Kent, Ohio, United States

Kent State University

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Join us in Kent, Ohio on Saturday, February 24th for World Information Architecture Day!

Continental Breakfast and Lunch will be provided, and we have lots of prizes and giveaways.

Program Schedule


New this year - become an Individual Sponsor!!!

We are now in the fourth year of hosting World IA Day in Kent! As our conference continues to grow - the need for sponsors grows larger as well. In order for us to keep World IA Day free for many, we ask that you consider an individual sponsorship! You'll be assisting us in providing the great day that you've come to expect! In return, we will recognize you in the program, on the web site, and in a tweet.


HUGE THANKS to those who have already become individual sponsors!!

Leah Ogonek

Melanie Bozzelli

Heather Caprette

Terri Grimm

Carrianne Tuckley

Christopher Uhler

Walter Robins

Michelle Dupler

Edwin K. Morris

Cathy King


Kent State University Student Center
Room 306
Program Schedule
9:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Information Architecture & Navigation Systems for Mobile Interfaces (Workshop) - Shari Thurow

Learn how to create and maintain mobile-friendly architecture…regardless of how your content is accessed by both human users & technology.

One main challenge of mobile information architecture is the migration of a broad-and-shallow architecture to a narrow-and-deep architecture. Narrow-and-deep architectures make content more difficult to locate, discover, and interpret.

Learn tools and techniques to ensure that mobile-friendly content, navigation, technical architecture, and metadata are effective for ongoing findability in a mobile-first environment.

Who Will Benefit From This Workshop

Anyone who designs, develops, and promotes mobile websites/apps should attend this workshop!

Key Takeaways Include:

  • · How to successfully modify mobile navigation for narrow-and-deep architectures
  • · How to construct a clear, consistent labeling system
  • · Communicate context & aboutness to both human users & technology
  • · Tools to help diagnose technical & accessibility issues

Downloadable materials included. Workshop also includes a Site/App Clinic to address your most pressing mobile architecture questions.

9:15 AM - 10:00 AM
The Ultimate Guide to ADA Compliance for Website Accessibility - Todd Bertsch

With many companies, both large and small, being sued for non-compliance, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) website accessibility is one of this year’s hottest topics. In this session, I’ll discuss everything you need to know to about ADA compliance, including how to perform your own audit, fix any issues, use simulator tools and more. As UI/UX professionals, it’s our responsibility to lead this movement and help make websites accessible to everyone.

10:15 AM - 11:00 AM
Empathy in Collaboration: The Client/Vendor Relationship - Jay Oldaker

Sometimes working together can be really hard. Collaboration isn't easy, but it also doesn't have to be draining. Together we will dive into the heart of collaborative work and come out with some observations and tricks that will help you the next time you choose to work with someone outside your organization.

11:15 - 12:00
Build Your IA/UX Bookshelf Starting With These “IA For Good” Suggestions - Jennifer Stencel

Did you know that Zappos has a Library, stocked with a selection of business books from the like of Jim Collins and Seth Godin, offered to all employees Free-for-taking?   Why not carve out a small space and start a mini “Pop Up” library of your own?  Librarian, Jennifer Stencel has curated a selection of titles which will educate, enlighten and empower your staff to make sound “good” IA and UX design decisions. Visit the Pop Up Library for inspiration on how to start one. She hopes in the end you will feel encouraged to start a monthly Book Discussion, or at least bring one to the beach!

1:30 PM - 4:00 PM
Designing the Knowledge Ecosystem (Workshop) - Edwin K. Morris

An interactive and engaging workshop to build awareness and understanding of the concepts and practices of the field of Knowledge Management (KM) and how KM is essential to the success of modern organizations. You will participate in a thoughtful group exercise to create an organizational structure that fosters knowledge building, knowledge flow and an engaging work culture.


