The first European IA Summit (day 2)

Continued from The first European IA Summit (day 1).

As of this month, Europe has the EuroIA Summit. Yesterday, I posted my personal highlights of the first summit day, today my highlights of the second and last day of this year’s summit.

Reinoud Bosman presented a case study of a mobile internet campaign for Sony Ericsson. He showed some of the differences in interaction design between mobile devices and desktops. What are the advantages and disadvantages of mobile internet?

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Always with you;
  • Personal(ized);
  • Location based (GPS, RFID) around the corner;
  • Variety of input devices (camera, touch screen);
  • Rapidly evolving technology;
  • Europe has much mobile knowledge.
  • Small screens;
  • Connection speed is limited;
  • Few standards
    Less rich as the internet;
  • Rapidly evolving technology;
  • Users don’t upgrade phone browsers.

How is mobile internet doing? Well, in 2003 there were 35 million unique users for mobile internet (WAP) in Europe. How do people want to use their phone? The top 5: take pictures (42%), receive location-specific information (25%), watch live TV (24%), calling (21%), browsing the internet (21%).

What works for the desktop doesn’t always work for mobile:

  • Repeating the user’s selection: due to small screen size this has to move down on the page;
  • Dead ends cost many clicks on a mobile device, so crosslink the silo’s of the IA;
  • Forms are time consuming on the desktop, but a real pain on you mobile device. Remember user data as much as possible;
  • Latency vs. speed: each request takes about two seconds, so wouldn’t you rather have longer pages?
  • Present options instead of an input field;
  • Keep it compact, keep it simple: leave out what you don’t need.

The BBC-NATO panel discussionFilip Borloo chaired a fascinating panel discussion between two knowledge managers of very different organizations: NATO and the BBC. The BBC uses all kinds of community tools: bulletin boards, task-oriented libraries (How do I?, What is?), blogs, wiki’s (400 people contribute to the wiki). It is a mix of structured and unstructured information. A lot of people produce information, unfortunately only a few care about their audience. So the BBC now focuses more on enabling conversation instead of classifying every piece of information.

NATO on the other hand isn’t so keen on letting everyone produce and classify information. They deal with much classified information and with users who do not produce information in a way that it is usable for others. All information is traditionally managed by information experts. When asked why NATO doesn’t use community tools, the reply is that NATO does have them, only they call them cantina’s, hallways and doorsteps. People inside the organization don’t need online communities, they just communicate face to face.

During the presentation of Barry Mahon, a discussion started that “a website or an intranet is not the place to start” creating an organizational information coherence, that one must strive to get up on the ladder of IA value, break departmental silo’s. People in the audience asked how an agency (who gets hired for a project) could position themselves higher up the ladder. Agencies should not be saying “We know the answers” or “We do what you want” beforehand, but “We help you find the answers.”

The audienceThe closing keynote was given by Thomas Vander Wal, who presented “IA for the Personal InfoCloud”. See also my earlier post on the highlights of 2005 and of course Vander Wal’s Personal InfoCloud.

So… European IA’s, unite (and start blogging).

Further reading: