Tales about Aviation, Coaching, Farming, Software Development

UXcamp: Information Architects in Panama

Yesterday I attended the first session of UXcamp in the City of Knowledge. It was a gathering of Panamanian Information Architects presenting to eachother some new ideas and details about successful projects they've made. My guess is that about 30 persons from several agencies and client companies were present. All speakers were associates of Bootstudio, which happen to be the company that created the event. It wasn't a clever set up sales venue though. Instead it was peer to peer and everybody participated and exchanged ideas with the speakers. After all Panama City is a very small town and everybody knows eachother anyway. :-)

Information Architecture is an interesting topic and important when you are working on web applications. It doesn't matter so much what technology (PHP, J2EE or .NET) you use to implement your application. From a software developer's perspective IA is about narrowing down the specification for the application and define the user interface (the user experience as they say, hence "UX"). To a lot of other people who do not create applications, but merely static websites IA is about structuring the information and creating a proper navigational structure. Note that it's not about graphics design. This is the last step and one of the goals of UXcamp is to teach people that the actual design comes last.

I could touch base with a few people with interest in Java. But I have to admit that I got the impression most of them are about 5 years behind. For example they were talking about raw servlets and not about web frameworks. But probably one reason is that most Panamanian clients do not order web application to generate and conduct business, but just a web site with some interactive elements to be present on the Internet and get some leads. That reminds me of the attitude towards the Internet and web applications in particular in Germany in the late 1990s. The local market is small and many business leaders look for vendors in the US or Europe than in their own country and language. Still I am convinced that there are smart brains here in Panama. They just need a chance to work on a real project and get the right training on todays technologies.

Update: Find more posts about this event

This article has been posted to social media sites. There might be comments. Just follow the links: