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Oz IA 2009 – Day 1

I’m finally home after day 1 of Oz IA 2009, and absolutely knackered. What. A. Day. The presentation content was as diverse and interesting as the program suggested, but for me the greatest highlight was the meeting of minds of so many IAs.

First up was Matt Hodgson’s The Evolution of the Agile IA. Matt took us through a rollicking ride with where IA has come from, where it’s at now with the emergence of agile methodology, and where it’s going. One of the things I took from his messages about IA and agile was that in some ways we as IAs are already practicing some degree of agile without even knowing it; taking the big step into agile and leaving waterfall behind shouldn’t be too much of a pain.

I was up second, presenting on Guiding the way to living greener: how psychology helped IA for a new government website. I got some great feedback after it, including some requests for more information about how the ‘concierge’ model manifests itself in the various user interfaces used in the livinggreener.gov.au website. It was always going to be tricky to include the principles aspects of the presentation along with the applied aspects. I erred on the side of principles, given that the focus was on how motivational psychology can contribute to IA design. Maybe next time I would focus more on the UI aspects!

Cast herewith for your perusal (or go to my prezo at Slideshare):

Matt Balara was doing some awesome sketches of his thoughts coming out of each talk on the day, and here’s a pic of the page he sketched for my talk. It’s interesting that the key points that arose for him were:

  • Designing for people where they were at
  • Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
  • ‘The Concierge’ interaction model – answer question and offer even more
  • Personas are partners

Other highlights of the day:

  • Non-stop supply of fantastic real barista-served coffee – Single Origin, no less. I think I had 5? Stopped counting… Oz IA, you have spoiled me for any and all conferences in future.
  • Non-stop supply of fruit juice cocktails. Wanting to hold on to my masculinity, I didn’t indulge in this aspect of the conference much. But dayam, muddled mint and watermelon tastes good.
  • Stamford Interactive’s war stories of the pleasures and pains of being involved in a massive government intranet redesign project. Girls, I felt your pain.
  • Suze Ingram’s lightning-paced but highly entertaining review of prototyping tools. Expression Blend and Axure came up pretty well. I won a demo access pass to one of the online prototyping tools… no idea which one, now! But full points to Ian Stalvies, who won a fresh spanking new copy of Axure, for getting the trivia question right about the capital of Brazil (or somewhere like that).
  • Last and definitely not least: I have never seen so much twittering in all my freaking life! It was quite weird to see so many laptops open with people having one eye on the speaker and one eye on tweetdeck. Extra extra weird to see my own tweets retweeted on other people’s screens.

More fun in store tomorrow…

3 Comments

  1. Biggest city in Brazil: Sao Paolo.

    Can’t wait to finish uni in a couple of weeks so I can lock myself in a room with Axure (hello, my pretty … etc)

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  2. Good talk overall. A few comnmets1. Your points are valid but you have a choice of how those points are presented positively or negatively. The overall tone of your talk is more negative but it could easily be flipped and be inspiring. Rather than drawing scenarios that will lead to failure, answer the question of HOW they can be successful. You have some examples of that but if you are truly wanting to change the mindset then that has to be the major focus.2. You are right about the funding game. Too many people play the game of valuation rather than value. I have gotten sucked into it myself.3. Another theme you can expound on (with appropriate credits to me for this ) engineers solve problems, innovators create opportunities . Unfortunately the root of evil here lies in our education system that does everything possible to suppress creativity and does everything possible to turn us into non-thinking functionaries. There is no focus on actually addressing problems or needs. In fact not even being aware of them.4. Write THE book.

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