World Information Architecture Day 2022 – Pittsburgh is hosting a wide range of professionals presenting workshops, lightning talks, panels and group activities.

This year’s theme is ‘A Connected World’. We connect with each other in digital, physical, and blended spaces. We connect with people, products, services, content, and the world in general. This connectedness can be wondrous and yet challenging, and our speakers will be shedding light on topics of interest with this theme in mind.

The main day of the event is Saturday, March 5th. The 2022 Pittsburgh event is the first to include some sessions prior to the main day. Presentations prior to March 5th are included in your ticket.

Elective additional sessions, including workshops, will be conducted prior to March 5th. Elective sessions have limited capacity and each ticket purchase is allowed to attend one, space permitting. Select your prefered elective session when registering for the event — session confirmation and access will be sent to you by email.

Note: This schedule may change and additional speakers and speaker information is still being provided.

Keynote Address

The IA of a Team: Architecting Collaboration — March 5th

In this remote/hybrid world, shifting paradigms make it challenging to collaborate as designers within a larger ecosystem. Join this talk with Wendy Johansson on how information architecture can be core to crafting more connected teams.

Wendy Johansson is a global product experience leader and entrepreneur. Her work focuses on building equitable environments for underrepresented people to thrive in tech.

Wendy Johansson

Wendy Johansson

Founder + Chief Product Experience Officer, MiSalud

MiSalud logo


UX Creators Panel — March 5th

Living in a digital world, YouTube has become an important source of sharing knowledge and the latest techniques in all fields. Industry professionals create content to connect their skillset with audiences around the world. In this panel, 4 product design YouTubers Han Bang, George Chang, Risa Hiyama, and Sera Tajima, share their points of view on what connectedness means to them and how they connect their YouTube channels with design communities.

Han Bang

Han Bang

Han Bang is a Designer based in Toronto. She has spent time in start ups and enterprise companies across several different industries from FinTech to Entertainment to UGC.

Sera Tajima

Sera Tajima

Senior Product Designer, Webflow

Webflow logo

Sera Tajima is a Senior Product Designer at Webflow and Founder of The Craft. At Webflow, she leads design for the ecosystem and at The Craft runs a design education and consulting startup. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. Sera has a background in art, political science, language, real estate, and education.

Risa Hiyama

Risa Hiyama

Product Designer, Netflix

Netflix logo

Risa is a Japanese Product Designer raised in 7 cities, now living in Los Angeles, California. She became a designer without a design degree. Her startup experience taught her ownership and agility. She is currently working at Netflix on the Studio XD team.

George Chang

George Chang

Founder, Unblock

Unblock logo

George Chang has been working in design and tech for the past decade, from mature companies like Google and Amazon to startups like Driveway and Crowdtap. Now he’s trying to give back to the Chinese-speaking design communities by establishing Unblock, which is a design education platform on Youtube.

Panel Moderator

Missy Moreno is a certified Agile Coach, Scrum Master and Entertainer based in Pittsburgh PA. As an Agilist with Velocity Works, Missy brings a uniquely confident & friendly leadership style with collaborative team energy to every workspace she engages. As a performer, Missy was voted runner up for “Best Comedian” in Pgh City Paper’s Best of 2022. As speaker, emcee and facilitator Missy specializes in creating original content and team building formats that are atypical but more common in the classroom and entertainment industry. Also she loves Star Wars a bit too much. LETS CONNECT!

Melissa Moreno

Melissa Moreno

Scrum Master, Velocity Works

Main Stage Presentations

Be a Firefighter, Inspector, and Navigator in an “Enterprise UX” team — March 5th

Enterprise UX, in contrast to consumer UX, entails many distinctive challenges. In broad terms, it involves complex workflows, domain-specific jargon, dependency on the legacy system, and usually a large group of stakeholders with different expectations, etc.

UX designers working on Enterprise applications often need to play three different roles simultaneously. They need to be “firefighters” who promptly respond to competing priorities and address emergency requests. They need to be “inspectors” who hold the team to the visual & interaction standards and ensure consistent quality of the deliverables. They also need to be “navigators” who plan ahead of the projects’ timeline and direct the route for the team.

