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Group Description

Explain IA has ended. It was a huge success. Thanks for playing!

Welcome to Explain IA. In this contest, you are invited to explain information architecture. What is it? Why is it important? What does it mean to you? Some folks may offer a definition in 140 characters or less, while others will use this opportunity to tell a story (using text, pictures, audio, and/or video) about their relationship to IA. Anyone can enter, but only IA Institute members can vote for the winners.

To enter, simply join this group, upload your entry to your Flickr account, add the "explainia" tag, and then select "send to group" from the menu options above your entry. Entries must be received by February 11, 2010. Please see below for more details and to learn about our generous sponsors and wonderful prizes.

Grand Prize
The grand prize of $1,000 is co-sponsored by the IA Institute and Endeca.

Information Architecture Institute


Best Video
The best video award of $500 is sponsored by nForm.


Best Diagram
The best diagram award of $500 is sponsored by Semantic Studios.

Semantic Studios

Virtual Seminars

One person will win two virtual seminars from User Interface Engineering. Pick from dozens of topics including information architecture, search, usability, and interaction design. There are over 35 recorded seminars to choose from. Or attend an upcoming UIE virtual seminar. Whichever two you select, you'll have lifetime access to the seminars. Only contest entrants are eligible for this special drawing.

User Interface Engineering

Information Architecture Summit

One person will win a free conference registration for the Information Architecture Summit in Phoenix, Arizona. Please note that only regular conference sessions (not the pre-con workshops) are included. This prize is sponsored by ASIS&T. Only contest entrants are eligible for this special drawing.


User Experience Books

One person will win a complete set of (6) user experience books in paperback and digital editions from Rosenfeld Media. Only contest entrants are eligible for this special drawing.

Rosenfeld Media

More Books

We'll be giving away (2) copies each of Modular Web Design and Communicating Design (the second edition, as soon as it's available). And, they'll be autographed and personalized by Nathan Curtis and Dan Brown of EightShapes. Only contest entrants are eligible for this special drawing.


Even More Books

We'll be giving away (20) copies of Search Patterns by Peter Morville and Jeffery Callender compliments of O'Reilly Media. Only contest entrants are eligible for this special drawing.

O'Reilly Media


If you're thinking about entering the contest, it's worth reading this section.

Please note that while only IA Institute members can vote, anyone can enter the contest, and everyone is invited to participate in the discussion. And, it's not too late to Join the IA Institute.

Plus, as an extra special reward for scrolling, we're pleased to offer you a free copy of Faceted Search by Daniel Tunkelang. Simply register with Endeca to receive your book. Okay, back to the show...

Our goals are to engage the information architecture community (by fostering creativity and discussion) and advance the field (by evolving our definitions and sharing our stories). We believe this can be a positive, productive community activity, and a whole lot of fun. We hope you do too!

Several awards (grand prize, best video, best diagram) will be decided by an IA Institute member vote at the contest's end. We'll ask our members to consider popularity (e.g., views, comments) when evaluating entries. So, it's in your best interest to enter early and invite people to visit and discuss your entry.

The remaining awards (virtual seminars, IA Summit, UX books) will be raffled to entrants periodically starting in week two. So, it's best to enter early, so you're eligible for multiple special drawings.

Each individual may submit up to (3) entries but will only be counted once in the special drawings. Sponsors (and IA Institute board members) may submit entries but are not eligible to win.

Flickr will serve as the primary platform for entries. This will allow for multiple formats (text, image, short video) as well as rough statistics and public commentary. Entries may also be hosted offsite (e.g., YouTube) but you must create a placeholder page on Flickr with a link to your entry. If you do not have a Flickr account, you can setup an account for free, or you may contact us to make alternate arrangements.

The contest will run from January 11 through February 11. Voting will take place the week of February 15, and we'll announce the winners on February 23.

We're hoping you'll join us in making 2010 a great year for information architecture!


Peter Morville (on behalf of the IA Institute)

Additional Info

  • This group will count toward the photo's limit (60 for Pro members, 30 for free members)
  • Accepted content types: Photos, Videos, Images, Art, Screenshots
  • Accepted safety levels: Safe
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