iSchool Alumni Take Information Architecture Conference 2021 by Storm

Information Architecture (IA), Knowledge Management (KM), and User Experience Design (UXD) alumni are involved in exciting efforts at the Information Architecture Conference (IAC) this month. Many alumni have volunteered to help run the IAC for many years, and 2021 is no different.

Alex Stapleton, M.S. '20 (UXD), UX/UI Designer at Quest Diagnostics, is working on content and visual design for the conference, while Alesha Arp, M.S. '14 (IAKM and UXD), an experienced UX researcher and designer, is leading the conference’s social media efforts.

Alesha also will present a workshop at the IAC with Scott Ryan-Hart, M.S. ‘15 (UXD), Vice President of User Experience at Chase. In addition, a recent graduate of the UXD program, Elizabeth Gould, M.S. ‘19 (UXD), is an IAC Equity Scholarship recipient this year.

Developing & Creating the Workshop

Alesha and Scott’s workshop, “Emerge User Needs in Your Information Architecture with a Usage Maturity Matrix,” will take place virtually on April 19, 2021, from 2:00pm to 5:00pm (EDT) and registration is open to all. Participants will learn how to create a Usage Maturity Matrix for the process, product, or place they are designing, and how to use this matrix to guide them through challenging information architecture decisions.

Alesha and Scott started creating the Usage Maturity Matrix as part of their capstone project at Kent State, facilitated by UXD professor David Robins. After completing the project, the two continued to explore how users approach a process, product, or place with various comfort levels and certain tasks to accomplish.

Not only have Alesha and Scott grown accustomed to collaborating across time zones from completing their capstone project together remotely, but they also have become close friends. The biggest challenge they faced when creating this workshop was finding enough time to focus on their work while also staying up to date on one another’s personal and professional lives.

“One of the big motivating factors for the two of us in developing and promoting this tool, is that it helps remove the -isms that so often exist in design personas,” Alesha says. “This tool makes it much easier to work collaboratively with cross functional teams, because it helps us speak each other‘s language and work in respect to each team’s respective constraints and priorities.”

About the Scholarship
Headshot of Elizabeth Gould

The IAC Scholarship Program offers scholarships to students and practitioners from underrepresented backgrounds to assist them with attending the conference and gaining leadership positions in the information architecture community. The Equity Scholarship supports the IA and UXD communities and allows out-of-work practitioners the chance to continue their professional development.

Scholarship recipient and recent UXD program graduate, Elizabeth Gould, is an aspiring Information Architect. This year will be her first time attending IAC. "My takeaway goals are to expand my working knowledge of IA and what it can do, how IA is changing due to the rapidly expanding needs of society, and obtain experience by simply working alongside fellow professionals," she says. "Something I love about the UX field is, regardless of an individual's time within the profession, anyone can bring different knowledge-based tools to the table and is given a platform to share that knowledge."

Elizabeth currently works as a Stacks Management Supervisor at Kent State University Libraries. She began her career 13 years ago at Kent State University Libraries where she managed three different departments while pursuing her graduate degree.

“I met and was extremely impressed by Elizabeth at World IA Day, Kent 2020 (WIAD Kent) where Scott and I presented the precursor to our IAC workshop,” Alesha says. “She is one of the practitioners I have been mentoring and I see huge promise in her.”

POSTED: Thursday, April 15, 2021 11:33 AM
Updated: Friday, December 9, 2022 02:38 PM
Julia Stone