Climate change, biodiversity loss, micro-plastics, overconsumption…… everywhere we turn, the news about the environment seems bleak. As professionals working mainly in the digital sphere, it’s sometimes hard to imagine how we can make a difference in the physical world. And yet, there is much to be hopeful about, and there is work for all of us to do to in changing our future for the better. As IAs, we can apply our unique set of skills and insights to identifying the information problems that make an impact on these issues, communicate them clearly, and unblock paths forward.
The Sustainability Forum at IAC24 aims to focus the lens of information architecture on the problems of sustainability and climate change through talks, group discussions, and interactive activities. We will collectively model the problem space and hypothesize how IA thinking and practice can contribute to solutions.
We’ll get all attendees on the same page with an overview of the sustainability field, and then look at some real-world projects at the intersection of UX, IA, data science, and sustainability. We will give attendees to opportunity to brainstorm about how they would take action on these projects.
Our discussions will be informed by practitioners working at the intersection of sustainability and user experience. By examining case studies, user research, and real-world challenges, we will explore together how we can apply systems thinking, service design, modeling, information organization, and other strengths of IA and UX practice to the environmental challenges that affect us all.
Alex Tran is an independent UX consultant and advisor to climate-focused startups. As a former Principal Product Designer at Shelf Engine, Alex helped grocery stores reduce food waste through AI-enabled ordering and demand forecasting. Alex engages the UX community through frequent mentorship and speaking, including at SF Design Week, Midwest UX, Out in Tech, and more. Outside of tech, you’ll find Alex urban farming, learning construction skills, and raising his 3 dogs with his partner.
Stuart Maxwell is a product manager and information architect working on ontology, navigation, and metadata system design. In recent years, he has turned his attention to environmental issues, earning a certificate in sustainability from UCLA Extension, and studying and creating information-focused climate solutions as a Climatebase Fellow.