I'm just going to start with pictures and go from there.
|Donna Spencer teaching "IA Theory and Practice"|
|"IA Theory and Practice" card-sorting exercise|
Then, with that knowledge and user research all sort of rattling around your brain informing you, you construct an information architecture to organize a website. This step is best done alone. Then the IA is extensively tested, discussed, and revised. And, when you're not a freelancer like Donna, but rather, stuck long-term with a site like me, periodically revisited.
I perked up when he made some comments about document libraries and content types. He works with Sharepoint, which is a document/data/content organizational system that I don't entirely understand. But it seems to be pretty high on the list of marketable skills so it may be worth looking into. Scott and I ended up hanging out for a big chunk of Thursday evening. You'd never guess from his fresh-faced demeanor that he has played in a punk band for years. He's also recently picked up piano. I had been dying to play the Steinway in the lobby for days. I wheedled and begged and got him a drink and he finally agreed to come play some of his new compositions on the piano. He had never played a real piano before. It was a pleasure to introduce him to one. And a Steinway at that. He ended up being very glad I convinced him. Of course the hotel staff had to ruin our fun. "The piano is not for playing." What kind of line is that?
|Karen McGrane talks about "Adaptive Content."|
|To a packed house.|
In contrast, NPR has been gathering content using a database-like content management system with many clearly defined fields and metadata associated. Things like event title, photograph, name, time, teaser, long description, are all broken out and their API generates a clean version of this content that can be used by a hugely diverse number of devices - phones, internet radio stations, web sites, apps, feedreaders...they build the content once, and let the platforms decide how to use it and how to present it that makes sense for the very unique contexts and constraints of each channel. NPR can focus on what they do best - quality content. Saves them an awful lot of work and gives a better result for end users.
When you're using mobile, you usually don't want the fluff, you want clear, actionable data and photos. When you're browsing on your iPad, you want a visually rich experience that you can engage with using your fingers. The content generators should be aware of these contexts and constraints and organize and build their content accordingly, without trying to be an expert on implementation for each individual setting. It's all about making the content as flexible, reusable, and well-described as possible, so that you and others can use your content in ways you maybe haven't even envisioned yet. I know I'm rambling, but it's exciting. Find out more about Karen McGrane.
|My dinner party linked up via Twitter.|
|Mike Xu, entepeneur and ex-Apple employee|
Mike used to work at Apple, but he got bored, and his friend wanted to start up a business to do an online marketplace for used manufacturing goods so he quit and is now doing the startup. I really admire them for taking a great idea and running with it. And judging from Mike, they are serious, long-term thinkers who are committed to research and using what they learn. They seem to have a great beginning and I'm excited to follow their progress.
|The corner of Bourbon and Canal|
|Carol Smith, dinner at Mr. B Bistro|
|The other half of our dinner party at Mr. B|
I wish I had pictures of the events that followed, but my camera battery was dying (Thus the blurriness of the last several) EDIT: Thanks to the magic of camera phones, I have both a picture by Fredrik of me dancing, and one of Fredrik.
After dinner we splintered into those who wanted to party and those who wanted to get back and rest. So I started back toward the hotel with the majority. But back on Bourbon Street, there was this crazy awesome brass band playing and a huge party in the street. People were dancing and singing. I did not want to just pass through that experience. Luckily, neither did one of my companions, Fredrik Ohlin. So the two of us tarried while the rest went on.
Oh, how do I describe the feeling? The music and the cameraderie was the drug. Yes, many were intoxicated, but the music...the music, it just lifted our spirits and made us ridiculously happy. It was boisterous and sometimes raunchy and so catchy you just couldn't help but move. As usually happens when I encounter good music, I began just tapping, tried to stay in my little corner and sway some more, then my feet just start going and my hips start shaking and it's all over. Next thing I know they are dragging me into the center of the ring and I am doing the Charleston and people are wide eyed and cheering and taking videos.
|Me dancing the Charleston in the crowd - by Fredrik|
So eventually the band stops playing and we start off again to the hotel. Guys were hawking CDs and I wanted one but I had already given them all my cash, but Fredrik gave them a 10 and wasn't even going to take a CD and I was like hey, buy it for me! So now I have a treasured memento. I listened to it this morning, it's the same song I was dancing to, with that same energy, and it puts me right back there.
Fredrik and I had a great chat on the way to the hotel. He is Swedish (I totally didn't know it at first he sounds like he's from Connecticut) and is working on his PhD and lecturing at Malmo University. So we were planning to go to the Boxes and Arrows birthday party but it started at 8:30 and it's about 10:30 before we're leaving Bourbon Street. By the time we get to the hotel bar where it is, it's just a clump of people deeply involved in conversation, there is no booze to be seen, and we just didn't know how to plug in. So we drifted across the way, following the scent of music, and discover a live (and very talented) band is playing at the main Hyatt restaurant. So I'm leaning up against the wall in the corner admiring the skills of the torch singer, and she sees us, sings to us, even waves at us. Fredrik is like "we could park here and listen" which sounds great to me, so he gets a gin and tonic, I get a water, and we find a spot on the upper level in front which is literally feet from the singer. She was so captivating. She had a solid musicality and voice, but what made her a great entertainer was her stage presence. She danced, flirted, bantered with the audience, and her face was marvelously expressive. It was hard to take your eyes off her. I kind of want to try that. It looks like so much fun.
I eventually caved and got a Kahlua and cream. Mmm. The bum thing was, our drinks arrived about midnight, they were on a song I didn't care for so much and I went to the bathroom, and when I came back, they were packing up! The star was nowhere in sight! It was so depressing. But I did get to chat with the other musicians a bit. The bassist played an acoustic. That's pretty rare.
So there we were with new drinks and no music. We wandered down to the piano, but didn't dare play it with the hotel staff patrolling like hawks. But it ended up being very pleasant, just having a quiet and thoughtful chat into the early morning hours.
|Fredrik, my Swedish friend|
IA Summit in New Orleans || 1 - Getting There || 2 - French Quarter Buskers || 3 - Rain on My Parade || 4 - New Ideas, New Friends, & Bourbon Street || 5 - The Festival, the City, & the Way Home