 2008
Washington, DC, USA

In this day-long workshop, Lou RosenfeldÑco-author of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web and the forthcoming Search Analytics for your Site: Conversations with your customersÑwill combine lecture, discussion, and extensive hands-on exercises to cover the basics of site search analytics. He'll show you how spending even an hour a week analyzing your search queries can help tune and improve your site's content, navigation, metadata, and search performance, and expose new opportunities for improving your business strategy.

Attend Steve Krug's workshop the following day and receive additional discount.

IAI members can use code "IAI2008" to receive a 15% discount for Steve and Lou's workshops (if registering on Lou's site, please use the fax option only).


Documentation and Training East
October 29-November 1, 2008
Burlington, MA

Held in the high tech sector in Burlington, Massachusetts, the theme of the 10th Annual Documentation & Training East Conference is Producing Quality Content. The event includes a special focus on both software documentation project best practices and translation and localization issues. Companies that practice what they preach will be showcased. Paid registration also includes access to 2 days of hands-on software training workshops, choose from Adobe Technical Communication Suite, MadCap Software, Author-it, and XMetaL at no additional cost!

Contact Melissa at membership AT iainstitute DOT org to receive the code for your $200 off the registration price ($799 for IAI members!).

Web Directions East
November 17, 2008
Tokyo, Japan

This year's Web Directions East comes to Tokyo, Japan and features a 1 day conference and 2 days of workshops. Through the both conference we well cover, web design, CSS, javascript, UX, User Testing, Information Architecture and web marketing.


Intelligent Leadership Training for Information Architecture
December 08, 2008

Cambridge, MA www.scitechleadership.com The Science and Technology Leadership Institute Presents Intelligent Leadership Training For Information Architecture The most important strategies...



Smart Experience - New York, USA Courses

Smart Experience is offering IA Institute members 10% off these fall workshops contact membership AT iainstitute DOT org for the discount code or login into the IAI Member Center and go to Member Discounts Section for your link.

Designing Competitive and Innovative Business Models
October 10, 10:30 am - 6:30 pm
New York, NY, USA

Interaction Design For Rich Internet Applications (RIAs)
October 16, 9am - 5pm
New York, NY, USA

Sketching For Interaction Design
October 17, 9am - 5pm
New York, NY, USA

Web Navigation Design - James Kalbach Workshop
November 25, 9am - 5pm
New York, NY, USA


Web Forums - Sydney Australia Courses

Intranets 2.0
October 29, 2008
Sydney, Australia

With case studies and practical tips from Australia's leading organizations (including Sunguard NZ, Sparke Helmore, TabCorp, AMP and more!), this one-day conference will demonstrate how organizations are weaving social media tools into their existing intranet framework to enhance functionality and create two-way communication.


Taxonomies 2.0
October 30, 2008
Sydney, Australia

During the course of this intensive one day event, an expert line-up of speakers (including University of Melbourne, Sensis, Blake Dawson Waldon, Department of Water WA and more!) will talk you through the steps you need to take in order to exploit the benefits of social media when related to your organizational taxonomies. Taxonomies are a fundamental part of your information architecture for the management and organization of content. With the introduction of 2.0 tools and applications, their importance has never been so prevalent.


Mental Models: Indi Young Workshop
November 19, 2008

During this two-day intensive master class, Indi will give you a deep understanding of people's motivations and thought-processes, along with the emotional and philosophical landscape in which they are operating. You use mental models to align your design strategy with how people work. This intensive two-day course will help product designers, web designers and business strategists develop digital, physical, and environmental interactions that help people accomplish their goals.



Web-Indexing SIG related courses. No member discount is available but
these courses are incredible deals!

"Taxonomies & Controlled Vocabularies" Full-Day Workshop
Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science
Continuing Eduction
Saturday, October 24, 9:00 - 5:00
Simmons College Campus, One Palace Road Bldg., Boston, Massachusetts
Cost: $220 (Simmons GSLIS Alumni $175)

Information at:
Registration information at:
Additional details on the instructor's web site:


Creating Web Site Indexes online workshop
October 1-31, 2008
Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science
Continuing Education Program

Price $250. Open to the public.

Information at:
Registration information at:
Additional details on the instructor's web site:


IDEA Update

IDEA and the IA Institute would like to thank all of our sponsors. For the first year, IDEA sponsors can participate in the conference sponsoring speakers, holding receptions, and hosting booths in our exhibit hall. Visit our sponsors websites for information on products, consulting, and job openings!

Platinum Sponsors

Agency.com is our exclusive Platinum sponsor for the IDEA Pre-conference on October 6. Thank you Agency.com for helping to present this excellent workshop.

Aquent is the world's leading traditional and web marketing and design staffing agency, with 68 offices in 16 countries. We match professionals with freelance, contract, try-before-you-hire, and full-time job opportunities at top organizations.

