World IA Day Conference

330 University Library

Kent State University's School of Library and Information Science / User Experience Design (UXD) program will once again serve as a local host for World IA Day, scheduled for 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 18, 2017. World Information Architecture Day is a one-day annual celebration hosted by the Information Architecture Institute and held in dozens of locations across the globe. This year's event features 58 locations, 24 countries and 5 continents.

A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided at the Kent State site. All sessions will take place on the third floor of the University Library. Free parking is available behind the library in the R6 lot on Eastway Drive across from Manchester Hall. The event is free to attend, but registration is required for the Kent State event.



8-9 a.m. Registration / Continental Breakfast / Networking

9 a.m.

Keynote: Visual Representations of Knowledge Structures – Dr. Marcia Lei Zeng

Visual representations reflecting the order and structure of knowledge -- for example, the metaphorical structure of a tree or a diagram for combinatory-logic concepts -- have been used for thousands of years. Many modern computerized visual deliveries of information and knowledge can trace their roots to the graphic works found in early prints, manuscripts, and other artifacts. This presentation aims to connect theories and practices, trace the roots of certain structures, norms, and best practices, explore the differences among applications, and discuss the functions of visual representations of knowledge structures.

Marcia Lei Zeng, Ph.D., is a professor of library and information science at Kent State University. She holds a Ph.D. from the School of Information Sciences at University of Pittsburgh (USA) and M.A. from Wuhan University (China). Her major research interests include knowledge organization systems (taxonomy, thesaurus, ontology, etc.), Linked Data, metadata and markup languages, database quality control, multilingual and multi-culture information processing, and digital libraries for cultural objects. Her scholarly publications consist of more than 80 papers and five books, as well as about 200 national and international conference presentations, invited lectures and keynote speeches. She was the P.I. and Co-P.I. of two National Science Foundation's (NSF) National Science Digital Library (NSDL) projects. She currently is the P.I. of an IMLS funded Linked Data project. In 2014 she was elected inaugural chair of the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) Advisory Board and also was recognized by Kent State University for Outstanding Research and Scholarship. In 2016 she was a Fulbright Scholar Award winner to Taiwan and received the President’s Faculty Excellence Award from Kent State President Beverly Warren. 

10-10:15 a.m. Break

10 a.m. – Noon

Workshop: Let's Build a Knowledge Ecosystem – Edwin K. Morris

Perfectly aligned to the 2017 theme, the aim of this workshop is to create experiential learning about designing the relationships of data, information, knowledge and culture. The examples will be the actual design of Pioneer Knowledge Services (PKS) and looking at Holocracy to be the operating structure. Rethinking the organizational design is the learning objective ... engage open minds. Attendees will be given a scenario and initial concepts and then challenged to design a knowledge ecosystem for the nonprofit PKS. PKS is the nation’s first Knowledge Management nonprofit.

Edwin K. Morris is the president and founder of Pioneer Knowledge Services (PKS), a non-profit organization with a charitable Knowledge Management (KM) purpose. PKS, the first of its kind in the USA, serves to educate the general public about KM and to offer services to nonprofits to build KM capacities and awareness. PKS's mission is to inspire cultures that value knowledge. Morris earned his B.A. in Speech Communications while serving on the student government, in Pennsylvania’s Army National Guard and while working as a morning radio show host on WFSE-FM, Edinboro University’s student-run radio station. While serving at Aberdeen Proving Ground in the US Army he earned a graduate certificate from Central Michigan University in General Administration in 2004. He earned a Master of Science with a KM concentration from Kent State University in 2012.; @InnovatingKM


10:15-11 a.m.

A) 211 Taxonomy: An Information Strategy and Structure for Communicating Social Services — Elizabeth Kargbo

During this presentation, I will explain how the 211 Taxonomy provides a national utilized terminology so that various 211 accredited providers, vendors, social service agencies and consumers can communicate more effectively. Because of the Taxonomy, data regarding available social service resources can be shared locally, regionally, statewide or nationally. This ability to communicate outside organizational silos allows for opportunities to share data for quality improvement, strategic planning, service delivery improvements and funding and revenue purposes.

Elizabeth Kargbo is the Manager, 211 Information and Referral, for Info Line, Inc., in Akron where she has been employed for nearly 16 years. She oversees all aspects of the program including supervising staff, services, the database, software and phone systems, social media, and special projects. The 2-1-1 Summit database consists of approximately 1,200 agencies and over 9,300 services, and the 2-1-1 Lorain database contains about another 350 unique agencies and 2,700 services. Last year, her staff assisted 65,000 callers in Summit County and 13,000 in Lorain County. Also, community agencies and the pubic visited over 105,000 times and over 25,000 times. Recently, Elizabeth spearheaded projects such as revamping the websites, a 2-1-1 Lorain County App, and 2-1-1 OnDemand Text service for Summit County.

