IAC21 offers a curated selection of workshops for professionals of all levels. Whether you are new to the field or an experience professional we’ve partnered with experts to deliver content that can help you level up your career.
For IAC21 workshops will be offered as either single virtual sessions or workshops which span several sessions over the course of the week. For a complete list of workshops refer to the schedule below.
Student discounts are offered for eligible participants.
Single Session Workshops
This immersive workshop provides practical tactics for designing, building and maintaining taxonomies and ontologies. Based on hard-won lessons learned from work with everything from large fortune-50 enterprises to small ecommerce sites.
The workshop provides:
- Taxonomy/Ontology basics: a foundation to start creating a consistent vocabulary within your organization. We also call out the unique needs of building a taxonomy to serve the needs of large enterprises.
- A framework for shifting to an enterprise taxonomy model that meets the needs of your enterprise and the individual business units, systems, user profiles, and interfaces.
- Discussion of the impacts of a taxonomy project on technology, governance, workflows, marketing, analytics, search, compliance, and the interaction with master data management
- Practical tips for providing stakeholders with resources to navigate internal tensions around implementation
- Examples and case studies of large scale enterprise taxonomy projects.
Now more than ever, we are seeing how the systems underlying society affect the people living within them. As designers, we have an opportunity to impact positive change. Learn to see the big picture and tackle big, messy problems by cultivating a systems thinking lens into your UX and IA practices. What is systems thinking? Why is it important? Engage in practical hands-on activities that you can bring back to your projects and learn how to create change through design by uncovering relevant relationships beyond what is on the surface.
Hear from and share with colleagues barriers, opportunities, and ideas for activating change.
When we design our IA and other key design elements guided by a Usage Maturity Matrix we ease users into, and draw users deeper into, our design ecosystem. We intentionally emerge richer information, features and functions as our users are ready to experience them. In this workshop, participants will learn what a Usage Maturity Matrix is, will then breakout into an exploratory exercise using a UMM on their own digital spaces (or samples provided.)
No one’s story will begin, or end, with your product. In order to create useful, impactful and delightful designs, we need to consider the entire end to end user journey, from recognizing a need to meeting a goal, and determine how (or if) your product fits into the customer’s experience. Join Associate UX Director Chelsea Watson to explore how the established design thinking processes of creating user journeys, story maps and customer personas can come together in a narrative approach to IA and content strategy through storytelling. Together we’ll create proto-personas to help establish empathy for users, and craft a story of our persona’s end to end journey, ultimately allowing us to translate key narrative moments into content, IA and design requirements. Chelsea’s ran collaborative workshops using this process on a number of projects including a digital vision for Metrolinx (Ontario’s regional transit provider), a cross-platform client management tool for Royal Bank of Canada, and for other projects for clients including Freedom Mobile and Walmart.
As a digital designer, you must think beyond the user interface to the underlying structures that give your systems coherence. These structures should serve the needs of your users, your organization, and society. To do so, you must understand your organization’s strategic directions. This fast-paced workshop introduces strategic thinking for designers.
More of our lives are happening online every day. We interact and transact through digital systems on a growing variety of devices. More understandable and coherent systems = better experiences. As a result, information architecture (IA) is more important than ever.
In this fast-paced workshop, you will learn the basic concepts and practices that lead to the creation and management of effective information architectures.
Are you interested in learning more about ontologies but don’t know where to begin?
Our “Introduction to Ontology Concepts and Modeling” workshop comprises a three-hour introduction aimed at IAs who are interested in ontologies and would like to learn the basics, including:
- Complex knowledge organization schemes and concept structures
- Basics of ontological relationships
- Information on existing ontologies for re-use
- The difference between upper and lower ontologies
- Basic ontology concepts like RDF and semantic triples
- Software systems and components
- Ontology modeling exercises
IA experience is wonderful preparation for product management, but the role of a product manager involves mastering additional skills related to software development, engineering, technical architecture, finding product-market fit, going to market, funnel optimization, revenue modeling, experimenting with hypotheses, managing products through lifecycles, sunsetting features, saying no to stakeholders, getting teams into alignment, and more.
In this workshop, Christian will explain how IA skills provide a great foundation for product management work, and then provide the basics and pointers for how to develop the complementary skills (such as those mentioned above) to qualify for product leadership roles.
When people want to locate and discover information, they can simply type keywords into a search engine (not only Google) and select items from the first page of search results, right? This is the current mental model of how search/retrieval works for most users of all ages.
Sense-making is a searcher behavior that information architects, user experience (UX) and usability pros should not ignore. Search listings not only should make sense to individuals, they should also make sense to groups of people.
This workshop will answer the following questions:
- Which parts of a search listing must make sense to people before they will click (or tap) on a link?
- Where does sense-making occur during different parts of a search task?
- What do common search systems use for display in search listings?
- Does the type of search query affect the type of information that must make sense in search listings? (Short answer: yes!)
- Do document owners have complete or limited control over how search listings appear?
- How can we architect search listings so that they make sense for multiple target audiences?
Downloadable materials included. Workshop also includes a Sense-Making & Search Clinic to address your most pressing architecture questions.
Multiple Session Workshops
Taxonomies have evolved from classification systems to adaptable interactive tools to link users to desired content on websites, intranets, and web applications. Taxonomies are not the same as a website’s navigation and can do a lot more. Taxonomies can provide guiding categories of topics, suggested search terms, aspects for faceted search, or topics for sorting and filtering results. To be truly helpful, however, taxonomies need to be well designed to suit the users and use cases, be customized to the content, and conform to taxonomy best practices and standards so that they are easy and intuitive to use.
