IA Summit … back from Phoenix

Okay – we’ve actually been back from the IA Summit in Phoenix for a while but still wanted to share a few thoughts about some of the presentations.

As I predicted, Todd Toler’s presentation Think Like an Instructional Designer (slides) was chock full of strategic and tactical stuff IA/UX folks can use in their practice immediately. As a PhD student, I was happy that he shared the epistemological foundations for the theories he discussed right at the beginning – not something I’ll use as a UX practitioner tomorrow but useful background. In the rest of the presentation, he introduced each of 6 learning theories, gave examples and then ended with questions a UX practitioner could consider during design or evaluation. Many of the principles are already incorporated into our everyday practice but it is useful to be reminded about their use in design but also in design rationalization. For example, Todd provides a chart with four types of visuals (decorative, representational, organizational and explanative) each with an example and their instructional potential. I can see drawing on this framework in the not-too-distant future! As I said – a nice mix of theoretical and application. For more on these issues as well as a copy of the presentation, see Todd’s blog Solid State UX .

Most people I spoke with at the IA Summit agreed that Dan Roam’s opening keynote Back of the Napkin (podcast) was a highlight. Again – such a great mix of thought-provoking ideas and things to do today that can tweak or transform the way you work. He set a wonderfully positive tone for the Summit.

However the keynote on the second morning wasn’t quite as positive. Richard Saul Wurman was a bit irascible but there were a few nuggets in an overly long ramble. For a good summary with no editorializing, see Luke Wroblewski’s notes.

There were lots of other solid presentations, some of which are available as podcasts on Boxes and Arrows and on SlideShare.

IA Summit 2011 is in Boulder Colorado – another place I haven’t been yet but hear great things. If it weren’t for conferences, I’d probably never leave Toronto!