Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver Skyline Photo

Saturday February 18th, 2017

The theme of this year's World Information Architecture Day is Information Strategy and Structure.

Join us for a morning workshop ($30) and then for the afternoon event (free) featuring 30 minute talks and shorter lightning talks from members of the local IA community. Note: no lunch is provided.

We look forward to seeing you!


Vancouver Film School
Digital Design Campus 420 Homer Street, Vancouver, BC
Main Theatre

Doors located at 420 Homer, between Hastings & Pender.

Venue is close to public transit. Plenty of metered street parking. 

Program Schedule
Workshop Registration: 8:30 am - 9 am

If you are attending both the morning workshop and afternoon sessions, you can register for both in the morning.

9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Morning Workshop - Marianne Sweeney - The IA of AI ($30, includes coffee)

If you've noticed in increase in attention from the SEO down the hall, it is because Google has determined that UX is the most SEO-proof ranking ranking influence for search results. This is not the UX that we practice. It is UX that is calculated, not observed, predicted base on past behavior than informed by human understanding, determined by machine intelligence rather than guided by collaborative design thinking. In this workshop you will:

Learn about the ghosts in the machine with a brief introduction to the mechanics of information retrieval.

Find out more about your machine user algorithms: Hilltop (established the state of authority), Topic Sensitive PageRank (applies an ontology to the Web), Orion (creates relationships between concepts), Panda (measures content quality and user experience), Phantom (decide optimal site and page layout) and RankBrain (artificial intelligence that applies supervised learning to predict what the user wants to see).

Get prescriptive guidance on how to include machine users in your designs for human ones. And, by doing so, ensure that the human part of Human Computer interaction remains the driving force.

Afternoon Conference Registration: Noon - 1 pm


1:00 pm - 1:10 pm
Intro and Welcome from VFS & World IA Day Organizers
1:10 pm - 1:40 pm
Talk by Lorraine Chisholm - Put a Mental Model to Work: UX, Strategy, and Content

Are you intent on making your user research actionable and durable? A mental model is a strategic tool that is created based on generative research with users. It organizes the patterns of a user’s thoughts, behaviours, motivations and emotions so you can generate and prioritize features, products and content. It can also be used to align stakeholders, identify gaps, structure IA, and inform strategy. It allows you to design solutions that meet real customer needs.

Work at Play has created mental models for clients in a variety of industries: games, education, real estate, travel and professional organizations.

In this fast-paced talk, Lorraine Chisholm will run you through the why and how of this highly effective UX strategy tool!

1:45 pm - 2:15 pm
Talk by Melissa Breker - How to Use Content Mapping to Collaborate with Stakeholders

Abstract: Learn how you can use customer journeys as a way to uncover content requirements for your audience and plan for better content. 

It’s hard work getting people to change. The challenge is how to convince your team to work with content in a new way. It almost always boils down to the same thing.

It’s this:

Without the right motivation to change, people would rather stick to what they know, even if the status quo is more painful, ineffective, and unsatisfying. Like all strategic conversations, understanding your current situation and determining the readiness for change in your organization is an important first step in getting things done.

This presentation highlights how to bring teams together around content via customer journeys to bring a shared vision for your content. Through this approach, you can identify gaps in your current content and highlight opportunities to build a content mix that meets both business and audience goals.

2:15 pm - 2:35 pm
Coffee Break
2:40pm - 3:25 pm
Lightning Talks

5 minute lightning talks from members of our local IA community.

Hannah Wei - Lessons Learned Designing for an Emerging Mobile Market

The case study is, an expanding online grocery business in Zambia offering deliveries to families in suburban areas. We are working on a mobile app to help them take advantage of the growing market of inexpensive Android phone users in the country, and in central Africa in general.

Robin Rozhon - Structured data and SEO

Structured data has never been more important than today, therefore, semantic SEO should be an important part of every SEO strategy. Enhance your implementation of structured data and connect entities on multiple pages or even websites.

Suzy Gonzalez, Michelle Kang, Rajeshwari Keluskar, Julian Liao, Marly Marquez Ordaz and Gianna Vanoni - IA Lessons

What is IA? Why we need it? Interactive Digital Design students from VFS will present what they have learned about IA. 

Alan Etkin - Carved Code: Extending First Nations’ Storytelling into the Digital Sphere

How do you connect traditional cultures with digital natives? At BCIT we used technology – carving and coding – to create a highly unconventional website, breaking IA and UX conventions to challenge and engage users. The result is an oddly compelling website, extending First Nations storytelling into the digital sphere.

3:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Closing Keynote by Karyn Zuidinga - A Strategic Approach to IA

Remember the 3 click rule? 7 plus or minus 2? Bottom up vs. top down? Information Architecture has been around for nearly 40 years and throughout that time, the rules have changed, and continue to do so. The best practices we used to rely on are now insufficient and new best practices are being touted as the solution: content and mobile first, IA for SEO, task based IA, multi channel vs omni channel IA, etc.