In this talk, I will share my experience of wearing these three hats at the same time, where I helped the team navigate through complex systems, and deliver high-quality results in a timely manner.

As a UX Manager at ServiceLink, I lead user experience design projects for large-scale enterprise platforms and consumer-facing financial products. Apart from work, I am doing my part-time MBA at Carnegie Mellon University with a mission of turning a good user experience into a viable business.

Before joining ServiceLink in 2017, I had been versed in multiple cultures. I had worked as a UX Designer for 3 years at Bosch USA and Bosch Germany, where I focused on transferring the Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine Learning research outcomes to early stage innovative products. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design from Hangzhou Dianzi University in China and a Master’s degree in Product Service System Design from Polytechnic University of Milan in Italy.

Ying Wang

Ying Wang

UX Manager, ServiceLink

ServiceLink logo

PINK — March 5th

A whimsical journey in the realm of PINK. An exploration of how intent and culture imbue meaning in a simple concept to change the world we live in. A talk about my multi-perspective mono-socratic study on the color pink as a cultural phenomenon.

User Experience Designer, Information Architect and Experienced Usability Expert with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry.

Evgeni Minchev

Evgeni Minchev

Experience Design Expert, SoftServe Inc

Championing UX in Healthcare — March 5th

There are a lot of great things on the horizon for healthcare, too many to keep up with. In 2018 the US spent $7 billion on digital health. I hope UX was invited to that table. However, most of the solutions being funded are not addressing the administrative foundations of the healthcare system such as EHRs.

I have had the opportunity to work on an online application process for patients who have been diagnosed with metastasized cancer. I have also had the opportunity to start creating our own EHR, which stands for electronic health records. I promise this will be the only acronym I ask you to learn.

I am a UX architect at a healthcare startup. BAMF Health is a cancer clinic that is focused on intelligence-based precision medicine through artificial intelligence-enabled molecular imaging and theranostics. I have several years of experience in healthcare design as well as content management systems for global platforms in both businesses to business and business to consumer. I have created design operations for a global agile and continuous integration continuous deployment ordering platform. I am also a mentor for the ADP list.

Miranda Sawyer

Miranda Sawyer

UX Architect, BAMF Health

Emergency Instruction While Avoiding Pandemic Despair: Usability and Accessibility as Student Care — Saturday, March 5th

The purposeful design behind usability and accessibility of online courses matters beyond aesthetics and can influence student learning outcomes. Joosten and Cusatis (2019) found that certain quality indicators in online course design were directly related to student success, including those associated with user experience design, information architecture, usability, and accessibility. This talk will discuss the pivot to “emergency remote instruction” experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and highlight the importance of information architecture in teaching and learning scenarios, especially those undertaken in times of duress.

Joosten, T., & Cusatis, R. (2019). A Cross-Institutional Study of Instructional Characteristics and Student Outcomes: Are Quality Indicators of Online Courses Able to Predict Student Success?. Online Learning, 23(4), 354-378.

Dr. Jessica Knott leads the UX and DesignOps team for Gravity Works Design and Development in Lansing, Michigan. A team of design and systems thinkers, builders, tinkerers, architects, researchers, collaborators, fixers, and figurers, their goal is to design experiences that leave you feeling welcomed, valued, and inspired. Knott holds a BA in Journalism, an MA in Education, and a Ph.D. in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education, all from Michigan State University and has worked in digital spaces since 1998, spanning the private and academic sectors. She has led nationally- and internationally-recognized networking, professional development, design and facilitation projects, and serves on her local Friends of the Lansing Library board of directors because reading is life.

Jessica Knott

Jessica Knott

UX and DesignOps Manager, Gravity Works Design and Development

Gravity Works logo

Productivity During the Pandemic — Saturday, March 5th

This talk is about my journey of redefining what productivity means while living through unprecedented times. I will tell stories of growth, stagnation, renewal, and the challenge of dealing with an onslaught of unpredictable events each day.

