The power of words and information architecture. Innovation and synergy through collaboration and reflection on language and actions
On 13 and 14 October, with some colleagues from the Experience team, we had the pleasure and opportunity to participate in the seventeenth Architecta summit in Venice, an association that promotes the knowledge, diffusion and development of design culture. Its goal is to connect people, professionals and enthusiasts of information architecture, user experience and all those who believe in the central role of people in every project.
This year’s theme, called “Saying, Doing and Planning”, generated a reflection on how language and words can influence our actions and, vice versa, on how our actions can influence our language. We examined how the design choices we make in various contexts and between different disciplines can encourage the creation of synergies, solutions and opportunities, in order to generate value, innovation and transformation.
As already mentioned, the summit took place over two days, 13 and 14 September, in Venice, at the Ca’ Foscari University. These days were divided into two very distinct moments.
The morning was the time dedicated to collaboration, working together, getting to know each other through workshops on different topics and disciplines. Alternatively, you could have chosen to participate in the “Unconference”, the novelty of this summit, an open and free space where you can meet people and other professionals.
In the afternoon, a conference took place during which various professionals gave presentations and speeches on various topics. All these talks had in common the importance of people at every stage of the project and the collaboration between everyone involved in a project.
On the first day, after arriving at the Ca’ Foscari headquarters at Fondamenta San Giobbe for a brief presentation of the days, we left for the first workshop, held by Andrea Resmini and entitled “The (in)visible city”. Well yes, we left in the true sense of the word, as the first workshop was itinerant, around the city.
This workshop wanted to tell and represent how the space of cities, in this case that of Venice, is the human space par excellence where land and water, over the centuries, have changed value and meaning to different spaces and areas. This walk led us to reflect and observe the space to understand the perception that people might have regarding it: do they feel in harmony? Or does something need to be rearranged?
On Friday afternoon, we immersed ourselves in the conference held in the Santa Margherita Auditorium. The talks covered various topics, starting from artificial intelligence, a possible ally and dynamic collaborator capable of speeding up processes, to support and not replace.
We then moved on to the importance of words and the key role of copywriters and UX writer designers in the design process.
Finally, we then came to touch on the topic of accessibility: a topic of great relevance and relevance. We reflected on the need to make tools and resources even more accessible and user-friendly. This afternoon of conferences was a real journey through various fundamental aspects of our sector, offering us food for thought and comparison.
We arrive at Saturday, the second day: in the morning we divided ourselves into three different workshops. Some of us participated in the workshop proposed and held by Chiara Peretti “Service Blueprint: breaking down the complexities one bite at a time”. During this morning we added a few more pieces of knowledge about this tool, testing ourselves, together with other professionals, on how to break down complex contexts and situations to be able to search for and find solutions and ideas for improvement to then dissect in the project.
The afternoon was dedicated to a second moment of conference, opened by Piero Polidoro, who, during his speech, discussed how theory can help practice, how the way we see design can shape the way we see the world, of collaboration in interpretation, of the use of metaphors in thinking, and of how to apply theories of semiotics and storytelling to design.
Finally, we came to talk about conflicts and how to resolve them, given that in most cases, projects start from conflicts due to the ego, to the role of those who take part in them, to “making one’s own victory win at all costs idea”, and we thought about how we could transform these conflicts into opportunities for co-design and listening to people.
We bring home an explosion of creativity, a drive to do more and a desire to understand how to incorporate into our daily lives everything that emerged and struck us most during these two days of discussions and reflections.
Taking a step deeper, we can talk about a renewed awareness. Often, the choices we make about how and where to place elements within a site, which taxonomies to use, or how much space to leave between one block and another are underestimated or not fully understood. Whether it’s a digital environment or a physical space, one thing is absolutely certain: when we design something, we do it for people.
We need to consider how they will move within the space we are designing, when they can be immersed in noise and when they need silence and space. We must be able to guide them with the right words, so that they do not feel lost.
Words, written or spoken, are used to communicate with colleagues, customers and people. They should not be walls, but channels, like the canals of Venice, which separate without dividing, which regulate times and movements, creating a network of communication and connection.
In conclusion, the 17th Architecta Summit 2023 in Venice was an extraordinary experience that stimulated reflection on how language and words influence actions and vice versa, and on how design choices can foster synergies and innovation. The two days of collaboration and conferences offered valuable insights on the topics of information architecture, the importance of people in every project, and accessibility. This summit inspired a greater awareness of considering people at every stage of the design process and using words as channels of communication.