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World IA Day 2013 arrives in Bristol

World Information Architecture Day 2013 is set to kick off tomorrow. The event, taking place in 15 cities across the world, aims to bring “an international community of academics, practitioners, technologists and business leaders together for a global conversation about ‘the architecture part’ of information architecture”.

Bristol has been chosen to be the only UK host, with Nomensa Senior User Experience Consultant Jon Fisher coordinating. Fisher spoke to .net about the need for World IA Day, and what he hopes the Bristol event will achieve.

.net: What is World IA Day aiming to achieve?
Fisher: The aims for the day are to celebrate and promote the importance of information architecture moving forward into the exciting multi-channel world that we now find ourselves in. One of the goals of the day has been to raise awareness of information architecture to students and enable mentoring sessions and opportunities for learning. That’s one of the primary reasons why we have endeavoured to keep the event free-entry.

On a personal level, I’m also not going to get hung up on definitions and job roles and prefer to think about information architecture as “something that needs to be done”. I believe anyone working in digital needs to recognise the need for a properly architected service or experience. Too many services fail because of a failure to recognise the wider flow of information throughout the system—and particularly between intersecting channels.

.net: But why does IA specifically need ‘a day’?
Fisher: For all of the reasons I’ve mentioned but also because we are approaching an important time when the boundaries of digital and physical are starting to blur. There are plenty of digital conferences discussing the usual conference topics and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, with WIAD Bristol I wanted to present a conference that brought together experts from across various disciplines—not just digital—and ask questions about where we’re going, the issues we’re facing, and how we can learn from others.

.net: How did Bristol come to be the only UK city taking part?
Fisher: I submitted a multi-page application to the IA Institute, explaining the case for why Bristol should be selected. I’m delighted to be chosen, particularly when you look down the list of other cities taking part: New York, Paris, Tokyo, Los Angeles!

.net: What are you hoping for from the Bristol event?
Fisher: I want the day to be a celebration of information architecture and also the fantastic digital scene that we have in the South West. There is a real buzz around Bristol at the moment. Given the rich tradition Bristol has in engineering and architecture, it seems fitting that we have a strong digital community. We are small but we punch above our weight!

.net: So will you be doing anything from a local perspective, in terms of information, or will your sessions be globally oriented?
Fisher: The best way to think of WIAD is that it is 15 local events taking place around the globe. We won’t be doing anything particularly from the local perspective—apart from the cider in the bar afterwards—because all of the talks are intended to provide attendees with insights from industry experts on current work practices and what the future might hold.

All of the talks from all events are being recorded and the videos will be made available shortly after the weekend. The intention of the IA Institute is that even if you couldn’t make it to Los Angeles or So Paulo, you can still see the fantastic talks they have lined up!

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