Living in the unknown is and was difficult for me. Not being able to see whats ahead even by a few days is terrifying and paralyzing. So I did the best that I could carrying on each day. Eventually, I developed tools, strategies, coping mechanisms, and techniques that have helped me be more productive. Most importantly they have helped me be more forgiving of myself when I’m not as productive. Especially when my best laid plans vanish into thin air. Despite my struggles, this period has helped me learn more about myself and what I want out of my life than any other. It has helped me learn how to meet myself where I am. My goal is to share what I have learned and hope that in some way it can help you redefine what productivity means to you.

Josh has been working in the tech industry for over 20 years. In that time he has had many roles such as designer, developer, manager, educator, and now entrepreneur. He has helped big brands as well as local businesses use technology to meet business goals and improve existing workflows.

Currently Josh is the Owner and Managing Director at Viable Industries. Viable is a creative technology studio that specializes in building systems and software with a focus on workflow automation, collaboration, data collection, and visualization. When Josh is not building technology he is either making music, woodworking, or exploring nature with his family.

Josh Sager

Josh Sager

Managing Director, Owner, Viable Industries, L.L.C.

Viable Industries logo with tagline

Additional Sessions

Curiosity, Everywhere — February 26th

Before our products or services can inform, entertain, satisfy or delight, they must first engage. Curiosity is a powerful way to engage customers and create memorable experiences. This short workshop will help you harness the power that curiosity brings to experiences and create significant and more memorable experiences.

Key Takeaways
• Primer on Curiosity — What is curiosity? How is the emotion of curiosity formed?
• The Inviting Curiosity Framework— Is it possible to conjure curiosity? How do we create moments of curiosity in products and services? How do you help to sustain it?

Cassini Nazir is a designer of conversations, curricula, and interfaces. He is a Program Director and Clinical Associate Professor in New College at the University of North Texas where he teaches classes in design thinking and interaction design. In spring 2020, he was Designer-in-Residence for the SMU Masters in Design and Innovation (MADI) program. Prior to joining UNT, Cassini taught at The University of Texas at Dallas, where he directed two research labs. He was founding director of the ATEC Usability Lab, which fosters collaborative research with community partners and offers experiential learning to students. He was also Director of Design for the ArtSciLab, a transdisciplinary research lab helping the arts, science, and technology communities by pursuing initiatives of societal urgency and cultural timeliness.

His academic projects include collaborations with art historians, biochemists, brain scientists, futurists, materials scientists, new media artists, and a university press. He has worked with industry partners such as Intuit, Toyota, Sabre, DFW Airport, and projekt202.

Cassini Nazir

Cassini Nazir

Program Director / Clinical Assoc. Professor, University of North Texas

University of North Texas logo

Land your dream UX job by taking advantage of the pandemic situation. — March 3rd

What if companies start reaching out to you instead of you applying for the jobs? In this session, Anil will discuss how to skip the competition and land your dream UX job. He will share success stories and his job hunt experience differently during a pandemic.

Anil Kumar is a Frontend for Designers Mentor at CareerFoundry. Mentored more than 75 students to land their dream Frontend/UX role. He is a Technical Product Manager based in Berlin. He is a community builder & prototyper with 12+ years of Frontend product development experience from companies including SAP & Sapient. He has been speaking, writing about rapid prototyping tools, running and facilitating the prototyping community in Berlin.

Anil Kumar Krishnashetty

Anil Kumar Krishnashetty

Senior Technical Product Marketing Manager, Lokalise

Lokalise logo

Iron Unicorn: A UX design game show — March 2nd

Running a requirements workshop or design lab is an essential tool used to gain insight from both stakeholders and users. Blah blah blah. But shouldn’t it be fun as well as fruitful? Behold! Iron Unicorn—a requirements session workshop combined with a little bit of Who’s Line is it Anyway and Iron Chef—to demonstrate behavioral tools, rhetorical tricks, and creative ways to elicit rather than gather requirements to get the best results. But in a game show format. Because, why not?

  • Participants will be taken out of the comfort zones and forced to collaborate with friends and strangers in a rapid-fire format that encourages design thinking and quick brainstorming
  • Participants will get to practice playing the roles of business representatives, end users, and designers of all levels as their research, create, and present.

JD Jordan is a designer and a novelist who likes to speak and write about important sh*t. He also likes dinosaurs. JD is a veteran visual and UX designer with experience with some of the biggest agencies, consultancies, and brands in the USA. He was co-founder of the #1 Clutch-ranked UX agency, J+E Creative and currently serves as the executive design director for MaxMedia in Atlanta.