  • What is “knowledge management” and why is it important?
  • How do organizations lose money by failing to “manage” our knowledge?
  • What are the components of a knowledge organization?
  • How should a culture engage its knowledge asset?
1:15 PM - 2:00 PM
Content Editors are Users Too: Optimizing a Content Management System (CMS) for a Positive User Experience - Chris Hallahan

As UX Designers and Information Architects, we sweat every user-facing detail of a website or application’s design system, navigation and voice/tone.  Frequently overlooked, however, is the experience editors and clients inherit when tasked with using a content management system (CMS) to update the product with new content.  Editors are often faced with unintuitive systems that require unexpected levels of support and effort.  This could, in turn, negatively affect the end-product’s quality over time.

Chris will outline some of the most frequently neglected parts any common CMS, define actionable, non-technical design tips for creating an improved system and demonstrate a working example of an improved editing experience.

Attendees will learn how to apply these principles within their own teams and projects, advocating for an editing experience that’s as delightful and efficient to use as the user-facing product itself.

2:15 PM - 3:00 PM
When In Doubt Test It Out: Getting lean with UX - Marc Majers

Software applications and websites fail because they do not incorporate enough customer feedback into their products. You think you know, but do you know you know? There are user experience (UX) tools that when put in place can get your whole team involved, allow you to change gears quickly, and gather user feedback to increase the quality of your products. How do you do this? What can steps can you take to get your organization moving in this direction? If your company has implemented Agile, UX and is looking to improve how they work together - this presentation is for you! Discover how the principles of Lean UX can be integrated into your business and move you toward a regular usability testing schedule. Teams need to move away from thinking they know what the customer needs to knowing what the customer needs and usability testing is the key to get you the answers.

3:15 PM - 4:00 PM
Digital Genome - Ben Woods

The history of libraries is a history of loss. Nobody knows how much knowledge we have lost and had to re-learn (or have not yet re-learned) over the millennia. By extension, the history of the World Wide Web (the largest collected body of information known to humankind) may also become one of loss. While we see statistics touting the amount of data that is created every day, knowledge disappears from the web constantly. What we as UX designers have learned, and how we got here is disappearing – what are the ramifications for the future of our digital world?

Speakers & Presenters
Todd Bertsch
Todd Bertsch
Evolve Creative Group

Passionate about all things web, Todd Bertsch, Owner/President of Evolve Creative Group a digital marketing agency, is a leader in web design and digital marketing with over 20 years of experience in these fields. Todd is also an award-winning web designer, author, educator and lecturer. He speaks regularly throughout the region on various web-related topics and serves on several nonprofit marketing committees.

Todd holds a BFA from The University of Akron in graphic design and is married with two children. When he’s not busy working, you’ll find Todd challenging his son to a ping pong match, lifting weights, grilling out or enjoying a campfire.

Chris Hallahan
Chris Hallahan
User Experience Designer

Chris works as a user experience designer with IdeaBase, a Kent State student-powered design agency in downtown Kent.  He spends his time crafting positive user experiences for both clients and their users alike, specializing in responsive design, content management and usability testing, working with both small and large businesses in a variety of industries.  He also teaches courses on web design for Kent State and serves as a board member for UX Akron and Main Street Kent.   He enjoys running, yoga and fitness in his time away from the screen.  Visit his website and blog at 

Marc Majers
Marc Majers
User Experience Designer

Marc Majers is a User Experience Designer for Hyland and an adjunct
professor at the University of Akron. He’s worked in application,
software and website design for over 20 years, won some industry
awards, and ultimately gained skills in e-commerce, user research,
interaction design, digital strategy, conversion rate optimization
(CRO), and usability testing. He’s worked with organizations such as
Wyse Advertising, Progressive Insurance, and Cleveland Institute of

He has a Master of Science in Information Architecture & Knowledge
Management with an emphasis in User Experience Design from Kent State
University and a Bachelors of Arts from Bowling Green State
University. He is Google Analytics certified, UX Certified from
Nielsen Norman Group and a Certified Usability Analyst (CUA) from
Human Factors International. Marc is also an Eagle Scout.

