The programme at this year's IA Summit was one of the best I've seen at a UX conference in a long time.
The quality of sessions was consistently high, and first-time speakers impressed thanks to the mentoring scheme the committee had set up. This makes it hard to choose highlights. Below is a list of the talks I recommend to my team, grouped by theme. My own talk didn't seem to fit under one topic, so you can read more about it here. For a full list, see Martin Belam's collection of links and materials.
If you can only spare time for one talk, read Cennydd Bowles' closing plenary speech.
When the podcast is available, make sure you check out Jared Spool's keynote. In the meantime, get your hit of Spool here.
Cross-channel and service design
Samantha Starmer shared 5 principles, 5 methods, and 5 tools for creating cross-channel experiences (yes we like lists!). She illustrated these with great stories and examples, also from her work at retailer REI, and recommended a library of service design tools. If you work on retail projects, make sure to take a look.
Start with Karen McGrane's 'We are all content strategists now' (the slides are from IDEA).
Think about tone of voice and copy with Carl Collins' excellent 'Interfaces are made of words' and his http://dl.dropbox.com/u/185901/Words_vs_Deeds/Writing_presentation/writing_ia...">activity sheet.
Wondering how to get started? Carrie Dennison tells you how to do content strategy on a shoestring budget.
Karen also gave a workshop, I'm hoping that slides will be available some time, as they contain more examples of content strategy tools.
'Lean UX: Getting out of the deliverables business' by Jeff Gothelf is a must. Check out the slides or read the Smashing Magazine article.
I enjoyed the case study 'Letting Go of Perfection: Developing IA Agility' presented by Serena Rosenhan, Joanna Markel and Chris Farnum from ProQuest.
I didn't attend Joe Sokohl's workshop 'Nailing it down - Detailed design to preserve the UX vision', wish I had - wondering what discussions were had about (just enough) detailed design.
Data, analytics, measures
Data, web analytics and how to measure the value UX adds was a big topic at the Summit. Louis Rosenfeld addressed it in his keynote, Lynne Polischiuk and Julie Strothman shared stories and examples why it matters and how you get started, and Richard Dalton gave a practical guide to measuring UX.
I missed Kim Bieler's 'Flab to Fab' talk, but the slides have excellent examples that will prove to everyone what difference visual design decisions make and why attention to details matters.
Domain models! URIs! I missed Mike Atherton's talk 'Beyond the Polar Bear' about a large IA project at the BBC, but luckily saw his great karaoke performance.
Designing for women
And finally, if you design for women, Jessica Irvins' 'Shrink it and pink it' session is great, and you might also want to check out what Cheryl Platz had to say about women and interaction design at Interaction11 (there's also a video).