DonnaM » Blog Archive » Oz-IA wrap-up

Oz-IA wrap-up

Oz-IA finished yesterday. For me the best part is catching up with smart colleagues I don’t see enough of (and smart friends I see often). And I certainly got to do a lot of that. I hardly stopped talking!

There were a couple of outstanding presentations (especially Matt’s semantic analysis preso which never fails to stun me). There were some good, solid, interesting case studies (my favourites were the news website redesign, user research in secondlife and the mentoring case study). There were some good theory presentations (Steve’s statistics, Iain’s page length).

There were a few disappointing presentations*. I won’t name them – that would hardly be professional ;) . But there were a couple of presentations that were content-poor, impractical or overly general. There was one that I found quite condescending (without sufficient rigor to back up particular criticisms).

I mention this as I know we can do better. I know a large proportion of the IA folks in Australia and I know that you have the skills and the content. So I would like to encourage the organisers to focus on presentation quality next year – get the call for proposals out earlier, involve the community in choosing and be more transparent. And I would like to encourage all you smart folks to put in a proposal.

[* Who am I to criticise, after the most disastrous start to a presentation ever. It was bad enough that I had a screaming backache and forgot to grab my water and notes, but then the lapel mic battery died - I hate using handheld mics - if I can't talk with my hands, I can't express myself.]

7 Responses to “Oz-IA wrap-up”

  1. halans Says:

    I share your sentiment (and yours isn’t one of them)

  2. Steve Baty Says:

    The mic dying was karma catching up (fast) for the bunny ears :)

    Seriously, I thought the presentations this year were better – on balance – than last year; but I agree we can do better (both me personally and collectively).

  3. scott parsons Says:

    I was wondering about the whole idea of saying if a presentation wasn’t so good. I don’t think it is unprofessional at all. If you are an experienced presenter giving a critique would be helpful to any others beginning their presentation careers. In fact isn’t this just the type of mentoring your speech suggested. I guess the only variable is the public environment of a blog.

    Even those who think they might be good and experienced should recognise that there is always room for improvement. I know my presentation wasn’t as good as I had hoped, and I could blame technical difficulties, but that is little comfort to those who paid for their tickets. In order to learn and improve, feedback is important, and as one of the most experienced conference speakers present your opinion is especially valuable.

    Thanks for your interesting talk

  4. Donna Maurer Says:

    @Scott – I don’t think it is unprofessional to say that a talk wasn’t good. But i’m not going to publicly say just whose presentation wasn’t good without talking to the presenter about it first. And as my friends know, I’m pretty comfortable offering my ideas privately (and, I hope, politely) about what I liked and didn’t ;)

  5. scott parsons Says:

    Thanks for responding Donna, I guess I misunderstood your post. As a beginner (ah OZia, my first conference as a speaker) I was just interested in starting a dialogue.

  6. magia3e Says:

    Thanks for the kind words Donna :)

    I’m humbled that an incredibly experienced IA like yourself found my presentation enjoyable and informative.

    I hope to improve upon this presentation and reframe it slightly for IA Summit in 2008.

    M

  7. Donna Maurer Says:

    Oh, Matt, you are too humble. As I often say to Andrew, I’m not amazing, just noisy. You and your colleagues do ridiculously smart work and I think you are all fantastic.

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