Collaborative Information Architecture

A half day pre-conference workshop from Abby Covert.


You’ve worked hard on the information architecture models you’ve created but haven’t been able to sell them to the client, or your co-workers. Maybe the conversation around the IA has broken down into an unhealthy debate over semantics. In another scenario, you are tasked with creating a controlled vocabulary for a large organisation that has a silo mentality and a lot of legacy content. Where to begin? These scenarios will sound familiar to most IA professionals.


This workshop will focus on the soft skills that make someone good at IA. The lessons here are really about leveling up in skill set. Topics covered include:

  • conflict resolution in IA
  • selling IA to others in your organisation
  • improving stakeholder interviews
  • facilitating low fidelity conversations about language
  • visualising language with simple pictures to get clarity

Specific takeaways

You'll learn:

  • strategies for getting an organisation that may have different ideas about how to organise and name content to agree upon a controlled vocabulary
  • specific tools in the form of diagrams, beyond the ubiquitous sitemap and wireframe, which communicate complex ideas
  • techniques for practicing information architecture with clients and colleagues collaboratively


This workshop is for anyone currently practicing IA as part of their job. Product designers, product managers, UX designers, content strategists and engineers would benefit from this kind of focus on collaboration.

About Abby

UX Cambridge keynote speaker Abby Covert

Abby Covert is a staff information architect at Etsy. She specializes in delivering a collaborative information architecture process and teaching those that she works with along the way. She speaks and writes under the pseudonym Abby the IA, focusing on sharing information architecture content with those working within the design and technology communities.

Abby is the author of “How to Make Sense of Any Mess” a book about information architecture for everybody. She also holds credit for the invention of World IA Day - a global celebration of IA taking place in more than 50 locations around the world every February.

Her diverse portfolio includes work for among others: Etsy, Microsoft, Staples, Nike, IHOP, Herman Miller, Kraft Foods, Sharpie, JELL-O, Prismacolor, Expo Markers, Valspar, KMART, Taco Bell, KFC, State Farm and The United States Postal Service, BlueCross BlueShield, JSTOR, Fidelity Investments, Bank of America, The Hartford Insurance.


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