Manchester, United Kingdom

WIAD Manchester location - MMU Business School

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The theme of this year's World Information Architecture Day is Information Architecture for Good.

How we can mitigate society's struggle to make sense of the abundance of information and sources. We don’t know who to trust, so we believe what we want and can be easily manipulated. Many digital places are enabling ignorance, hate, alienation, and letting polarisation grow. We will be looking at how we might create information architectures that protect society from misinformation.

Code of Conduct
The World IA Day Manchester team is dedicated to providing a safe, enjoyable and harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion (or lack thereof). By attending World IA Day Manchester you are agreeing to abide by the policies set out in our Code of Conduct.

Sponsor Us
Sponsorship allows us to keep ticket prices for this community event as affordable as possible. If you're interesting in sponsoring WIAD Manchester, please get touch at:


Manchester Metropolitan University Business School
All Saints Campus, Oxford Road, Manchester, M15 6BH United Kingdom
Floor plan of MMU Business School, All Saints Campus


Map & directions:

Free parking at John Dalton car park, corner of Cambridge Street and Chester Street.

Program Schedule
10:00 - 11:00am

Registration and refreshments

11:00 - 11:05am
11:05 - 11:40
Opening keynote: What’s the point of information architecture?

with Dan Ramsden

In a world that’s full of information, accusations of "fake news,” distrust in experts and faith in alternative facts, what should IAs be focused on? Dan will share a definition for how he thinks about IA. He’ll then share a model for how he tries to have an impact in every project he’s involved in. There will also be four jokes.

11:40 - 12:15pm
This is for everyone: a new IA for NHS.UK

with Sophie Dennis

What will it take for the NHS website to become people’s preferred first port of call to understand, manage and take control of their health? A new information architecture for one. Described as the most important transformation challenge in the public sector today, is one of the UK’s largest, most complex websites, with over 50 million visits a month, tens of thousands of pages, and a target audience that is, quite literally, for everyone.

Sophie is leading the team creating a new information architecture for One that, if we get it right, will provide a solid platform for all patient-facing digital health services for the next decade.

Get a glimpse of how we’re starting to tackle this massive challenge, combining traditional IA methods with service design thinking and innovative data analysis techniques to deliver a large-scale IA for almost every health topic imaginable.

12:15 - 1:25pm

Lunch is provided

1:25 - 2:00pm
The Lost Art of Task Modelling

with Jesmond Allen

Task models have been somewhat eclipsed by experience maps and service blueprints of late. I’m all for a juicy mapping exercise when I’m helping an organisation make strategic decisions. But what if the job at hand is the result of all that strategising: designing a website, say?

Task models are a simple, yet incredibly powerful, design tool. I’ll talk about getting started with task modelling, and how a task model can influence design. I’ll include practical examples from the world of e-commerce. I might even show you the task model I produced for Lovehoney last year. (Which almost gave me the excuse to call this talk "Better orgasms through information architecture”.)

2:00 - 2:35pm
This is the Bad Place

with Paul Rissen

It’s 2018, and ‘two sides to every story’ won’t cut it any more. How should information architects, and everyone else, for that matter, respond to a rapidly moving, ever judging, multi-faceted and complex world? In this talk, we’ll examine passionate debate, the paradox of tolerance, and the plural point of view; information disorder, the forgotten art of tummelling, and why the way out of this particular bad place might just need us to leave the news feed behind.

2:35 - 3:05pm

Refreshments provided

3:05 - 3:50pm
Closing keynote: Digital inclusion at the Home Office: building services for all

with Katy Arnold

The Home Office, like the rest of the UK government, is involved in a huge effort to modernise service delivery in line with the possibilities offered by the internet and the digital age. 

Our role is to re-imagine how we might deliver fundamental public services through digital channels. But millions of working age adults have never used the internet. How will they interact with the government of the future?

In this talk I will share some real life examples of how we are making sure Home Office services work for everyone who needs them. As user centred designers, we are re-shaping the department around end-to-end services. By researching and designing inclusively we actively challenge exclusion and help to protect those in society who might otherwise be left behind.

3:50 - 4:00pm
Closing remarks

Closing remarks, a few thank-you's, maybe even a prize giveaway or two, then off to the pub!