He is author of “Don’t Fear The Forward: The Secret to Building
Successful Websites” and president of Leading Hands Through Technology
– a nonprofit that helps other nonprofits with technology. Marc
severed for many years as Vice President of User Experience
Professional Association (UXPA) Cleveland.

*Photo Courtesy of George Shuba Photography

Edwin K. Morris
Edwin K. Morris
Pioneer Knowledge Services

Edwin K. Morris, the president and founder of Pioneer Knowledge Services (PKS), the first nonprofit organization in the U.S. that provides knowledge management education and services designed to help nonprofit organizations. Their mission: We Inspire Cultures That Value Knowledge.

Jay Oldaker
Jay Oldaker
Senior User Experience Designer
Westfield Insurance

Jay is a designer and culture shifter. He has over 13 years of experience working as a product manager, information architect, and user experience designer. He’s currently a Lead User Experience Designer at Westfield Insurance where he’s focused on customer centricity and innovation. He’s co-founded reelate, an organization dedicated to empowering local storytellers through micro-documentaries.

Jennifer Stencel
Jennifer Stencel
Branch Manager and Teen Librarian
Akron Summit County Public Library - Richfield Library

Jennifer has over 25 years of progressive management responsibility in public libraries, currently serving as the Branch Manager and Teen Librarian at the Richfield Library of Akron Summit County Public Library System.  She, and her co-librarian, write monthly business book reviews for the Richfield Chamber. She’s an implementer of innovative ideas pulled from the business/entrepreneurial and museum world to address the changes in the use of libraries. Jennifer is a Human Centered Design Thinking practitioner.  She is a recent Post-Masters graduate of the San Jose State University iSchool on Emerging Technologies and Digital Libraries where her two favorite courses were in IA and Gaming Information. She embraces the emotional user experience concepts, the work done on “encoding” spaces, and placemaking ideology on public space and use. She is attentive to Millennial and Generation Z trends, and enjoys community relationship building.

Shari Thurow
Shari Thurow
Founder and SEO Director
Omni Marketing Interactive

Shari Thurow is the Founder of Omni Marketing Interactive, a full-service website usability, information architecture (IA), and search engine optimization (SEO) firm.

She has architected, designed, and optimized web interfaces since 1995.

She currently serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the ASLIB Journal of Information Management (AJIM). She also served on the Board of Directors of the Information Architecture Institute (IAI) and User Experience Professionals Organization (UXPA).

Clients include the National Cancer Institute, Huffington Post, ABC News, WebMD, Loyola Medicine, Encyclopedia Britannica, Expedia, Home Depot, Best Buy, Fisher Price, Angie’s List, Sony Music, Facebook, and Microsoft.

Shari is the co-author of When Search Meets Web Usability which shows how to bridge the gap between web search-engine results pages and your website. She is also the author of Search Engine Visibility, translated into 6 languages.

Ben Woods
Ben Woods
Kent State University, School of Information, User Experience Design

Ben Woods is a full-time faculty member in the UXD program at Kent State University. He began his career in 1999 when the World Wide Web was just beginning to be recognized as a valuable tool for businesses. Previously, Woods held positions with a number of companies where he was often hired as the first web/digital designer. Ben’s client and work experience includes General Electric, Orange S.A., Eaton, Knoch Corporation, Sand Run Partners, ABC of Ohio, The Cleveland Clinic, The City of Shaker Heights, Mazzella Lifting, Akron Public Schools, Dorel Industries and many other large and small businesses in a variety of sectors. 

Ben has given presentations throughout the midwest, has led workshops in Europe, and was recently included in a sponsored New York Times story on using UX concepts to improve air travel.

He currently owns TheoremCX, an innovation firm providing customer-focused solutions for organizations.

Local Sponsors & Partners

Local Team

Carrianne Tuckley
Carrianne Tuckley
City Leader