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This is an old revision of NotesAboutOrganizingHJC made by HannahCook on 2017-02-21 13:34:09.



Organizing is easily one of my favorite tasks! I hate cleaning, but there's something oddly satisfying to me about organization. When everything is well organized and in its proper place, I feel like I have more room to just breathe. The same is true for online organization. Even technical stuff like organizing documents and pictures into folders on my computer is therapeutic in its own sense.

Important things to remember:
•Unique id number for project purposes
•Page title
•Page template or type
•General type of content
•Person responsible for the content
•Keep/revise/discard decisions
•Create new content?
•Review status

Five hat racks: Themes to organize information

(Taken from Organizing Information)

In Information Anxiety (1989), Richard Saul Wurman posits that there are five fundamental ways to organize information: the “five hat racks” on which you can hang information.


Organization by the similarity of characteristics or relatedness of the items. This is a particularly useful approach when all the things being organized are of equal or unpredictable importance. Examples include topics of books in a bookstore or library and items in a department or grocery store.


Organization by timeline or history, where elements are presented in a sequential step-by-step manner. This approach is commonly used in training. Other examples include television listings, a history of specific events, and measuring the response times of different systems.


Organization by spatial or geographic location, most often used for orientation and direction. This most graphic of the categories obviously lends itself to maps but is also used extensively in training, repair, and user manual illustrations and other instances where information is tied to a place.


Organization based on the initial letter of the names of items. Obvious examples are telephone and other name-oriented directories, dictionaries, and thesauri, where users know the word or name they are seeking. Alphabetic systems are simple to grasp and familiar in everyday life. This method of organization is less effective for short lists of unrelated things but is powerful for long lists.


Organization by the quantity of a measured variable over a range, such as price, score, size, or weight. Continuum organization is most effective when organizing many things that are all measured or scored the same way. Examples include rankings and reviews of all kinds, such as the U.S. News and World Report ranking of colleges and universities, the best movies in a given year, darkest or lightest items, and other instances where a clear weight or value can be assigned to each item.


When designing a new web site or extensively overhauling an existing one, it can be useful to step back from the details of the content inventory and take a fresh look at both how your information is organized and the underlying paradigms that drive conversations about content and site organization.

Some common underlying paradigms for site organization are:
•Identity sites: Dominated by projected identity and marketing
•Navigation sites: Dominated by navigation and links
•Novelty sites: Dominated by news and “what’s new”
•The org chart site: Designed around the organization of the enterprise
•Service sites: Organized around service, content, or products categories
•Flashy sites: Use interaction and visual flash to draw an audience
•Tool-oriented sites: Organized around the latest technology, such as xml, Ajax, or “Web 2.0”

(Information Architecture)


Information hierarchies are the best way to organize most complex bodies of information. Because web sites are usually organized around a single home page, which then links to subtopic menu pages, hierarchical architectures are particularly suited to web site organization. Hierarchical diagrams are very familiar in corporate and institutional life, so most users find this structure easy to understand. A hierarchical organization also imposes a useful discipline on your own analytical approach to your content, because hierarchies are practical only with well-organized material.

The simplest form of hierarchical site structure is a star, or hub-and-spoke, set of pages arrayed off a central home page. The site is essentially a single-tier hierarchy. Navigation tends to be a simple list of subpages, plus a link for the home page (fig 3.5a).

Most web sites adopt some form of multitiered hierarchical or tree architecture. This arrangement of major categories and subcategories has a powerful advantage for complex site organization in that most people are familiar with hierarchical organizations, and can readily form mental models of the site structure (fig. 3.5b).
Two possible hierarchical site structures are shown: Left is a simple hub-and-spoke structure, where all pages are linked from the central home page. On the right is a more complex hierarchical structure, where the home page is linked to multiple collections of pages, shown as five stacks of pages.

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