World Information Architecture Day 2017

This weekend saw Nomensa taking part in World Information Architecture Day - a one-day, global celebration of, you guessed it, information architecture! It takes place in dozens of locations around the globe (58, to be precise), one of which is Bristol.

This was the fifth year Nomensa has organised this event in Bristol and we were joined by many likeminded people in the historic St Georges where we heard talks from a broad range of speakers involved in making sense of digital.


Following the event we invited the Nomensans that attended (and who weren’t directly involved in the organisation of the event) to let us know what they thought about the talks.

Here are their thoughts.

Peter Kennaugh - Senior UX Consultant 

"Whenever I go to a conference, I hope that the talks are a mix of the inspirational, the thoughtful, the slightly weird and the practical.

This year’s WIAD Bristol covered all of these, from Paul Wilson showing us the work being done around the digitisation of cities, to our own Carole Court linking our understanding of standard road signs to digital navigation cues.

My favourite was the first talk by Dan Ramsden & Charlotte Edwards from the BBC. The most practical talk of the day, the point that has stuck with me was that projects don’t always start where you’d expect and that you may have to jump into the middle of ongoing work.

Charlotte demonstrated this with an example of a recent project, demonstrating the strength of the model introduced earlier by Dan by showing what actions needed to be retraced to achieve a stronger outcome.

It was a great example of how taking one step back allows you to make a leap forward!"

Antony George - Senior Web Developer

"At WIAD Bristol we were given an imaginative and thoughtful view of the past, the present and most excitingly the future. Nomensas’ Peter Kay talked about his former life as a nurse and how the technology he was surrounded by then, now informs the way he works as a Social Media Strategist.

Dan Ramsden and Charlotte Edwards showed us how they are currently using Insight to refine and progress the BBC News’s digital services.

Paul Wilson talk helped us look at the forthcoming impact of data on our lives as more and more people move into cities.  He asked the question, which people are best placed to shape how we will use that data? – Information Architects!

Carole Court made me aware of both my digital and immediate environment as I made my way home singing LUI, LUI, thanks to Gordon Plant.  A great day."

Megan Ellis - UX Consultant

"I was excited to see that the themes at World IA Day Bristol went beyond simply the structuring and managing of information, and focused instead on how we interact with the growing landscape of data around us - both in the digital and physical world.

Presenters talked about how Linguistic User Interfaces open up the potential of direct conversation with machines, how social data listening allows us to take the pulse of a community, and how sensor technology will provide us with the material with which to (re)construct our cities in the future.

Since our world will increasingly run on data, I really enjoyed how the talks at WIAD started to raise bigger questions around how the architecture that holds it will shape our society, environment and our interactions with each other."

Harry Oram - Recruitment Manager 

“Information architects are going to play an amazing role in the world in the next 10 years. They’ll manage cities.” 

That was a quote from Paul Wilson and it set the scene that we need to think beyond our standard concept of IA, and what an Information Architect does, because that’s going to change.

With Paul talking about the future of 5G and connected cities, I started thinking about all those disturbing visions in Black Mirror of us all moving in social circles dictated by mobile apps.

But more excitingly, it also opens up a lot of possible new job specialisms.

Much like the archaic job title of Online Marketing Manager appeared and these people then streamlined into SEO Manager and Social Media Managers, it’s exciting to think about the new jobs that will be created by smart cities, and the need to manage our data and our IA effectively."

Principal UX Consultant

"The understanding of what IA is and why it matters, still needs carefully curating by professionals.  

If only the public knew how integral IA was, is, to our collective existence. I can’t help but think that the adoption and deeper use of LUI (Linguistic User Interfaces) will help us all make the connected leap, to make the job of encouraging people to invest in IA for the benefit of the end user, far easier."

It was an information filled day that sparked much discussion across the globe on the #WIAD17 hashtag.

This is a social media monitor that looked at the ebb and flow of the nearly 6000 social media posts on the #WIAD17 hashtag over the course of the day.

The wonderful Kate Evans provided some sketchnotes of the day: 

A framework to describe information architecture

Bristol the smart city

A sketchnote from the Linguistic user interface (LUI) talk

Data in UX design

Sketchnote on wayfinding on and offline

Sketchnote on the possibilities of digital data science in UX

A big thank you to everyone that joined us at World IA Day, if you missed out, do not fear...

We also run Collaborate Bristol - Bristol's biggest and best UX and design conference.

This year's conference is taking place on June 23 at Watershed and tickets are selling fast. Grab your ticket now before it's too late >>>