This workshop teaches taxonomy creation principles and addresses the issues of designing a taxonomy to serve users. It presents best practices in designing taxonomies, including the principles of wording of terms, incorporating synonyms, creating relationships between terms, and designing hierarchies and facets. Other topics include taxonomy project planning, sources for terms, and taxonomy testing. The workshop will also include practical exercises and access to taxonomy management software.
As IAs we’re fond of taking the “human-centered” approach, which involves bringing in the human perspective to all steps of the problem-solving process. Whether we are talking to customers or co-creating solutions with users, this frame of mind allows us to bring forth products and services that serve human needs and goals.
The thing is, the understanding two humans can reach in a matter of minutes is tough to replicate in digital products. No matter what any AI expert says, no commercial technology that exists today can substitute having a conversation with another human. And, no matter how human-centered we get, we’re still designing for bits and pixels. Digital products are still digital.
However, we IAs aim to design these digital places to meet human needs, goals, and motivations. The question we often ask ourselves is, can we make the digital worlds we design more human spaces?
The answer we’ve come up with is that we need to design experiences where the digital spaces shapeshift to approximate an in-person conversation to the best of their abilities (and without a chatbot) given the limitations of the medium. We need to think about navigation differently. Most importantly, we need to design for customer intentions.
In this session, Lis & Diana will cover why designing for customer intentions throughout your digital ecosystem empowers your team to build a bridge between what customers need and what your business provides. We’ll then dive into the details of how to use the method.
You’ll leave with an expanded perspective and a new tool for your IA toolbox.
Come ready to dive in!
A well-designed workshop is an excellent, people-centered way to get work done. Whether it’s a participatory session that replaces a standard meeting, or a full-blown, multi-day experience, workshops get teams and clients to explore options, analyze alternatives, and come to consensus.
But successful workshops don’t happen by accident. They’re time- and resource-intensive to plan and deliver, and require particular skills and knowledge. UX practitioners are uniquely positioned to develop and facilitate excellent workshop experiences. However, workshop approaches and how-tos aren’t often taught in school or on the job. Furthermore, in today’s still-telescoping timeline for necessary social distancing, the ability to facilitate work getting done through collaborative online sessions is more important than ever.
The Art and Science of Workshop Design gives participants a flexible framework for building and facilitating workshops. Starting with the foundations of workshop design and delivery, participants will learn how to leverage design thinking methods to create collaborative sessions that are fun and effective. They will explore design activities, tools, and techniques, and develop their unique facilitator’s stance. Participants will have the hands-on opportunity to create and practice leading an exercise, and will leave with a customized Action Plan to take the next step – which may be leading a working session on the job or delivering a workshop at a future conference.
The workshop is itself structured as a template that models and demonstrates workshop design. The presenters will peel back the layers of each component to show how it has been built, how it contributes to workshop goals, and how it can be adapted to different types of meetings and groups. This layering also enables the workshop to offer value to participants at all levels of experience: the foundations and main components of workshop design will be made clear for beginners, and each topic and activity can be engaged at either higher or deeper levels.
Participants will receive a workbook that they will use throughout the day and which will be a valuable resource as they plan and carry out their own workshop sessions. Workshop boxes will be sent to advance registrants, while downloadable materials (followed up by shipped workshop boxes) will be provided for last-minute participants.
Topic highlights include:
- The narrative arc of a workshop
- Establishing the participation contract
- Deep dive into roles and skills (vision, logistics, activity design, facilitation)
- Adapting and creating workshop exercises
- Managing participation (opening and closing the “fourth wall,” engaging all voices, handling challenging personas)
- Well-Being in the workshop (healthy snacks, physical movement, centering)
- Creating an action plan for your own next workshop
“The Value of IA”
Information architecture has evolved to think broadly about designing information ecosystems. IAs play a vast and pervasive role in daily life, social structure, and the organization of economic and political power. And yet we still need, and struggle to be able to explain what information architecture is and what its value is.
If IA academics and practitioners aim to demonstrate the value of their work and improve the wellbeing of human beings surrounded by and immersed in information systems, there are critical questions they must answer:
- What is the value of IA in society, present and future? Specifically, what is the value of IA as a discipline?
- What narratives do we share in our IA communities about our origins, purpose, and value? What are the limitations of those narratives?
- How can we redirect conversations about economic value or “return on investment” (ROI) toward a broader, more meaningful range of human values?
- What concepts or vocabulary can we use in order to explain the value of information architecture to our colleagues, clients, and communities?
This workshop sets out to address these questions and to clarify the ‘Value of IA’. The two day Roundtable is open to anyone with an interest in IA and continues the Roundtable’s tradition of gathering practitioners, researchers, and educators from around the world to discuss critical aspects of our discipline and share what is discussed with the broader IA community.
Day 1 consists of framing presentations, a series of lightning talks, group activities and discussion. Day 2 consists of group make-a-thons aimed at developing artifacts capturing or summarizing the outputs of Day 1, and concludes with group presentations of their outputs.
To learn more about the Information Architecture Roundtable and the themes for the previous eight roundtables, visit https://www.iaroundtable.org/.
How do we design for divergence when our tools value convergence? How can we design for complexity and emergence when our workshops simplify and normalise? Unlearning Design Thinking is a workshop to identify what is wrong and to experiment with new ways of working together. With three themes, Direction, Divergence and Dissent, spend time with other people understanding how many alternative methods exist and learning which ones are relevant to your contexts and your personal skill set. With two workshops and three encounters, plus podcast-style learning packages, you will discover how to work with tools that invert established design thinking ideals to help you and your colleagues work creatively with emergent design.
Come along and unlearn some ideas to enable new ideas of supporting creative thinking, divergence and dissent.