He’s the author of the acclaimed novel, Calamity, an occasional contributor to Newsweek and Paste, and an experienced design educator and public speaker. He’s taught UX design at General Assembly, The Creative Circus, and The Atlanta College of Art and history at the University of Georgia. In his career, he’s designed experiences for AT&T, Cox, Deloitte, Delta, Emory University, Georgia Pacific, The Home Depot, IHG, The Magnificent Mile Association, Mannheim, Miller Brewing, NCR, The National Institutes of Health, Samsung, UPS, Volvo, The Weather Channel, Sears, WebMD, and many others.

JD Jordan

JD Jordan

Executive Design Director, MaxMedia

MaxMedia logo

Distanced yet connected: applying IA principles to the design of remote workplaces — March 4th

How do you go about re-structuring your organisation, to cater for the needs of dispersed, remote-working employees? The pandemic has led to a heightened granularity within companies, who therefore need to rethink how they create meaning, purpose and an overarching system for their workforce. This talk explores ways to design an “architecture of collaboration” in hybrid and full remote companies, one that better connects the atomised employees with one another and with the shared space where organisation decision-making happens.

Silvia Podestà is a strategic designer, UX specialist and author, with an articulated background in marketing and communication on digital ecosystems. An independent researcher on the topics of cross-media languages, consumer behaviour and new digital rituals, she investigates the cross-disciplinary synergies underpinning digital design, to uncover new trajectories of value creation within marketing ecosystems and business models.

Silvia Podestà

Silvia Podestà

UX Designer & Researcher, Flowing

Flowing logo

Aren’t we all a little bit human? Connecting with Autism — March 4

What does autism look like? The study of autism is not even 100 years old so current medical literature is still incomplete since the studies were primarily done on a narrow demographic. When I talk to others in the tech industry about my autistic characteristics, they often find me relatable. “Aren’t we all a little bit autistic?” Well, no, not really, but you may be autistic because this industry is perfect for the autistic person to thrive.

Undiagnosed autism is overrepresented in the sciences, especially tech, because the way programming works is very similar to how the autistic brain works: Boolean, literal, and explicit. A function only does what you code it to do and it does it the same way every time. Routine and consistency, you could use that to describe code, but it’s also characteristics of autism. We connect with machines better than with other people.

In this talk, I’ll be discussing the invisible hardships I’ve faced in the industry as an autistic person, the definition of autistic culture, and how I’ve managed to build a successful autistic community online, something that sounds like an oxymoron since a stereotype of autistic people is that we aren’t able to connect with anyone.

Tessa Watkins (they/them pronouns) is a professional web developer with nearly a decade of experience. They have a background in video game design, a passion for UX and HCI, and skills in frontend development with a touch of backend. Tessa is autistic, diagnosed in 2020, but despite the late diagnosis, they were autistic their entire lives; the ASD diagnosis is merely an explanation for others to get a glimpse of Tessa’s neurotype. Tessa thrives in this industry because they are autistic, not despite it. Solving problems with technology is one of their special interests and Tessa hyperfocuses on their work to innovate for their clients. With a brain as amazing as that, who cares if they stutter sometimes? People like Tessa are changing what professionalism can look like when we drop ableism from its definition.

In their home life, Tessa is married and together they have a toddler and two cats. Tessa’s partner, John D. Watkins, Ph.D., is the head of materials at ESTAT Actuation, a Pittsburgh robotics startup. In true autistic culture, Tessa and their family are primarily homebodies, preferring activities like playing video games, watching TV, and regulating their sensory health with climbing, swinging, running, dancing, and vocalizing all from their sensory-friendly home. Aside from spending time with family, Tessa relaxes with their hobbies with martial arts, painting, reading, and writing.

Tessa’s latest special interest is social justice, especially for disability, mental health, and people of color. They volunteer with a local grassroots organization called M.O.R.E, Mt. Lebanon Organization for Racial Equity, and have become more outspoken for these communities.

Tessa Watkins

Tessa Watkins

Interactive Web Developer, Flying Cork

Flying Cork logo