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Providence 2024

Rhode Island United States


North America

World IA Day is the one day a year the information architecture, UX, design, and content communities get together for a global conference with many local celebrations, curated and organized by volunteers around the world.

Join us March 2 in Providence

  • March 2, 2024, from 9 a.m. to noon (doors open at 8:30 a.m.)
  • Sprout Coworking - Olneyville, Providence, RI

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Event date
Sat, 2 March 2024

Venue, parking and transit

Sprout Coworking - Olneyville
166 Valley Street, Building 6M, Providence, RI 02909

Parking: Free parking is abundant! Park in any of the Rising Sun Mills lots.

Public transit: RIPTA routes 17, 19, 27, 29, 92

Sprout is accessible for wheelchair users.


Doors open at 8:30!

We'll start promptly at 9 a.m. and wrap up at noon.

There will be bagels, coffee, and tea!

9-9:15 a.m.


9:15 a.m.

Scott Kubie: What Even Is a Website?

Websites. We work on them. Visit them. Use them and load them. Build them and code them. Design and redesign, launch and relaunch.

But what *are* they?

The dictionary definition of website isn’t very useful when it comes to understanding the contexts our stakeholders, audiences, and collaborators use to think about the web. Metaphors to the rescue!

The most popular metaphors draw from the building arts — “build” a website, information “architecture”. But these construction metaphors tend to emphasize the people creating websites more than those using them, or relying on them to meet their business goals.

So let’s try out some new ones. In this session, content strategy’s King of Swords (it’s a whole thing, you’ll have to ask) Scott Kubie will share seven fresh metaphors that offer new contexts for talking about the role and nature of websites in our lives.

Speaker: Scott Kubie

9:35 a.m.

J. Hogue: How a Design Agency Approaches IA

Coauthors: Ashley Estes, Alyssa Varsanyi

Digital agencies approach IA differently from academic institutions, government, Marketing agencies, and internal project teams managing large volumes of content. Oomph is a digital design and development agency that focuses on clients in the health and wellness, higher education, government & municipalities, cultural institutions, and environmental non-profits. Even with that range of clientele, we have a unified approach when it comes to information architecture.

Information Architecture is an important aspect of setting customer expectations and communicating initial Voice and Tone of the company's brand. Our approach meets customer's with sections in the IA that feel "intuitive" but also ones that provide "surprise" unique to the client's business.

Speaker: J. Hogue

9:55 a.m.

Marissa Epstein: It Depends: Adapting systems across contexts

Strategists often face criticism for offering such vague responses like “it depends”. However, web experiences truly do depend on a multitude of diverse elements: who is using a site, their goals, device and connection speeds, other expectations, ability, and even mood– not to mention the myriad of factors within each unique project. How can we ensure that our work will genuinely meet user needs and deliver value?

Aligned with WIAD’s 2024 theme of “Context”, User Experience Strategist Marissa Epstein explores the importance of understanding different situations in crafting inclusive and adaptable systems. Join her talk for the what, the why, and the how of adapting experiences across contexts, supported by tangible examples and a touch of nonsense.

Speaker: Marissa Epstein

10:15 a.m.

Coffee Break!

10:30 a.m.

Lightning Talks! (5 minutes each)

Erynn Petersen: CPT Codes: The Killer Rabbit of Healthcare

Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes dictate what treatments get reimbuseed in healthcare. Medical practitioners can't get paid for a procedure unless they can get reimbursed for a procedure. Started with good intent (making it easier to process reimbursement for services) CPT codes now dictate everything from the services you receive, to the services that are recommended. Could the Amazon ASIN/ISBN model provide a way forward toward a competing information structure?

Clinton Van Arnam: is a project that uses facial recognition technology to monitor the user's eye movements using their computer's camera. Each time the user blinks, the system not only generates a new daily headline from the New York Times, but also initiates a timer to measure the duration the user spends reading this headline. The time taken to read the headline influences the next interaction: the longer the reading time, the more intense and noisy the sound generated upon the user's subsequent blink. The use of consumer-grade equipment to track involuntary body movements, raises questions about vulnerability, privacy, hyperstimulation, and surveillance in our heavily media-influenced world.

Jeremy Ferris: Migrating a Library's Digital Repository

In this session I will talk about the migration of Providence Public Library's 18,000 item digital repository onto Islandora 8, a Drupal based content management system from an out-of-date legacy version of the platform. In addition to a general overview of the project, I'll talk about the process from my perspective within the library including communication between developers and those with expertise in other fields, how decisions are made, successes and challenges. I'll open a discussion to learn about how the work of developers and clients can be in alignment, and thinking about the parts of one another's work that are not apparent to the other.

Your talk here!

We're keeping a couple of lightning talk slots open for the day of the conference. If you're inspired, sign up!

11:05 a.m.

Gabriel Drozdov: Website As Stage: What performance studies can teach us about user experience

Modern-day web design usually consists of a few columns of vertically scrolling content, sometimes referred to as the “holy grail” layout. Occasionally, we’ll see something out of the ordinary — an interactive 3D model for example — but in most cases these disruptions to the norm don’t fundamentally change the site’s user experience. The mission is still to give users as much content as possible with as little friction as possible.

What if instead we reconsidered the entire idea of a website to focus on the user experience itself, not on the content? In this talk, Gabriel Drozdov will talk about how unconventional UI/UX decisions can reshape the meaning and impact of websites, transforming the user’s relationship to content. By pulling ideas from performance studies, we can design websites to function like stages or theaters where meaning is generated through a user’s interaction with content, not just through their consumption of content.

By shifting our perspective in this way, we can ask exciting new questions: What does it mean for a web page to scroll horizontally, not vertically? What if the page doesn’t scroll at all, and the user moves like they’re in a video game? What if the page doesn’t always tell the user the truth? To tackle these questions and more, Gabriel will share examples from the design and development processes for his own work and the field at large.

Speaker: Gabriel Drozdov

11:25 a.m.

Steph Orme: How video games are leveling up accessibility

Over the last decade, video games have made large strides in making gaming more accessible to players with a wide range of disabilities, both visible and non-visible. From high contrast color settings to control remapping, game developers are working to further empower their players by giving them in-game cues and customizability. Steph will draw on over a decade of her research on video games, player psychology, and gaming culture to highlight some notable examples of how accessibility features are enhancing information architecture in today's video games.

But how do we build in all of these features while still maintaining the immersive quality of gaming? In the spirit of the conference theme, "Context," Steph will discuss the tensions between accessibility in games and immersion.

Even if you're not a game developer or a gamer, many of the topics discussed span the broader context of digital platforms and technology.

Speaker: Steph Orme

11:45 a.m.

Wrap up, prize drawings and goodbye