In IA Thought, Information Architecture

Blend Conference WebsiteI had the pleasure of being asked to speak at the first ever Blend Conference, held in Charlotte, NC, last week.

Blend is the brainchild of the amazing Bermon Painter, who has been a force of nature in North Carolina over the last few years, organizing one great community event after another.

Blend’s concept: Three days, where the first is for workshops, the second is for regular “conference” content in “tracks,” and the third is a “blend” day, specifically for pushing practitioners out of their comfort zones to learn new things from other practices and disciplines.
Another part of the concept: except for the workshop day, no personal devices allowed out during sessions, insuring better focus and less back-channel noise during the talks.

I found it to be a really refreshing atmosphere due to the purposefully cross-disciplinary program, and everyone actually seemed relieved to have an excuse to cut themselves off from the cloud during the day. The show sold out to over 300 attendees—which is pretty amazing for a first-time conference, especially with so many other events going on these days. And I heard nothing but positive feedback from everyone I spoke with. Personally, I think we need even more of these cross-disciplinary gatherings, where developers, business analysts, designers, architects, marketing folks, writers, content strategists—and on and on—are all in one place on purpose, sharing their perspectives. I can’t recommend attending highly enough.

My talk was a newer version of a talk I’ve been doing in various incarnations through the year: The World is the Screen: Understanding Information Environments. The more I develop and share this material, the more positive the feedback. I think that’s partly because people are seeing how fractured and pervasive the digital dimension is becoming, and they’re a little overwhelmed with how to design for a world where our bathroom scales can talk to our sneakers, and anything we interact with could possibly be both networked and have a unique interaction language of its own.

This version of the talk’s slides (with notes) are available here.

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