IA for tiny stuff: Exploring widgets and gadgets at the 2008 IA Summit in Miami

Martin Belam  by Martin Belam, 28 January 2008

If you've been following my travel plans via Dopplr (and if you aren't, you are very welcome to) you'll have noticed that a few weeks ago I added a trip to Miami in April. With the publication of the conference programme at the weekend, I'm very excited to be able to confirm that I am going to be speaking at the 2008 IA Summit.

IA Summit 2008 logo

I will be presenting "IA for tiny stuff: Exploring widgets and gadgets". You can find the full blurb for the talk over at the IA Summit site, but I hope to address what I see as two key issues:

The rise of widgets poses new IA challenges. How can a client's requirements be crammed into such a tiny space? How do you attract and retain audience attention without cluttering the user's desktop or Facebook profile?

The context and size of widgets places a tough constraint on information design, and almost always the person paying for the widget wants it to be all-singing and all-dancing, whilst the person using a widget wants it to be useful. Those two don't always go hand-in-hand.

The second issue I will be exploring is how to make widgets that are both useful and fun for the end user.

This talk examines what makes a successful widget from an information delivery point of view. It also looks at how information professionals can help develop more 'playful' ways of representing and structuring the information presented. These examples will illustrate how to develop a more engaging user experience, one that stands out from the all-too-common formula of 'information feed + logo + home link = marketing widget'.

I haven't written much specifically on currybetdotnet about widgets to date, but I will be doing so in the lead-up to the conference. I'm very much looking forward to being part of the European contingent amongst the US branch of the IA family, and as part of that, I already have yet another social networking profile.

Now all I have to do is sort out the mechanics of getting a new British passport that is acceptable to American border control from the fair island of Crete...

Keep up to date on my new blog