I found out that IA in Belgium (and most of Europe) stands nowhere. The UK is ok. Holland seems to have a bit of IA going on – they have an information design tradition to build on. But Belgium has nothing – this was the first event discussing IA in Belgium I was told. (!) It may be because design is taught and perceived as an art in Belgium, in art academies. There seems to be little understanding of design as having anything to do with research, or as an analytical activity.
That’s too bad. Belgium hosts much of Europe’s institutions, and they sure could use some IA. At the talk, there was lots of interest from decision makers – managers from various levels obviously struggle with IA problems, and seem to have a feeling that this “IA” thing might have some answers.
There is also almost no user centered design in Belgium. I spoke with Vero Vanden Abeele who turns out to be the only person teaching user centered design in Belgium. I hope we catch up. I did get some business cards from a few consultants who seem to be doing some IA-like stuff, but I have to look into that a bit more. On the pro side of it all: if I ever (not for a while!) decided to go work in Belgium, the place seems ripe for some good IA’s and UCD people.