Seattle, Washington, United States

The Seattle Space Needle is seen behind an abstract sculpture.

Saturday February 18th, 2017

World IA Day Seattle will be held at General Assembly, located on the third floor of the art deco Seattle Tower at 1218 Third Avenue.

Registration is open now. Head over to our Eventbrite page and sign up to join us.

Event Date and Time
World IA Day Seattle will be held all over the world on Saturday, February 18th, 2017.

This Year’s Theme: Information Strategy & Structure
In today’s world, organizations are required to rethink how to architect and manage information to maintain a competitive and organizational edge. Many are embracing strategies that are more flexible, moving away from isolated systems and departmental silos. These organizations recognize the need for information to be structured so that it is consistent, transparent, findable and understandable.

But, the need for information strategy and structure extends beyond the enterprise. Whether information is architected to inform algorithms, to bring awareness to important societal challenges, or to clearly communicate available resources to help those in need; information strategy and structure plays an important role in our everyday lives.

The Seattle Event
This year’s event will combine in-person presentations from local and visiting IA professionals and live streams of talks from other WIAD locations around the world. And, of course, we'll close the day with a happy hour so you can mix and mingle with these and other like-minded IA professionals and enthusiasts.

About World IA Day
World Information Architecture Day is a global one-day conference hosted annually by the Information Architecture Institute and held simultaneously in selected cities all over the world. Each year, a new theme is selected, new cities are added, and our community continues to grow as more people from all across the world join this truly global celebration of Information Architecture.

About IAI
The Information Architecture Institute is a non-profit organization empowering local communities to shape the global practice of information architecture by providing places to share and opportunities to learn.

Social Media
We're on Twitter @WIADseattle. Use the hashtag #WIADseattle or #WIADsea17.

You can also Like us on Facebook.

Get Involved
If you would like to volunteer or sponsor please get in touch at:


General Assembly Seattle
1218 Third Avenue, 3rd Floor, Seattle WA 98101


Here's a map to the Seattle Tower.

MetroSound Transit and Light Rail will get you to within walking distance of General Assembly. (The Union Street light rail station is right across the street from Seattle Tower.)

If you're driving, check out Parkopedia.

Program Schedule
9:30 - 12:00
Informal Morning Session

We'll be streaming talks from other WIAD locations all morning. Drop in, if you're so inclined, and have a cup of coffee with us.

12:30 - 1:30
Leslie Owens - Enterprise Perspectives on Information Architecture

In her role as Executive Director of MIT CISR (Center for Information Systems Research), Leslie works closely with CIOs at large global companies. In this keynote, she will examine the priorities and choices that senior leaders face today, and how those decisions may influence a firm’s information strategy.  Drawing on insights from research at MIT CISR, Leslie will explore the tension that information architects experience as they try to structure information within a firm that is undergoing digital transformation.

1:35 - 2:05
Nick Sweers - Personalized Help: Using IA to Create a Unique Support Experience

Nick will detail how his team, together with Expedia's Global Learning Organization (GLO), re-engineered a bland, boring help site into a state-of-the-art support experience for Expedia's hotel partners worldwide.

2:05 - 2:20
2:20 - 2:50
Catherine Ho - Disorder to clarity: storytelling + marketing campaigns

This talk takes a close look at digital design for marketing campaigns and the communication that takes place between functional partners.  Catherine will provide a walkthrough of the experience design process and artifacts that helped REI gain cross-functional alignment in an e-commerce environment.

2:55 - 3:25
Andrew Morton

Andrew is a CMS developer at Forum One, where he helps large non-profits and organizations achieve success in their missions through digital platforms.  He runs the Seattle Drupal User Group (SeaDUG) and bi-weekly office hours for budding web devs.

Andrew will share his experience developing CMS solutions designed to support robust information architecture and allow for easy content editing, organizing, and display.

3:30 - 4:00
Michael Uschold - Ontology and IA

Michael has over twenty-five years’ experience in developing and transitioning semantic technology from academia to industry. He pioneered the field of ontology engineering, co-authoring the first paper and giving the first tutorial on the topic in 1995 in the UK.  

