London IA: a network of designers, information architects and writers

The End

This site is now an archive.

Martin Belam, Andrew Travers and Matthew Solle have started something new at This is LDNIA (@thisisldnia)

Still on holiday

London IA is still on its holidays. As of now no plans to come back to work.


“On Holiday until Further Notice”

Calling all geeks, dreamers and future superheroes

Mozilla Festival 2012 wants you!  

Coders, gamers, media-makers and educators from across the globe are gathering at Ravensbourne (next to The O2, Greenwich Peninsula) on 9-11 November for Mozilla Festival - a yearly celebration of learning and innovation, gathering passionate people to explore the web, learn together, and make things that can change the world.

“We want everyone to tap the full creative power of the web. The Mozilla Festival is a magnet for people interested in learning about and playing with the web’s future.” Mark Surman, Executive Director, Mozilla

This year’s Mozilla Festival will gather more than 800 passionate people with diverse backgrounds and skillsets, to push the frontiers of the open web and participate in a series of design challenges, learning labs and fireside chats. The emphasis this year is on hands-on making and collaboration.

“Technology is at the point where learners don’t just use the tools, but make the tools. This happens at places like the Mozilla Festival, where geeks and practitioners get together. Joi Ito, Mozilla Foundation Board Member, Director of MIT Media Lab


Kicking off with a Science Fair on the Friday evening and followed by a jam-packed weekend’s worth of events, the themes of the Mozilla Festival this year are:

Hackable Games

Making the Web physical

Webmaking for Mobile

Coding for Kids

Web-native Cinema

Source Code for Journalism

Skills and Badges

Who should take part?

To make the festival work, we need people of all different skills and persuasions. If you’re a development ninja, come flex your skills and make something innovative. If you’re a design thinker, come and challenge assumptions about how these technologies will be used. Those who are interested in registering can do so by clicking here

By registering to visit the festival, participants will have the freedom to propose a radical idea, connect with a diverse group of experts with whom to collaborate, and use the resources required to make something awesome!

Help us spread the word: tweet, post and share #mozfest

See you there!


LDNIA is on hold until the late summer/autumn

LDNIA Design Summer 2012 #1


The first of a few events over the summer, LDNIA Design Summer 2012 #1 will be on Tuesday 19th June 2012 at Albion in The Tea Building, Shoreditch between 6.30-9.30pm.

Talks/presentations will be provided by Matt Ward (@matthewward) and Patrick Bergel (@goodmachine). Music will be provided by Ben Bashford (@bashford).

Matt is a design lecturer in design at Goldsmiths, blogs at SB129 and some work is viewable here.

Patrick is a research associate at UCL and founder/CEO of Animal Systems


Tickets will be available on Eventbrite on…

House Martin Tickets: Monday 11th June @ 12 noon

Yellowhammer Tickets: Wednesday 13th June @ 12 noon

Siskin Tickets: Friday 15 June @ 12 noon

Hosts and sponsors

Our hosts and sponsors are Albion. This is how they describe themselves: ”Well, for starters, it’s more than an agency. We like to think of ourselves as a creative business partner for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. That means we partner our clients, and can offer a full service all the way from nascent idea to fully operational, profitable business.” More info here

Thanks Jonty

LDNIA May 2012 poster

Better late than never

(View all sizes on Flickr)

Nick Marsh at London IA April 2012

Sedef Gavaz reviews Nick Marsh’s talk at London IA April 2012

Talking about talking about design by Nick Marsh

Nick took the stand to talk about “talking and design”.  He wanted to use this as an opportunity to discuss the roles of talking and conversation in designing things. Why? He believes the art of talking is skirted over in design education and it is an essential skill to have and use as “life in the commercial studio focuses on deliverables and presentations”.

We took a look at company cultures, attitudes to talking and design education. Nick shared some company slogans such as “Doing not talking” and “No talk, all action”. The moral of the story was talk less and do more. Sadly, talking is perceived as procrastination and therefore has no place in a business. But, Nick rightly pointed out that talking is “often the first thing you do when you have an idea”. There seems to be a misalignment with design education focusing on sketching and drawing, whereas life in the studio requires an eloquent communicator; someone who can present the idea, argue its strengths and persuade an audience.

Thankfully, we’re all on board with drawing. We understand the value of it, how it brings ideas to life and allows us to collaborate. “Wobbly lines help you decide”, they allow for input and comments from those you share them with, but also act as springboard for more ideas.

Is there an equivalent to sketching when it comes to talking? Nick thinks “Good creative talking has lots of wobbly lines” too; it starts off conversations and creativity. So, it’s important we get good at it especially when it comes to designing complex interactive products. Let’s face it, complex products require collaboration: conversation and talking are essential.

Things got complicated as we moved on abductive reasoning, rhetoric and talking etiquette! Nick shared four talking-tips with us, taken from ‘The Art of Conversation’ by Milton Wright:

  1. Don’t talk too long without pausing for a reaction. More than a minute is too long. Forty seconds is ideal
  2. Never flatly disagree with the other person. It is an implied insult
  3. Don’t be too forceful or emphatic in stating your opinions until you learn the other person’s attitude and
  4. Give the other person intellectual freedom and cooperation and claim them for yourself.

