We were delighted to host the Bristol edition of World IA Day 2021 centred around the theme 'Curiosity' on Saturday. Throughout the day, our panel and speakers asked questions including: How are you curious? What does curiosity mean to you? What does curiosity have to do with information architecture?
The opening session was a panel discussion on the Future of IA moderated by Alberta Soranzo (Design and Transformation Lead at Vodafone Group). Meanwhile, Chris Frost (Head of Consumer Digital at Met Office), Hannah Tempest (Head of Experience Delivery at Nomensa), Geoffroy Martinez (Evangelist LivePerson) and Bushra Saba (Lead Information Architect at Lloyds Banking Group) explored what IA means for them, the impact it has on their roles and how good IA benefits both users and organisations.
The first of our lightening talks was Sony's Bern Irizarry with 'Shapeshifting'. This fascinating presentation referenced Bern's experiences to explore the call for IA to move beyond the realm of business.
Bern urged us to look beyond the context of business and take the skills that information architects, creators and technologists have to delve, explore, grapple with complexity. It's up to us to change the structure, language and environments that go on to alter people's perceptions and impact lives.
Next was 'The Push & Pull of Curiosity' with Nomensa's own Head of Design, Will Wellesley-Davies. Will looked at how people are naturally curious about patterns, known and unknown. He explored how the presentation of information within those patterns influences our experience, actions and imaginations.
What impact can that have on our trust in what follows, and ultimately what we do, think and feel? As digital experiences consume more and more of our lives, designers have a responsibility to look more closely at the role our subconscious and more importantly how it can influence our decision making.
Emily Trotter, Principal UX Designer at Nomensa, followed with 'Expectations and Crossing Thresholds'. Emily asked: When a person crosses a threshold what will they find on the other side, and how will it measure up to their expectations? Will they even notice the transition?
To design for an infinite digital space, we need to consider what makes one region distinguishable from another, what drives us to cross a threshold and how we feel as we make the transition.
Design patterns will change or transform as we move across one environment to another, so is it possible to find patterns in curiosity? And how can we use visual design to influence and support our emotions during the experience?
Our final lightening talk was from Pete Kay - Search and Social Strategist at Nomensa - with Shining a Light in the Dark. Could curiosity be a defining factor of life itself? Pete asked. Without the deeply set desire for all living things to explore, how could have life on earth evolved into the complex ecosystem that we are lucky enough to call home?
With so much around us to investigate, Pete explored how we safely navigate towards pastures new without getting lost on the way. He looked at how this innate curiosity translates from our physical surroundings into the sense we make of the vast digital space.
The event closed with Dan Klyn and Simon Norris in conversation around the curious case of curiosity. Dan brought his beloved Bristolians a sermonette on the taboos about curiosity encoded in folklore, and in the gospel story of the transfiguration, and how those stories might be re-told once we "let the cat out of the bag" and start telling the truth.
He and Simon discussed curiosity and its implication and application within Information Architecture and more broadly its role within design.
Thanks so much to everyone who made WIAD 2021 such a great event.
And if you're interested in joining #TeamNomensa, take a look at our current vacancies.