Michael will discuss the role that ontologies can play in information rich IA projects. This talk will start with an overview of ontologies and business benefits they can bring to IA projects. Using case studies he’ll cover the pros and cons of using an ontology instead of a taxonomy and then describe how ontologies can fit into an IA project.

4:00 - 4:30
All Speakers - Q&A Time
4:30 - 5:30
Happy Hour
Speakers & Presenters
Image of Leslie Owens
Leslie Owens
Executive Director & MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer
MIT Sloan School of Management

Leslie joined the MIT Sloan School of Management in 2015 as a senior lecturer and executive director of MIT CISR. She oversees CISR’s operations and is responsible for optimizing the impact of CISR research findings with academics, executives, and the general public. She also serves as a faculty mentor for a Sloan Action Learning course on enterprise transformation.

Leslie has worked in business technology for over twenty years as a practitioner, research analyst, and consultant. Before MIT CISR, she was a vice president and research director at Forrester Research where she managed a team of analysts and was responsible for leading research projects, delivering research and consulting services to clients, and speaking at major industry events.

Image of Nick Sweers
Nick Sweers
Senior Manager

Nick Sweers currently manages a team of content specialists for Expedia's B2B support organization, Global Supply Operations. Nick has been with Expedia for just over 2 years, having rolled out an internal knowledge base, a customer-facing knowledge base, an email template program, and a support process communications program. The focus of Nick's team is simple: help customers find the right information at the right time. His relentless focus on both content discoverability and content quality has been instrumental in helping drive forward an improved customer service experience for Expedia's hotel partners worldwide.

Prior to Expedia, Nick spent just over 3 years at Amazon, where he managed an Information Architecture team in Amazon's Customer Service organization. Before Amazon, Nick got his first taste of IA working in the eCommerce division at REI, where he led a project to roll out product refinements across the entire website. While Nick has not focused exclusively on IA in his current role at Expedia, his background in the discipline has been instrumental in ensuring all his content deliverables are built upon a solid foundation of IA.

Image of Catherine Ho
Catherine Ho
Senior UX Designer

Catherine Ho is a Senior User Experience Designer at REI, where she designs experiences at the intersection of physical stores and digital spaces. She spent several years in nonprofit fundraising research before practicing UX research at Bolt Peters and Intuit. A retired semi-professional oboist, Catherine studied Music Performance and Culture & Social Anthropology at Stanford University. In her spare time, she enjoys hand lettering, discovering the outdoors, photography, cooking, and exploring cities.

Image of Andrew Morton
Andrew Morton
CMS Developer
Forum One

Andrew Morton is a CMS developer at Forum One, where he helps large non-profits and organizations achieve success in their missions through digital platforms. A degree in Informatics from University of Washington provided a foundation in Information Architecture and User Centered Design, which has been instrumental in his work that sits between clients and development teams. Most of his experience is in Drupal, with a little Wordpress on the side. He runs the Seattle Drupal User Group (SeaDUG) and bi-weekly office hours for budding web devs.

Image of Michael Uschold
Michael Uschold
Senior Ontology Consultant
Semantic Arts

Michael Uschold has over twenty-five years’ experience in developing and transitioning semantic technology from academia to industry. He pioneered the field of ontology engineering, co-authoring the first paper and giving the first tutorial on the topic in 1995 in the UK.

As a senior ontology consultant at Semantic Arts since October 2010, Michael trains and guides clients to better understand and leverage semantic technology. He has built commercial enterprise ontologies in digital asset management, finance, healthcare, legal research, consumer products, electrical devices, manufacturing and corporation registration. More recently he has focused on how to combine less formal knowledge organization systems such as thesauri and taxonomies with formal ontology to integrate disparate corporate knowledge assets.

During 2008-2009, Uschold worked at Reinvent on a team that developed a semantic advertising platform that substantially increased revenue. As a research scientist at Boeing from 1997-2008 he defined, led and participated in numerous projects applying semantic technology to enterprise challenges. He is a frequent invited speaker and panelist at national and international events, and serves on the editorial board of the Applied Ontology Journal. He received his Ph.D. in AI from Edinburgh University in 1991 and an MSc. from Rutgers University in Computer Science in 1982.

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