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The great thing about live blogging a conference is the insane amount of information received, retained and interpreted. That bad thing? You run out of steam. Apologies to the final two sessions that I didn’t record.

In conclusion, I found IDEA 2010 to be a tremendous success bringing together some of the most amazing minds in IA and IxD. Yes, the dialog continues between the roles of each profession, the blurred lines, and the never-ending discussion/argument between job title and job function. Selfishly, as a practicing content strategist, it’s nice to know our profession isn’t the only one still sorting it all out.

Again, congrats to Russ and his hard working team for pulling together such a great conference. Philadelphia, specifically the old town, was a fantastic host. I’m vastly looking forward to where the newly formed comittee decides for a location.



We’re back for day #2 in sunny Philadelphia for IDEA 2010.

Jared Spool and Reed are up on stage playing some sweet ass zippy music that makes it exceptionally easy to type. They will be presenting shortly. Jared just kicked me out of my seat.  Eschewing sobbing for another cup of coffee. Alright, everyone is filing in, this presentation with Jaraed and Reed should kick some ass.

The Best is the Enemy of the Good

  • Always a good way to start of the morning when you mix beat boxing with magic.
  • Dramatic stage presentation by Reed basically performing magic while beat boxing and a the crowd baited on his every move.
  • Parralls between professional magic and IxD
  • We can learn a lot from a profession that basically has over 100 years head start
  • Magic: Creative, Business, Community of Practice (sound familiar?)
  • Path to becoming a master starts with being a beginner. Which of course, sucks.
  • Once you mimic something, you can then, and only then innovate.
  • Sucking, mimicking, innovating. We’ve seen this process before (roaring laughing)
  • Microsoft innovated with Word, but kind of went too far.
  • This is a pattern that keeps repeating
  • (man, how much do designers and content needs LOVE
  • Re: Don’t Make Me Think. “You suck, get over it”
  • Are we (as a profession) becoming masterful.
  • I’m not perfect, but I’m really really good.
  • It’s responsibility to all aspects of a show beyond your given skill.
  • What are the skills that we need to create good design.
  • Jared is not a fan of roles, which he sees as a subset of skills.
  • What are your enterprise skills?
  • What are your soft skills?
  • The T shaped man, doesn’t work. You have the broken comb, you are getting better at different skills.
  • The Renaissance person would kick some serious.
  • Practice is only for you. It’s like muscle memory for your brain. Practic shouldn’t be work and you don’t have to pay attention all the time.
  • Process workshops is practice.
  • Renaissance people are needed to build your team.
  • People are willing to invest in design, but are we skilled enough, have we practiced enough.
  • Brains work vs hands work. Brains work should be billed 3 times as much as hands work.
  • If you come in as hands, you may not have get as many of your ideas pushed through.

OK, Next up Cindy Chastain and her talk The Importance of Storytelling in the Age of Digital Ecosystems

  • We have to think as storytellers to solve design problems.
  • You have to start with offering a service.
  • You have to start with a good story to have a consistance service ecosystem.
  • Damn. Nook is a really good name for that.
  • Baseball’s popularity is largely due to data. The story about baseball is built around the ecosystem of data.
  • Way to dig more deeply into the game.
  • McSweeney example – massively different kinds of content all bound together by the same story.
  • single product/service and multiple product/services
  • story(thinking) a narrative of connecting people to the ecosystem.
  • storylines leads to subplots.
  • Then you map the subplots to the ecosystem
  • The more Cindy speaks, the more I realize I have so much more to learn.
  • Once you map, then you need to create stories for design.
  • Stories helps build a collection around a common theme. Keeps the customer focused.
  • Lunch time!

stay tuned….

And we are back from our glorious lunch break. I had something I couldn’t pronounce and it was lovely.

Settling in for (How Is This All) Going To Work? What we teach, how we learn and what employers want.

