Penguin is an edge case of bird and other lessons from the IA Summit

I’ll be writing a few follow-up posts from the , this is one. Up next: photos from Vancouver.

Searching is about learning
Both Peter Morville and David Weinberger mentioned this. I think it is easy to forget — with a focus is on product-driven, purchase-oriented search — so we miss opportunities, particularly serendipitous discovery. It also means we don’t pay enough attention to what happens once people find things. What do they do then, when it isn’t “add to my cart”?

Know where to focus and iterate, iterate, iterate
James Reffell and Micah Alpern from eBay (one of the things Micah works on is “disruptive technologies”) presented on design patterns. They spent a lot of time working on buttons: “if you are a commerce site, buttons are where the money is made.”

When talking to people in other domains, respect their questions.
Karl Fast made this point during the Q&A for the research agenda session. He went on to say that folks working in a field have spent a lot more time thinking things over than you have, and the questions a domain asks are some of the most important things to learn about it.

Solve little problems, aggregate solutions
This came out of the Mindshift/web 2.0 panel. [A developer also gave the most succinct, engineer-oriented definition of web 2.0 I’ve heard so far: “we can do cool shit without the page refreshing.”] Jared Spool zeroed in on part of the difficulty in doing this — how does a person (especially a person behind the firewall at a large corp) become aware of what other people are doing, so they know what they can use to solve problems?

Penguin is an edge case of bird
In other words, recognize that prototype effects happen and choose your examples with care. A robin or a sparrow is the prototype we have of bird, not a penguin. Del.icio.us and flickr are the tagging protoypes. Of course, if you are in Antarctica, then a penguin is the prototype. Never forget prototypes are culture-based.

For important questions, the last thing you want to be is done.
Weinberger said this during his talk, in the context of explaining his struggle to finish his next book vs the desire to keep exploring new ideas and realizing he’s happy with a blog post never being the last word.

Bloggers at the IA Summit

When I realized several of the bloggers I subscribe to are going to be presenting something at the IA Summit in Vancouver next week, I wondered about how many of the presenters are bloggers. So I poked around a bit, and counted just under forty. My rigorous process involved going through the list of speakers, putting everyone’s name into Google, scanning the first page or two of results for possible links, and adding anyone who updated their blog in approximately the last month.

I created a text file of the feed links, converted it into a basic OPML file, then imported it into BlogBridge to make sure it worked. It did, so then I exported the group of feeds (now with title info and other fanciness) into this OPML file of IA Summit presenter blogger feeds. Pop it into your reader if you want to follow bloggers at the Summit.

Or, you can go old school and actually use your browser, here is the list of presenter-bloggers:

John Alderman, contributes to Underbelly
Michael Arrington, TechCrunch
danah boyd, apophenia
Sarah Borruso, contributes to Underbelly
Dan Brown, Dan Brown’s Greenonions.com
Anthony Charles, contributes to Fading Waypoints
Kevin Cheng, OK/Cancel
Christian Crumlish, xian’s running monolog and contributes to You’re It!
Faison “Bud” Gibson, The Community Engine
Austin Govella, Thinking and Making
Andrew Hinton, Inkblurt
Keith Instone
Livia Labate, I think, therefore IA
Sam Levy, unabashed
Victor Lombardi, Noise Between Stations
Erin Malone, DesignWritings
Donna Maurer, DonnaM
Jess McMullin, bplusd
James Melzer, Getting My Bearings
Peter Merholz, peterme.com
Peter Morville, findability.org
Jane Murison, contributes to Backstage Blog (BBC)
Anders Ramsay
Lou Rosenfeld, bloug
Bill Scott, Looks Good Works Welland contributes to Yahoo! User Interface Blog
Rashmi Sinha
Gene Smith, Atomiq
Jenny Spadafora [me], 12frogs [here] and reading notes
Jared Spool, contributes to UIE Brain Sparks
Jason Toal, Hello User and contributes to Fading Waypoints
Don Turnbull, donturn.com
Peter Van Dijck, Peter Van Dijck’s Guide to Ease
Thomas Vander Wal, Off the Top
Todd Warfel
David Weinberger, Joho the Blog
Alex Wright
Luke Wroblewski, Functioning Form
and don’t forget the IA Summit 2006 blog

I apologize if I missed anyone, feel free to leave a link in the comments and I’ll add the blog.

Update: Adding Technorati tag so the Summit blog can find this post, and a feed for my iasummit2006 posts in case anyone wants to grab just my Summit-related posts.