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The Politics of Navigation with Stuart Maxwell

This month's IA/UX meetup is co-hosted by IxDA Seattle and sponsored by Galvanize! Join us to hear Stuart Maxwell discuss the politics of navigation.

From Stuart:

For years,’s global navigation existed in a relatively stable equilibrium. It balanced the need to sell products and services, provide access to educational content, and inform visitors about unique aspects of the company. But a recent agency-led redesign threatened to disrupt this stability. Suddenly, a whole host of assumptions around the proper role of site-wide navigation were exposed. As REI’s in-house IA, I had a front row seat to watch merchants, marketers, designers, and business managers wrangle over their competing expectations of REI’s global nav. My job was to influence opinion and try to restore a healthy balance in the navigation while still supporting a new design direction for the site.

This talk will be a case study of the unexpected political struggles that were revealed during the design process. I’ll attempt to fairly portray the full range of perspectives on global navigation, from customers to business owners, from agency designers to in-house designers, from accepted practice to emerging trends. I’ll talk as candidly as I can about the discussions that took place throughout the redesign process, and where we landed on some fundamental questions about navigation: Who should we design for? Who should care about the global nav? And, particularly, what is IA’s role in the creative process? In short, when politics enter the design studio, who wins?


• 6:00-6:45pm: Networking 

• 6:45-7:00pm: Announcements 

• 7:00-8:00pm: Presentation

• 8:00-8:30pm: Q/A and Wrap-up


Stuart Maxwell is an Experience Architect at REI, where he focuses on findability strategies, taxonomy development, and metadata design. In his spare time, he organizes community events, such as this year’s World IA Day Seattle. He has a Masters in Information Management from the University of Washington. He will occasionally write about IA-related issues at and will sometimes tweet @stumax. But don’t get your hopes up.

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  • Elizabeth G.

    Anyone else have "politics of dancing" stuck in their head since last night? No?

    1 · July 15, 2015

  • Bill S.

    With so much of the creative process being driven by multiple stakeholders – each with their own varying degree of requirements – Stuart's learnings may very well prove to be one of more salient talks we'll see this year. Well done.

    2 · July 15, 2015

  • Mat A.

    Agree, great preso. Also some thought-provoking questions from the attendees. Another great reason to attend these.

    July 15, 2015

  • Luke E.

    It was absolutely excellent. I took away several tips on how to influence my fellow team members.

    July 15, 2015

  • Luke E.

    Stuart's talk was excellent. I'm in a project super similar. It was as though he wrote it just for me. Good insight into his experience in navigating the various personalities amidst the teams involved. Thank you Stuart!

    July 15, 2015

  • Justin G.

    Stuart's talk was great! Far reaching. Thanks for the insights!

    July 15, 2015

  • Jill M.

    Really great presentation. Thought provoking.

    July 15, 2015

  • Sandra L.

    Stuart rocks, and I'm excited to hear him speak!

    July 5, 2015

  • Jonathon C.

    I really, really wish I could be in Seattle for this. Sorry to miss it—go, Stuart, GO!

    3 · July 5, 2015

Your organizer's refund policy for The Politics of Navigation with Stuart Maxwell

Refunds are not offered for this Meetup.

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