ia play

the good life in a digital age

not going to the IA Summit

I first attended the IA Summit in 2004 and I’ve gone every year since. Each time the conference has given me a much needed boost of energy and optimism. So I’m sad not to be going to Memphis.

Timing isn’t good with one project launching and another kicking off in anger. But I would also have struggled to make the business case to my charity employers. We have budget to send staff to conferences but we need to be really really clear about the benefits.

The programme this year looks intriguing as ever but there’s nothing explicitly about my sector (charities), main products (intranet and CRM), technology (SharePoint) or  dominant issue (accessibility). There is a session about Agile and one on Web Standards but they’re the only sessions that my organisation would recognise as being relevant to what I do.

The presentation titles aren’t really very helpful on their own (Evolve or Die? You’re Not Doing It Right? IA Spy School? A House Divided?). I needed the descriptions when I was trying to make the business case!

I’ve got no team to manage anymore so the UX management stream is far less relevant than when  I was at the BBC. I can’t use visual communication methods like comics and lots of IA deliverables wouldn’t be easily re-usable with blind team-members without a lot of effort. Anything too future-facing/web 3.0 is just pie in the sky when you are still trying to get web 1.0 to work for all your users.

The strategic stuff would be applicable, although it is nowhere near as imperitative in a 3000 person organisation compared to a 30000 person one. MetaSearch, Facets of Faceting, and Business Centred Design all sound like sessions I would attend but they’re not enough.

Interestingly, having always worked in not entirely commerical companies, I feel a much greater sense of responsibility for the RNIB’s cash. The money we receive (for the most part) comes from people who wanted to make someone else’s life better, rather expecting to get some benefit in return.

Getting employees re-energised and re-inspired is a legitimate way for charities to use that money… but I feel an obligation to think of ways of achieving the same goal that don’t require me to fly to Memphis.

Written by Karen

January 26th, 2009 at 2:34 pm