Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

Saturday, February 24, 2018

What a great event - thank you for joining us. If you missed it or want to revisit the talks here are videos for your viewing pleasure!

Videos of Pittsburgh's 2018 World IA Day Celebration


Truefit - inside Union Trust Building
501 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Please use the Oliver Avenue or the William Penn Place entrances
Program Schedule
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
World IA Day Pittsburgh

What is information architecture? How can we improve our practice? Why does IA matter? 

Spend a fabulous day hearing from experts from around the country and participating in a choice of workshops.

World IA Day is brought to you by our amazing local sponsors including headlining sponsor TEKsystems Digital.


*The event is sold out. If you would like to be on our waiting list please email us at pittsburgh@worldiaday.org

9:30 AM Opening
9:40 AM  “What is IA, Why Does It Matter?” Dave Cooksey, UX Lead, Elsevier Clinical Solutions

10:30 AM Workshop Choices (Detailed descriptions are below)

  • “Bringing Order to Chaos: Using Collaboration to Experience the Design Process” with Karen Moyer, Adjunct Faculty, Carnegie Mellon University
  • “Data-Driven Approach to IA Design, Evaluation, and Documentation” with Barbora Batokova, UX Strategist at Software Engineering Institute
  • “IA and Communication Design: Taking a Critical Look at Perceptions, Responsibilities, and Opportunities in Media” with Stacie Rohrbach, Associate Professor and Communication Design Program Chair, School of Design at Carnegie Mellon 

12:00 PM Lunch

1:00 PM “Designing with Wicked Intent” Carolynn Johnson, PhD, Human Factors & Research Manager at Daedalus
1:15 PM “Machine-Learning-Generated Data” Elliott Williams, Founder & Chief Designer, LegalSifter
1:30 PM “The Use of Iconography and Illustration in IA for Clarity and Comprehension” Marisa Boevers, Director of Marketing, Thoughtform

1:45 PM Break

2:00 PM “Modeling for Good” Kaarin Hoff, Information Architect, The Understanding Group
3:00 PM “Assembly Required: When Access to Information isn't Enough” Stephen Anderson, Head of Design, Innovation Garage at Capital One
3:40 PM Closing

Child care

Child care will be provided by Flexable. Please contact WIAD at pittsburgh@worldiaday.org by February 2, 2018 to reserve your place for children over 2 years old.

10:30 am -
Workshop Option 1: Bringing Order to Chaos: Using Collaboration to Experience the Design Process with Karen Moyer

Information Architecture projects are about organizing complexity. Typically, the designer is trying to figure out which alternative structures could work and which one is the best.

This hands-on workshop uses a collaborative approach to help participants look at the design process by organizing physical objects. In the process, you will have a chance to experience what it feels like to transition from too many possibilities to one, specific, concrete approach. You’ll get practice articulating your ideas to others, trying things out, and weighing alternatives fast. And, perhaps most important, you’ll participate in conversations with your teammates that need to happen before making decisions.

Karen developed and led this workshop while teaching in CMU’s School of Design for over 35 years. You’re bound to enjoy Karen’s enthusiasm and anecdotes.

10:30 am -
Workshop Option 2: Data-Driven Approach to IA Design, Evaluation, and Documentation with Barbora Batokova

Creating a usable information architecture (IA) is one of the most important but also challenging tasks while designing a successful digital product. In this workshop, you will learn a comprehensive, data-driven approach that will help you design, evaluate, and document information architectures, ensuring they’re useful and usable. You will get an overview of specific design research methods in each of the five stages of the approach, each illustrated by an example when I was designing SEI’s public website and the intranet. Together, we will take a closer look at tree testing, one of the key IA methods.

Consisting of five major stages, the approach begins with the (1) understanding of the current state: stakeholders, user needs, content, and common tasks of the product. In the second stage, you (2) assess the current state with tree testing, think-aloud protocol, and heatmaps/click tracking. In the third stage, you (3) fill in the gaps using surveys, expert interviews, competitive analyses, and search log analyses. In the fourth stage, you (4) create the new IA with the help of three additional methods: card sorting, butcher paper IA, and task-flow diagrams. Finally, you (5) test and refine the new IA by doing first-click testing and doing another round of tree testing.

The entire approach focuses on creating tangible artifacts based on both qualitative and quantitative design research data. You can (and should) share these artifacts with your team and stakeholders to involve them in the discussion and the design process. During the tree testing hands-on exercises, you will learn how to prepare, execute, analyze, and document the method using specific online services and templates.

This participatory, data-driven design approach leads to further insights and increased buy-in from stakeholders, which is necessary to meet both business and user needs with the new IA.