But here’s the thing: The IA of any website, app, or workflow is the backbone, the framework upon which the product will succeed or fail, and thus it is also the framework for future innovation.

Karyn will explore the history of IA best practices and how a more strategic approach to your IA can also open the door to innovation.

4:00 - 4:15
Closing Comments & Prizes
Speakers & Presenters
Marianne Sweeny Photo
Marianne Sweeny
Daedalus Information Systems

Marianne is a Search Information architect, that is an SEO and information architect/user experience designer. Seven years ago, she first started advocating the relationship between information architecture, user experience and search engines. In 2010, Google made her seeming heresy dogma with Panda, their first step towards a user experience model of relevance ranking. Search engines and websites have gone farther down the road of use metrics associated with user experience to measure site quality.

Marianne is passionate about dissolving the silos between information architecture, content strategy and Web development to create a more unified approach to solving user needs for an optimal user experience.

Lorraine Chisholm photo
Lorraine Chisholm
Strategist and User Experience Consultant
Work at Play

Lorraine is a senior UX practitioner and strategist with over 22 years of experience in the digital design industry. She applies a broad range of expertise across disciplines to focus on designing products that deliver exceptional value with measurable business results to users and clients alike. She is passionate about creative collaboration, and guiding UX through a strategic practice.

She has successfully created and implemented digital strategies, user experience design, user research and testing on projects for the games and entertainment industries, as well as retail, travel, and education. She is an experienced educator and workshop leader.

As Director of User Experience and Strategy, she led the team and developed the user experience practice at Work at Play where she is now a senior consultant.

Melissa Breker Photo
Melissa Breker
Content Strategist and Co-Founder
Content Strategy Inc.

I'm a co-founder of Content Strategy Inc., a content strategy consultancy that solves business problems for financial institutions, government, and agencies. 

I've personally been working with content for over ten years with through in-house positions prior to founding Content Strategy Inc. With a background in marketing, I’ve created systems to support and develop targeted content. 

I like speaking and teaching. I’ve developed courses for the University of British Columbia, Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs.

Some of my specialties include content strategy, content marketing, and training and workshops.

Karyn Zuidinga Photo
Karyn Zuidinga
Senior Director of User Experience (UX)
FCV Interactive

Karyn is one of FCV's strongest champions for evidence-based strategy and design. She helps to lead the team gathering insights and validating findings to produce elegant UX solutions across our largest and most complex accounts. 

Before FCV, Karyn ran Analytic Design Group (ADGi), one of the top user experience consultancies on the West Coast - acquired by FCV in 2016. She grew from being a solo entrepreneur to leading a vibrant team of expert practitioners in user research, UX strategy and design. With Karyn at the helm, ADGi delivered innovative UX solutions for clients including AT&T, Amazon, Adobe, BC Government, BC Housing, Capital Group and Samsung.

Karyn also teaches UX Strategy, a course in the Digital Strategy Certificate Program at UBC Continuing Studies - and has also developed their online UX Strategy course.

Hannah Wei Photo
Hannah Wei
Design Consultant

Hannah is an independent design consultant. After exiting her startup,, in 2013, she traveled and worked in 8 different countries. Her work focuses on helping businesses design digital products and strategies to build trust and bridge the gap between diverse communities. In the past, she had worked with teams at the MIT Media Lab, Facebook, and Canadian Forces.

Robin Rozhon Photo
Robin Rozhon
SEO Specialist

Robin is an online marketer focused on improving the visibility and performance of websites through diverse channels. Specializing in technical SEO, and passionate about semantic SEO and web analytics.

Alan Etkin Photo
Alan Etkin
Senior Analyst
British Columbia Institute of Technology

Alan Etkin is a Senior Analyst at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. He's been building and managing high volume transactional sites for almost 20 years. With a background in IA, UX and analytics, he’s frequently found sharing insights through presentations at conferences in Canada and in the United States.

Photo of Suzy Gonzalez
Suzy Gonzalez

Suzy Gonzalez is an interactive digital design student at VFS

Photo of Rajeshwari Keluskar
Rajeshwari Keluskar

Rajeshwari Keluskar is an interactive digital design student at VFS

Photo of Marly Marquez Ordaz
Marly Marquez Ordaz

Marly Marquez Ordaz is an interactive digital design student at VFS

Photo of Michelle Kang
Michelle Kang

Michelle Kang is an interactive digital design student at VFS

Photo of Julian Liao
Julian Liao

Julian Liao is an interactive digital design student at VFS

Photo of Gianna Vanoni
Gianna Vanoni

Gianna Vanoni is an interactive digital design student at VFS

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