11-11:15 a.m. Break


A) The UX Unicorn Is Dead: Soft Skills Beat Coding Skills – Paul Sherman

Why do so many internal UXers feel like they have to fight to get UX research and design done? Is it because we're not unicorns, that is, UX researchers, designers AND front-end developers? I say no. UXers are good at exploring design and solution spaces. But many of us aren’t so good at: 

  • Articulating an experience vision that’s aligned with business goals, and influencing product vision through user research dissemination.
  • Doing the slow, steady work of aligning the organization around user needs.

This talk will explore how UXers can reject the false proposition of the "UX unicorn" and become more effective by developing soft skills.

Paul Sherman has worked in user experience since the days of dial-up. He is the founder of ShermanUX, a user experience research and design consultancy. He has conducted user research, usability testing and UX design for mobile, web and desktop in many domains including accounting; banking; e-commerce; financial planning and portfolio management; healthcare; mobile gaming; mobile device hardware and software; network, server and cloud application security; tax preparation; and travel, among others. He also creates and teaches graduate courses in user experience research and design at Kent State University, where is he an Assistant Professor and Coordinator for the User Experience Design master’s. During the 2000s he was Senior Director of User-Centered Design at Sage Software in Atlanta, Georgia, where he led efforts to redesign the UI and workflow for Peachtree Accounting and several other business management desktop and web-based products. Before that he was User-Centered Design Manager at Intuit. In the 1990s he was a Member of Technical Staff at Lucent Technologies. Paul received his Ph.D. in 1997 from the University of Texas at Austin.

B) The nuts and bolts of gis_elevating the lowly arcreader – john woodard

Description and presenter bio to come...

Noon-1 p.m. Lunch

1-1:45 p.m.

A) IA Thinking: How Information Architecture Drives the Future of Everything – Jonathan Morgan

The reality we live in is one where people expect anytime, anywhere access to the information they need. The complexity of the challenges Information Architects face isn’t limited to the structure and presentation of this information. We are tasked with collecting myriad points of data and making sense of this information in real-time. Information Architects are uniquely positioned to drive the future of Artificial Intelligence, VR, AR, and Pervasive and Contextual Computing, in general. Through a series of case studies, personal accounts, and historic examples, I will show how thinking and acting like an Information Architect will drive strategy and innovation in these emerging fields and just about any design/information challenge presented us. The future will reveal that IA Thinking is the new Design Thinking.

Over the past two decades, Jonathan Morgan has navigated the ever-changing landscape of experience design with the heart, passion, and resourcefulness of an entrepreneur. His guiding principle is that deeply engaging and innovative design is not defined by a technology or material, but rather by the unique value it provides the people using it. He believes the only reliable strategies for uncovering this value is through a human-centered approach, where generative research drives strategic decision making. Jonathan has led multidisciplinary research, design and development teams for some of the world’s most iconic brands. Much of his most recent work focuses on contextual experiences – from Industry 4.0 IoT initiatives, to physical and digital home automation products, to highly complex surgical devices. Jonathan is the Director of Emerging Experiences at Balance Product Development as well as a key advisor to several tech startups. He has his MS in Information Architecture and Knowledge Management - UX Design - from Kent State University and currently serves in an advisory role for multiple universities to assist in the evolution of business school curriculum to include more immersive, design–centered methodologies.

B) Strategies for Structuring Ethnographic User Data – Leah Ogonek

Ethnographic user research generates vast amounts of unstructured data. Method books and articles can be a little vague on how to translate that data into insights about users. So how do we know we’re uncovering the kind of insights we’ll need to inform our designs? Some practitioners suggest analysis happens naturally. But we can set our efforts up for success by being intentional in how we plan to handle our data, before we’ve collected any. Join me for a discussion on approaches to structuring ethnographic data that considers goals, data integrity, formats, who is doing analysis, bias, deliverables and more.

Leah Ogonek is a User Experience Designer currently working for Westfield Insurance. She has an undergraduate degree in Anthropology from Cleveland State University where she focused on Central America and Archaeology. She also has a graduate degree in Information Architecture & Knowledge Management from Kent State University with a focus in Information Use. Leah resides in Cuyahoga Falls with her husband and son.

1:45-2 p.m. Break

2-2:45 p.m.

A) The Call for UX Leadership – Darren Hood

Since the advent of the Internet, the world of UX has grown exponentially. Application and adoption of UX has, in kind, broadened dramatically, but there is still one major shortage — UX LEADERSHIP. As a result of this deficit, the field is being misdefined and occupied by unqualified people, threatening its growth, understanding, and well-being. This presentation will address the need for leaders and share ways to mature into a leader.