  • Alright, looks like we have a panel of speakers here and they are Dan Klyn, Liz Danzico, Richard Dalton, Amanda Schonfeld, Cindy Chastain, Katie McCurdy and Erin Moore.
  • Print and Athletics to IxD and IA. Nice! Erin
  • Liz up next.
  • Learning by doing. Making an idea real.
  • Experience broken down by process, concept, craft, communication
  • Students need to learn process so they can deviate from it.
  • we must pay attention to craft. must be fluent in craft.
  • Behavior is broken down by observation, language,
  • Write often. (yay!)
  • Dan is up next
  • I never get a science fiction reference.
  • What do I know, apparently it was a Harry Potter reference.
  • delineating between IxD and IA has become toxic. Define the damn thing.
  • (wow) grappling with a slash. (Jesus, is it that bad to have multiple titles for the same thing, or different flavors. )
  • Katie up next
  • her schooling was rounded out by several design methods, solving design problems, independent projects, extreme networking
  • Employers want to know what YOU contributed to a project.
  • Next up Cindy
  • We are now tasked with figuring out entire ecosystems.
  • Knowing where you fall into a skill is key.
  • You need a primary identifier.
  • You need to map out your literacy vs. expertise. What can you execute.
  • depth of craft + range of understanding + strategic insight = Innovation
  • Amanda is up next
  • Employee referrals are huge.
  • The wiifi is beyond wonky
  • Format of your ressy
  • If you are trying to make a change, you need be honest and flexible
  • Can we talk about how many lunch options there was?
  • Richard is up
  • Recommendations mean squat if the hiring manager doesn’t know the person.
  • talent, cultural fit, passion
  • BBI, Behavioral Based Interviewing

OK, now we are into Vidya’s Drago’s Trends¬† in the Future of Online Experiences

  • Nice to see some fresh blood presenting to the UX community
  • No one here is going to try to predict the future (but it’s so fun!)
  • I am digging this history of cars
  • New forms of tech start by imitating older forms and then evolve into their own.
  • We are only 17 years into evolution of the web, it took 50yrs for the car to get a form we can relate to.
  • In discovering trends they looked at capabilities, consumers and competition
  • no longer is there a wife chasm between mobility and capability.
  • Customized, Aggregated, Relevant, social
  • Jesus, apparently I visit like 5 websites. I feel 80.
  • Aggregate is another term that has been bastardized and lost often in translation. However, I love the way Vidya makes it work in this context.

Next up is Karen McGrane (*swoon*)

  • Karen McGrane just admitted she isn’t a content strategist.
  • great present analogy
  • the world of content has exploded due to social media
  • IA found the pain point and gave it a name.
  • IA has done a great job of defining a process.
  • Content Strategy deserves people talking about it and it deserves a process.
  • Think beyond the template
  • Not buckets, templates or wrappers
  • speak up on the content’s behalf.
  • prototype with test wireframes with the best and worst content examples.
  • OMG I totally organize the soup cans
  • Assess when the content is good when doing the inventory.
  • Losing steam, totally reveling in Karen McGrane’s awesomeness.
  • Stay tuned…


Today is the first…day…ahem…sorry, still fuzzy from @Madpow’s killer party last night at National Mechanics. We are ready to kick off IDEA2010! I will do my best to live blog through the sessions, there will be part observations, part candor, part humor and as much knowledge as I can absorb and type. I will do my best, I hope you enjoy.

First up, a Welcome and then we’re into Ubiquitous Architecture and Gamestorming.

Ubiquitous Architecture and Gamestorming

Peter Morville is up first.