Boxes and Arrows is an online journal dedicated to understanding the design of the architecture and structure of digital spaces, and often features articles on the craft of information architecture.

Comcast Interactive - IAI is proud to welcome Comcast Interactive as the first platinum sponsor of the 2008 IDEA Conference.

Draftfcb - Launched in 2006, Draftfcb is a modern agency model for clients seeking creative, accountable marketing programs that build business and deliver a high Return on IdeasTM. With more than 130 years of combined expertise, the company has its roots in both consumer advertising and behavioral, data-driven direct marketing. The agency is the first global, behavior-based, fully inclusive, highly creative and accountable marketing communications organization to operate against a single P&L. The Draftfcb network spans 97 countries, with more than 9,600 employees worldwide, and is part of the Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE: IPG). The agency's global corporate leadership team includes Howard Draft, chairman and CEO; Laurence Boschetto, president and COO; Jonathan Harries, worldwide chief creative officer; and Neil Miller, CFO. For more information, visit:

Manifest Digital is a uniquely integrated next-generation agency. Founded in the principles of customer-centered design, we have evolved our heritage to incorporate the right mix of once disparate skills: business strategy, brand, marketing, interactive, usability, and technology. We communicate with each other and our clients in a build-to-think process that employs user-centered methods in new ways. The result is innovative--from evolutionary to revolutionary--depending our client's market needs. Build a better website, create vibrant online communities, or tightly integrate multi-channel marketing. Use our custom marketing platform or your own technical foundations. Regardless of your specific need, Manifest Digital will close the distance between you and your customer.

Roundarch is a leading provider of user-centric Web design and technology services specializing in the synergy between user experience and application development to solve complex issues for large organizations. Clients include Fortune 500 companies and government agencies such as Motorola, The Hershey Company, Avis, A&E Networks and the United States Air Force. Founded in 2000, Roundarch has offices in New York, Chicago and Boston. For more information please visit:

Yelp brings you "Real People. Real Reviews." IAI is proud to welcome Yelp as a Platinum sponsor of the IDEA Conference. Visit their booth at the IDEA Conference for Chicago Yelp Information and more.

Gold Sponsors

Bloomberg is the leading global provider of financial data, news and analytics. The BLOOMBERG PROFESSIONAL service media services provide real-time and archived financial and market data, pricing, trading, news and communications tools in a integrated package to corporations, news organizations, financial and legal professionals and individuals around the world.

FatDux is a Gold sponsor of the IDEA Conference. Offering three student scholarships to the IDEA Conference, IAI is truly grateful to FatDUX and the excellent opportunity they have provided to students.

The IxDA is a member-supported organization committed to serving the needs of the international interaction design community. With the help of more than 1,500 members worldwide, we provide a forum for the discussion of interaction design issues.

Mad*Pow is an experience design studio that partners with industry leaders to create intuitive websites, internal systems, applications and interactive media. Our user-centered and business-aligned methodology merges the science of human factors with the art of digital design to create unique and easy to use experiences. Visit us at the IDEA Conference and at www.madpow.net.

Sapient Interactive - What does it mean to be the largest independent interactive agency in the world? Besides everything you'd expect, award-winning creative, genius marketing, and technology prowess, it means people come to Sapient because they share an all-embracing desire to do things differently. To never feel like it's an assembly line. To do groundbreaking work on a daily basis. That's why Sapient Interactive is powered by some of the most original, ambitious interactive professionals you're likely to meet. It's an ideal environment for the entrepreneurially minded. Sound like you? Then we should probably talk.

TandemSeven designs, architects and builds user interfaces for world-class business applications and portals. We specialize in creating usable, intuitive interfaces for complex global applications. Headquartered in the greater Boston area, TandemSeven has designed and developed usable applications for numerous global companies, including 1-800-FLOWERS, Campbell Soup Company, Citi, FXall, Hasbro, LeapFrog Enterprises, Morgan Stanley, Orbitz Worldwide and Siemens Corporation. Visit us at www.tandemseven.com.

Silver Sponsors

Rosenfeld Media publishes short, practical, and useful books on user experience design. Our books explain the design and research methods that web professionals need to make informed design decisions. Visit them at rosenfeldmedia.com.

Interactions visit them at the IDEA Conference or online at

Peachpit Press Ð Thank you Peachpit Press! Visit their website at


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 just a sample of recent postings:

Interaction / Product Designer
Big Fish, Seattle, WA USA

Senior Information Architect
Magnani Caruso Dutton, New York City, NY USA

Information Architect/Usability Engineer
Reliant Energy, Houston, TX USA

User Interface Designer
Aquent, Hertfordshire, London GBR

Job board newsletter archives are available at:


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

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