Nick dissected talking styles he had observed and asked if we’d experienced any of these: surfing, sparing, bulldozing, on the tabling, deliberate deluding, mono-conversating and throat punching.  If this list has made you curious, I’m sure he’d be happy to tell you more about each and every one of them.

Nick ended on an encouraging note, the creation and use of talking spaces. He defined workshops and sketching as a means of getting people to talk, to share ideas and to rapidly iterate. Nick revealed that “going for a walk can help with talking… even if it’s round old street roundabout!” So, next time you’re facing a quandary, get sketching, get walking but most of all, please get talking.

This was the first time that Nick gave this presentation, so he’d love to hear from you with feedback and/or questions – you can find him @choosenick and here are his LNDIA slides.


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London IA May 2012


The May London IA will be on Tuesday 15th May 2012 at Sense Loft between 6-9.30pm.

The evening’s talks will be provided by Giles Colborne (@gilescolborne), Tim Caynes (@timcaynes) and Johanna Kollmann (@johannakoll)


Giles Colborne – IA Summit redux

Giles will be bringing a little bit of New Orleans to London with a redux of the recent IA Summit in the city.

Tim Caynes – “Designing the Mobile Wallet”

Mobile network providers, device manufacturers and banking corporations are working together to provide the solution you never knew you needed – the mobile wallet. But what is a mobile wallet and how should it work? What are the customer experiences that a good mobile wallet solution should support?

Johanna Kollmann – “Making Sense of Messy Problems: Systems Thinking for Multi-Channel UX”

It’s part of our job to talk to people to figure out complex situations. To build things people love, we have to understand not only users, but also the wider context we’re working in: people, systems, structures, business models, and more. The need to think the user experience through on several channels challenges us to envision a system that is cohesive and delivers delightful experiences.


Tickets will be available on

Early Bird: Friday 4th May – 12 noon

Middle Bird: Monday 7th May – 12 noon

Late Bird: Wednesday 9th May – 6pm

Hosts and sponsors

Our hosts are Sense Worldwide and the Sense Network

Sense Worldwide is a transformation agency and the Sense Network is a global community held together by one sole objective: to make things better and make better things.

Our sponsors are Zebra People

Zebra People is a specialist new media recruitment consultancy. Grab Nick et al at the next event if you are looking for a new job or looking to hire.


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Joe Leech at London IA April 2012

Sedef Gavaz reviews Joe Leech’s talk at London IA April 2012

The neuroscience of design by Joe Leech

Joe Leech began at the beginning. He talked about growing up with a psychologist mother and an architect father. He described himself as “A recovering neuroscientist via a spell as a primary school teacher”. He shared anecdotes and had us laughing when he recounted the story of how his father had trained for seven years to become an Architect and someone had just hired Joe as an “Information Architect”.

From family history to Neuroscience – Neurons, synapses and neurotransmitters flashed before us.

Joe facilitated the information flow with a steady stream of slides and questions taking us through the basic workings of the brain. The dialogue revolved around reward, dopamine and basic needs: food, sex and sleep.

Once we had the brain basics sorted Joe moved onto the computer analogy. “We have about 40 billion neurons in our brains” with each one responsible for one thing – a memory, a skill etc. Computers are often used as a model for the brain but Joe made the point that if a computer has a duel processor, it can essentially do two things at once. The brain is far more powerful and complex than any computer.

Not only can the brain do multiple things at any given time, but our perception of an experience is impacted by hormones or neurotransmitters including serotonin and dopamine. Receiving a tweet or text message can stimulate mini bursts of pleasure. Feel good hormones float through the brain and make everything else that we’re doing or experiencing just that little bit rosier!

So, if as designers we can understand how the brain works with its three layers – Instinct, feeling and thinking, then we can design accordingly. If we want people to act on impulse we’ll need target their instinct area to reduce thinking. Decisions need to be a simple yes or no. Naturally, anything that involves the upper thinking part of the brain will be slower than actions requiring the instinct or feeling layers.

Joe finished by debunking a few myths which included the Left Brain, Right Brain theory which he proclaimed rubbish!

Left Brain Vs. Right Brain

He also added a note of caution when it comes to the use of theories likes Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, particularly for those of us working at brand agencies.

And as Joe said if you want to know more you can:

  1. Read more: Neuroscience for kids and anything by VS Ramachandran
  2. Check out the psychology UX Bootcamp!


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London IA Podcast with Cennydd Bowles

In the latest London IA Podcast we host a wide-ranging conversation with Cennydd Bowles on moving from user experience design to digital product designer, what it takes to develop visual design skills, freelancing, A List Apart, writing a book, conference speaking and of course that legendary animal of European folklore, the unicorn.

Hosted by Matthew Solle and Andrew Travers. Produced by Will Myddelton and Matthew Solle.

Three ways to get it

iTunes Audio | Audio RSS feed | Huffduffer


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