Peter began IDEA 2010 with a very pointed question: “What is this conference? (UX? or IA?) Do we care?” It’s a question that has been a repeated one within the UX community. Here’s my notes below.

He pointed out, “It’s really two ways of looking at the same thing.” Diversity creates value. We need CEO’s, content strategists, etc.” We’re all responsible for more areas of interest. Most sit in the middle between tactical and strategic. He often says, “I am an IA. I map paths and places across physical, digital, & cognitive spaces.” The IA is a map maker. Maps aren’t just about way finding but also for humor, and understanding, and are utlized in the work we do to help express what we do.

Personally, I think it’s a good thing to have the conversation about UX vs IA but there’s a point as well when we need to take what we have learned and move forward. Every industry, culture, group across history grows and evolves. We have learned as we have matured, as Peter points out, that we can do more and we should do more. We need to explore (visualize) the bigger picture. Sketch with our clients. Involve them in the conversation and the solution. Look at the processes involved. Talk to the customers (internal/external), combine the data, and look for the gaps. Look for the opportunities.

Dan Roam in “Back of the Napkin” said, “Whoever draws the best picture gets the funding.”

Let’s take a step back and aspire to more radical inspiration. Look around you. Think about the drunk stumbling around to find his keys. Perhaps the iPhone can help. Ask questions. Provide answers. As people ask better questions, then we will find better answers.

“Information is blurring the lines between products & services to create multichannel, cross platform, transmedia experiences.” REI has about 50% of their online business being picked up within store. REI combined content creators to get the same voice across channels (Email, Web, Store, Catalog, & Phone). How do we better design for systems and ecologies? The ipod is the first to really utilize this. Zipcar turned cars from products to services. Medical services are now generating reports to your doctors about whether you take your meds or not.

Service blueprints help people to think of the various touchpoints for customers as they walk through the process with your company (ie the process of getting groceries). How do we help our managers, business partners, etc to understand why it’s important to design for experience across channels? How do we make it more visible to ourselves so we can be more entrepreneurial? When people check into a hotel, what is that experience? What does the desk look like? What does the concierge say? We stay too often in our safe zones. We need to tackle the design of services and products. (Get in the mud.)