UX Intensive Day 4 – Information Architecture

Today was the fourth and final day of the UX Intensive conference here in Vancouver, and the day that nominally was the most appropriate for me, being that it was about Information Architecture. It was supposed to be hosted by Chiara Fox, but she was forced to pull out due to illness, so Adaptive Path co-founder Peter Merholz stepped in to take over. And he did a pretty good job considering it wasn’t his material to begin with. However, strangely enough I think that this was the session that I got the least out of overall. Part of it was that they didn’t cover some of the bread-and-butter items in IA, namely wireframes, site maps and the like, figuring that we all knew those fairly well. And part of it was that outside of that, I realized how little of the traditional IA tenets I do in our industry – since we really don’t tackle content management like many other sites used to. Back when I was at GSI Commerce, this would have been much more apropos, but now we simply don’t do enough of this type of design.

Still, there was a lot of good content, particularly at the beginning of the session. Topics about doing a content inventory, content maps and the like was informative and gave me more than a few things that I’m going to use when I get back to work on Monday. Stuff about creating content objects and attributes have more limited application to the type of sites I’ve been working on, although I figured out a few ways that I might be able to apply it in slightly different ways to our projects. But there was a lot of material to cover in a short span and we moved through a lot of it very quickly. Merholz was a good speaker, but the rapidity of the presentation seemed to leave some of the information in the dust. Because he was filling in, I can’t really blame him, but there were more than a few things I felt like I missed during the afternoon session. Of course, it could have been that I was simply a little brain dead – that seemed to be going around a bit this afternoon.

After the day ended, we had a last happy hour, this one a dessert theme. A chocolate fountain surrounded by fruit and cake greeted us at the doorway, as did tickets for two free drinks. Most people went for top-shelf drinks but I’m a beer man, so I went and had a few more Canadian beers, including a Sleeman’s Honey Lager, which wasn’t bad but not the best of the beers I’ve had during my stay. Then, I finished my night with a good workout and some sushi from a place called Tokyo Joe’s just around the corner from the hotel. I got more than a few funny looks as I walked into the place in a t-shirt and shorts, but I was comfortable although it was only about 45 degrees out.

Tomorrow, Greg and I are going to head out birding around the area – he’s going to take me to Reifel Bird Sanctuary, Iona Park and probably Stanley Park to see what we can find. The forecast isn’t looking particularly beautiful – it’s supposed to be cloudy and possibly rain – but hopefully we’ll get at least enough nice weather so that we can see some cool western birds.


3 Responses to “UX Intensive Day 4 – Information Architecture

  • Hmm, never heard of Sleemans, I must try me some that is when I have a nickle to my name, which is slated some time in 2009

  • It is good getting out and attending these! If anything you get to do some birding later on!

  • Wow man, those sound like some intense sessions. It’s great to learn a lot but sometimes it’s difficult to take something presented in that manner and apply it to your work.

    It also sounds like you had some posh accommodations and fantastic food and beer. I’m going to a two-day security workshop in December but it definitely won’t be like that. Alas!

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