10:30 am -
Workshop Option 3: IA and Communication Design: Taking a Critical Look at Perceptions, Responsibilities, and Opportunities in Media with Stacie Rohrbach

Given the mass of information that technology provides us, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. To reduce information overload, many online services cull their data looking for trends that help them determine which pieces of content to push to readers. In addition to topic popularity, their content decisions may also be based on such things as the interests of funding sources, and corporate political views. News sources are particularly notorious for providing readers with narrow perspectives on world events. However, the readership of specific information sources are not always aware of the slant to the news that is provided to them. As a result, readers become ill-informed, which leads them to make poor decisions on important issues.

In this workshop we will decode the visual and structural approaches of news organizations and hypothesize their impact on audiences. We will also investigate ways of using communication design and information architecture to help people become better informed citizens by teaching them how to carefully read content (not just the words but the forms of content) and encouraging them to make comparisons among information sources. The workshop activities are intended to encourage critical thinking about the decisions we make as designers and provide strategies for working through similar challenges.

Speakers & Presenters
Barbora Batokova
Barbora Batokova
UX Strategist
Software Engineering Institute

Barbora is a UX Strategist at CMU’s Software Engineering Institute (SEI). Over the past seven years at the SEI, Barbora has led the design efforts for cybersecurity and digital forensics solutions for federal law enforcement agencies, as well as internal and public-facing organizational websites and applications.

Elliott Williams
Elliott Williams
Founder & Chief Designer

Elliott Williams has a background in Cognitive Science and Human Computer Interaction from MIT and Carnegie Mellon University. He's a designer by trade who founded LegalSifter, a legaltech startup creating a novel interface for managing contracts with the help of machine learning.

Carolynn Johnson
Carolynn Johnson, PhD
Human Factors & Research Manager

With a doctorate in cognitive psychology and expertise in human information processing, Carolynn Johnson has spent over two decades combining user research and interaction design to create user experiences for the medical, consumer, safety, and transportation industries. Dr. Johnson serves on the Human Factors Engineering and Home Care Environments committees for the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation. How we age and the impact it has on our interactions with devices has become her particular area of interest, which she addressed in her 2015 TEDx talk, The (Ungraceful) Art of Aging.

Stephen Anderson
Stephen Anderson
Head of Design
Innovation Garage at Capital One

Stephen is most recognized as the man behind the Mental Notes card deck—a tool that's widely used by product teams to apply psychology to interaction design. He also authored Seductive Interaction Design, which answers the question: "How do we get people to fall in love with our applications?” Between public speaking and project work, Stephen loves to challenge and inspire teams through onsite training; he’s presented at some of the world’s largest organizations, teaching product teams about games, play, learning, interactive visualizations, and other fun topics.

Karen Moyer
Karen Moyer
Adjunct Faculty
Carnegie Mellon University

Karen Moyer is a former Associate Professor in the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University, where she taught a wide range of design courses over 36 years. Karen introduced the first information design course in 1980. Before joining CMU, Karen worked in Philadelphia, Toronto, New Haven, and New York. She has completed projects for Alcoa, IBM, Westinghouse, Ontario Department Education, and Richard Wurman. She was also project manager on the first Symbol Signs project for the AIGA and U.S. Department of Transportation. Karen lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, Don.

Dave Cooksey
Dave Cooksey
UX Lead
Elsevier Clinical Solutions

Dave Cooksey is a experience designer at Elsevier Clinical Solutions, where he works researching and designing the next generation of clinical information applications. His practice focuses on information architecture, taxonomy, and user research. Dave has been an active member of the IA community for more than 10 years. He co-chaired the 2017 IA Summit and has served multiple times as the Chair of PhillyCHI. When not working, you’ll find him traveling or enjoying a craft beer. Follow him on Twitter @saturdave.

Stacie Rohrbach
Stacie Rohrbach
Associate Professor and Communication Design Program Chair
School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University

Stacie Rohrbach is an Associate Professor in the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University and the Area Head for the Communication Design program. Stacie teaches studio- and seminar-based communication design courses at all levels of the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral curriculum and regularly advises thesis projects. 

Kaarin Hoff
Kaarin Hoff
Information Architect
The Understanding Group

Kaarin Hoff - Information Architect at The Understanding Group where she helps clients sort through the chaos to clearly define what value means in their unique digital space. Kaarin then helps translate that what into a usable and delightful how (website, app, etc). Modeling is the main tool used in both of these activities.

Marisa Boevers
Marisa Boevers
Director of Marketing

Marisa has never met a story she didn’t like. With a background in design for theatre, Marisa has spent the last 10+ years as a communication strategist and project leader at ThoughtForm, where she relishes bringing a systems approach to helping clients to tell make their messages clear and engaging. Clients and colleagues appreciate Marisa's direct communication style, sense of humor, and dedication to clarity.

Local Sponsors & Partners

Local Team

Carol Smith
Carol Smith
Ashley Deal
Ashley Deal
Bill Bernstein
Bill Bernstein