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World IA Day is a global event celebrating Information Architecture—the art and science of organizing software, websites and beyond. Here in DC, local UX designers gathered and held their own little shindig in observance of the worldwide event. Designing in a data-driven world can be stressful, and often, instructions don’t come with a project or an assignment. So where do you start, what’s the first step?
Takeaway 1: Set the First Mark
MetroStar’s own Jason Stoner was one of the passionate and talented few who were able to participate by sharing their thought leadership. His focus was on “The First Mark,” which emphasized the necessity of bigger picture thinking when a project starts out and your team is looking at a blank canvas. Talk about a daunting task, looking over an empty page can ignite stress, but Stoner says by applying the right framework to your project from the get-go can really accelerate possibilities. Using techniques like gesture drawing or crazy 8 sketches can not only help your team iterate through ideas quickly, but also inspire unique ideas.
Takeaway 2: Apply Gentle Change
Much like what MetroStar’s Jason Stoner was mentioning in his discussion, setting a tone for a project is of pivotal importance. So, what happens when the project is already underway, and it feels like it’s getting away from you and your team? Apply “Gentle Change” as Peter Morville calls it. In his words, “I Feel, Therefore IA.” Being sensitive, thinking through roadblocks, and most of all being *gentle* with the deliverable. Treat it like your favorite pet instead of cattle. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey, people!
Takeaway 3: Know. Wonder. Learn.
Some very smart individuals out in Los Angeles put together a presentation for World IA Day encouraging constant learning and expansion. “We are the data,” was the outcome of the ideation session suggesting that we are the link to great outcomes. There is even a chart that can be linked to this concept for your team to start using—like today. What does your team know, what they wonder about, and how and what they’ll need to learn. Open mindsets are important and leads to the multidimensionality of ideas and possibilities. Encourage your team to always be curious!