EuroIA: Closing Plenary, Mags Hanley

Industry veteran Mags Hanley finished off the conference on an inspirational note. She had been away from IA for a few years due to health and reflected on what she noticed on returning to the industry. She sees a number of ways that the discipline, but above all, she's proud to be an IA and wants others to be the same.


  1. Hanley started off with a proclamation of identity:
    "I'm proud to call myself an information architect. Not an interaction designer, not a user experience designer … an IA."
  2. However, having come back to the field after a few years away, she had a few concerns. 

    The field seemed to have lost the fundamentals. 

    A recent IA Summit was all about content modelling rather than IA. She recently went on a speaking tour with Louis Rosenfeld, who shared a 'dirty secret' with her … some of his slides were ten years old. But it turned out he did need them. People in the audience didn't know the fundamental of information architecture such as sub-navigation and trails….

    She also took on a recent "taxonomy job", where she found out no one had done any IA work. There was a prototype, but no thought to the structure, or how they could use what content they had available.

  3. A Short History of IA (through books):

    The different colors of polar bear: Peter Morville's first edition was almost a UX book, it was so broad, but as the colours have changed, but got narrower with each edition.

  4. In a fun aside, she got us doing IA Bingo (very different from the IA BS one earlier today from the conference organisers!). We had to match the terms up with images she flashed up on the screen. 
  5. IA Bingo (top left to bottom right): Audience, Site map, product index, indices, price, subject, format, task, geographical, A-Z index, chronological, theme, topic guide, popularity, TOC, recommendations