  • Dichotomy Alert! Information Architects and User Experience Designer
  • Already in love with Peter as he makes CS a part of the conversation.
  • The tactical and strategic roles may be separating, but they are still held closely together.
  • visuals can often break down barriers
  • Search involves an insane attention to detail.
  • Will innovation redefine search, ongoing discussion.
  • You can now search by sketching or singing
  • We can’t ignore the possibility of sensory search.
  • Cross Media Integration – what is the right balance?
  • iTunes led the way with this (duh), but we are finally seeing other areas (Nike, Zipcar etc)
  • REI has worked to bring all content creators together, eliminating silos (yay!)
  • Mike Kuniavsky – don’t worry, he’s already thinking light years ahead of us (whew…)
  • Service blueprints are the key parts of Service Design, they identify the touchpoints (Peter feels they are not enough)
  • User Service Map – The Intertwingularity (buzzword alert!) The mix of digital and physical (how would you view a movie, download, movie theater…)
  • What is the perceived distance in the physical world, but when you apply the same thought to digital, it has more to do with the experience.
  • IA is about building bridges, but the work doesn’t stop, there are always more bridges to be built.
  • Peter makes the brilliant point that Ken Burns is GOD (ok, maybe I made that up, but COME ON, the man is fabulous!)
  • Panel discussion time!
  • What the hell is gamestorming!? – Disruptive way of explaining problem solving (Sunni) Collection of things that work (James) Making the information more shareable (Dave)
  • Gamestorming = visual thinking people (Peter’s interpretation)
  • Confession: As a writer, designing anything visually scares the crap out of me.
  • Visual thinking = Gamestorming
  • Gamestorming reminds me a lot of discovery writing. Visually working through a problem, much like writing through a problem.
  • Peter makes the point that Gamestorming is just IA in disguise.
  • The best way to describing gamestorming is to do it.

Hey oh, just had a break out session where Sunni Brown taught us visually challenged “drawers” a new way to not be afraid to sketch out our ideas visually. She had a great way of using a visual alphabet (lines, circles, basically crap we can all draw to represent a image. It was basically a speed round of Pictionary where we drew a coffee cup (easy), charisma (not so much) and a pervert (priests abound). Insanely fun, interactive and a great way to meet some new people.

Next up, Going Native: The Anthropology of Mobile App Design with Josh Clark

  • Mobile can be thought of as cultures.
  • Anthropology – how or why we act the way we act.
  • Still very much in the discovery phase of mobile platforms.
  • (Lego graphic backdrop is S.I.C.K.)
  • text interfaces were initially such a crummy experience.
  • Suddenly wondering if my mother threw away all of our Legos. I think I’ll call her at lunch.
  • Defining a culture, defines the mobile appearance
  • 87% of AA and English speaking latinos compared to 80% of white peeps.
  • Nokia = Symbian. I did not know that.
  • BB os is still king in America (40%) For now…
  • BB heavy on texting and email, but lacking on web browsing.
  • iPhone = super active user
  • Sorry, nanny is texting me. The power is out and I am trying to tell her how to reset the breaker in the electrical panel. Good god.
  • For Android, it’s the technology, skews for younger users. “good enough”
  • Android is for tinkerers, so apparently Tinker Bell is ALL over this phone.
  • Windows mobile slide draws a good laugh from the crowd. Oh, Redmond, you have fallen so far.
  • Satisfaction index shows that iPhone/Android lead the way while BB and Windows (giggle/snort) lacks big time.
  • Cultures love rivalry. Great analogy.
  • It’s really not about tools. Emotional connection means more now in the mobile universe.
  • Appropriate Technologies – basically pairing cultures with the right technologies
  • There is a market for SMS apps (think of voting for AI)
  • Mobile culture goverance is partially regulation and part of the social experience.
  • Wait, whut? Content Strategy doesn’t own the term governance.
  • Governance shapes our experience.
  • Sorry, twitter distraction, bad Matthew.
  • Can the web entertain this circus?
  • Mobile web can sidestep the governance issue.
  • Praying there is a stack of legos at lunch.
  • You cannot satiate everyone, so there cannot be only one silver bullet mobile OS
  • We are all cloud developers now (I have no idea what this means)
  • Build device specific app, not an all encompassing app.
  • Lunch time!

Stay tuned…