Darren Hood is extremely passionate about all things UX, holding 20 years of experience in human-computer interaction, with the last 14+ years focusing on UX and CX. He currently serves as a Manager of User Experience and UX Champion for Bosch’s Automotive Aftermarket division in the U.S., also supporting various UX initiatives in EMEA and Asia-Pacific. Darren also serves as an adjunct professor for Kent State University’s UX Design Master's program, teaches UX seminars and workshops for Grand Circus in Detroit, and is in the process of designing UX-related software tutorials for the media division of O’Reilly Publishing. He holds a M.S. from Syracuse in Information Management, a M.S. in User Experience Design from Kent State, and a grad certificate in Educational Technology from Michigan State. He's currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Educational Technology and Design.

B) Content Curation: Human Users vs. Technology — Shari Thurow

Digital content curation is the process of gathering, sifting, organizing, and sharing the best, most relevant content on a specific topic and presenting this content in a meaningful way to users. Content should be meaningful to both people and technology. Many online technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), interpret the information on digital documents and present it to their human users. This session covers information architecture activities that will help both people and technologies more accurately interpret the information available on different digital documents and on different devices (desktop/laptop, mobile, tablet). Session will also cover updated information-seeking goals and interactions.

Shari Thurow is the Founder of Omni Marketing Interactive, a full-service website usability, information architecture (IA), and search engine optimization (SEO) firm. She has optimized, architected, and designed websites since 1995. She currently serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the ASLIB Journal of Information Management (AJIM). She also served on the Board of Directors of the Information Architecture Institute (IAI) and User Experience Professionals Organization (UXPA). Clients include the National Cancer Institute, Huffington Post, ABC News, WebMD, Encyclopedia Britannica, Expedia, Home Depot, Fisher Price, Angie’s List, Sony Music, and Microsoft. Shari is the co-author of When Search Meets Web Usability” which shows how to bridge the gap between search-engine results pages and your website. She is also the author of Search Engine Visibility.

2:45-3 p.m. Break

3-3:45 p.m.

A) Going beyond Google Analytics to Improve UI/UX - Todd Bertsch

Everyone uses Google analytics to track visitors to their website; however it's very surface level. There are other affordable tools that provide better information to help make data driven decisions. This “how-to” session along with a few case studies will explore how tools like Crazyegg and Mouseflow can help you learn about your users quickly and cost effectively.

Todd Bertsch, Owner/President of Evolve Creative Group, is a leader in web design and digital marketing with over 20 years’ experience in these fields. Todd is also an award-winning web designer, author, educator and lecturer, and speaks regularly throughout the region on various web-related topics. He also serves on several nonprofit marketing committees. Todd holds a BFA from The University of Akron in graphic design and is an advocate for strong UI/UX.

B) UX Research and Testing Techniques to Improve the Success of Your Navigation — Marc Anthony Majers

In order to reduce navigation challenges in your app or software, you need to continually review design guidelines, conduct research and usability testing. There are many simple UX research techniques you can run on a continual basis to combat bad navigation. In this presentation, discover some examples of common navigation mistakes. Then find out how to apply some simple research techniques like card sorts and surveys to prevent these issues. Also, you will review a couple usability testing examples and find out some simple testing techniques like AB testing and remote testing that can help improve conversions. What are they? What are the different types? When would you use one? How can they be valuable? What tools can you use to conduct one?

Marc Majers ( has worked in application, software and website design for over 20 years, won some industry awards, and ultimately gained skills in e-commerce, user research, interaction design, digital strategy, conversion rate optimization (CRO), and usability testing. As a user experience designer, he takes pride in ensuring that the product he is creating efficiently meets the needs of the user - he likes to understand the challenge, come up with options that solve the problem, and discover the improvements needed prior to launch. Marc is passionate about technology, always striving to bring 100% to the work that he does, and his goal as a designer is to develop not just digital products that solve business problems but ultimately create a positive memorable experience that evokes a user to take action and return later.  He recently graduated with a Master of Science in Information Architecture & Knowledge Management with an emphasis in User Experience Design from Kent State University. He is Google Analytics certified and became a Certified Usability Analyst (CUA) from Human Factors International. In his spare time, Marc likes to DJ weddings, compose piano compositions, write (check out his book Don't Fear The Forward: The Secret to Building Successful Web Design), volunteer (he started a non-profit called Leading Hands Through Technology) and teach (he is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Akron).

4-4:15 p.m. Wrap Up/Networking/Giveaways