Speakers & Presenters
Dan Ramsden
Opening keynote: Dan Ramsden
Creative Director

As Creative Director for UX architecture & Design Research at the BBC, Dan leads multiple teams of specialists. He’s responsible for defining the professional practice of UXA at the BBC and ensuring that the organisation is creating information architecture that delivers the best possible experiences to its editors and audiences. Dan has previously worked for agencies and ran a theatre company. He now designs labels, vocabularies, URLs, navigation, strategies and processes. He lives just outside Sheffield with a wife, a child and a cat called Rosa.

Sophie Dennis
Sophie Dennis
Transition Strategy Lead, NHS.UK
NHS Digital

Sophie helps organisations deliver better services to customers by putting user needs at the heart of their digital strategy. Currently at NHS Digital leading the team redesigning the information architecture of, she has over 15 years' experience working with multi-disciplinary teams on strategic digital content, design and development projects. She's led ambitious user research and discovery programmes, defined digital strategies for major public and third-sector organisations, and built high-performing teams able to deliver high-quality user-centred digital services at pace. 

Previously Sophie’s worked for, among others, Public Health England, Department for Work and Pensions, the National Trust, Land Registry, Bristol City Council, the University of Surrey, Jisc and the Office for National Statistics, and world-leading experience design agencies CX Partners and Nomensa.

Jesmond Allen
Jesmond Allen
User Experience Consultant

Jesmond is a skilled design team leader and UX expert, who has worked in digital design since 1995. She is a freelance user experience consultant, helping clients shape their digital strategy and build design teams. Previously, she was at internationally-renowned design consultancy, cxpartners. In her 11 years there, she moved from user experience practitioner to Head of UX.

Jesmond is co-author of the practical UX manual, Smashing UX Design: foundations for designing online user experiences. She has a passion for evidence-based design and loves the innovation and excellence that putting people at the heart of the design process produces.

Paul Rissen
Paul Rissen
Product Manager
Springer Nature

Paul is the Product Manager for BMC and SpringerOpen, Springer Nature’s flagship online products for furthering open access research, and was the technical editor for the recently published ‘Designing Connected Content’ by Mike Atherton and Carrie Hane - a guide to domain driven information architecture and content strategy.

Previously at the BBC for almost ten years, he is passionate about the Web, in particular the use of narrative and storytelling online, and in the role of popular culture and journalism to improve society and our understanding of the world around us.

Katy Arnold
Closing keynote: Katy Arnold
Head of User Research & Design
Home Office, UK Gov

As Head of User Research at the Home Office, UK Government, Katy is building and leading a team to capture user insight and design better services for citizens.

A regular speaker at UX events (EuroIA in Stockholm, Italian IA Summit in Rome, Service Design in Government, UX Cambridge, UX Sheffield, UX Bournemouth, Product Camp London, #GovDesign) Katy enjoys evangelising the value of user centred design, and is embedding user needs into key decision making throughout the Home Office.

Local Sponsors & Partners

Local Team

Richard Eskins
Richard Eskins

Richard is course leader for the BSc Web Development at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). Based in the former Library School at MMU (which still hosts an MA in Librarianship and Information Management), Richard thought where better to host World IA Day in Manchester other than an institution that has been teaching taxonomy, controlled vocabularies, metadata and organising knowledge for 70 years and IA for nearly 20 years.

Rick Threlfall
Rick Threlfall

Rick is Principal UX Architect at Waters Corporation with over 25 years experience of software & hardware design and development in the scientific industry. He works with some amazing teams scattered around the world, in that time he's been fortunate working for companies that have supported a variety of career shifts and presented incredibly varied challenges; using web, mobile and desktop technologies to create solutions for target markets from environmental to clinical and a whole bunch in-between, with recent years having a focus on medical device design and aspects of industrial design. Other than strongly believing that design threads through every aspect of life, and getting stuck into the odd PS4 game, he's one of the organisers of Northern User Experience (NUX) and manages the CodeUp group branding and marketing. He also get's a bit too enthusiastic about 1980's computer games.

Barry Briggs
Barry Briggs

Barry is a Senior UX Architect at the BBC with over 17 years’ experience working in the web industry. During those 17 years he counts himself lucky to have worked client-side, in-house and with some of the best agencies in the north-west on numerous successful high profile projects for global brands, across a wide variety of sectors. He’s a usability obsessive, one of the Northern User Experience (NUX) team in Manchester, a chronic perfectionist and a would-be evil scientist. In-between all this he spends far too much time in his quest for the perfect quiff.