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Design principle: Organizing information

Category

Using categories is a great way to organize information when it needs to be sorted by similarity or relatedness.
But keep in mind that this has a certain degree of subjectivity in it: people don’t always group things the same way. Also, be careful with the number of sub-categories that might appear.

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Design principle: Organizing information

Design principle: Organizing information

https://uxplanet.org/design-principle-organizing-information-343a7ef936a8

uxplanet.org

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Key Ideas

Richard Saul Wurman

Richard Saul Wurman

“Information may be infinite, however…The organization of information is finite as it can only be organized by LATCH: Location, Alphabet, Time, Category, or Hierarchy.”

Location

Organizing information by its location (physical or conceptual) is important when the information has multiple different sources and locales.
Use it when the relative position of the information you want to present is important. When giving directions or to prioritize what is the most relevant thing to be in reach.

Alphabet

Ordering information alphabetically is a great way to provide random access to data. It is one of the best ways to organize information when the amount of data is big (Dictionaries, encyclopedias, book indexes for example).
It is also a good fall back when the information can’t be sorted with another method.

Time

Time is a great way of categorizing events that have happened over a fixed time duration.
Use it to present and compare events over a fixed time duration. It allows us to observe and compare changes that occur in that time frame.

Category

Using categories is a great way to organize information when it needs to be sorted by similarity or relatedness.
But keep in mind that this has a certain degree of subjectivity in it: people don’t always group things the same way. Also, be careful with the number of sub-categories that might appear.

Hierarchy

Organizing things by hierarchy is helpful when the information can be organized by comparing things across a common measure (small to large, lowest to highest, etc.)

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Information Clutter

In the case of information, reading several articles and sources on the same topic can create a lot of clutter. Because it creates internal struggles and questions:

  • What sort of information is important?
  • This post said this is important while another post said it wasn’t important. What information is relevant here?
  • What information should I internalize and apply?
The LATCH principle

... for organizing information:

  • Location: put the most relevant stuff to be within reach.
  • Alphabet: for organizing lists of people and statistics, dictionaries, and official documents.
  • Time: used when providing step by step instructions or when things have to be in chronological order.
  • Category: organize information by similarity or relatedness.
  • Hierarchy: organizing information that is used collectively to compare things.

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The Outline/List

Is a linear method of taking notes that proceeds down the page, using indentation or bullets to denote major and minor points.

Pros: it records content relationship in a way tha...

The Sentence Method

The goal is to jot down your thoughts as quickly as possible. Format is kept to a minimum: every new thought is written on a new line. 

Pros: Is like free writing for notes.

Cons: lack organization and notes can be hard to understand.

Works for: meetings or lectures that lack organization; when information is presented very quickly.

SQ3R (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review)
  • Skim the material for bolded text, images, summaries, to produce a list of headlines;
  • Each headline is then written in the form of a question;
  • Record your “answers” to the reading questions under each corresponding header;
  • Once you’ve finished reading the text, write a summary of the material from memory—this is the “recite” part of the process. 
  • Finally, review your notes to make sure you’ve completely grasped the concepts.

Works for: dense written material.

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Adapting to context

Different types of information demand different styles of note-taking. There are lots of reasons to take notes: to retain information, to capture ideas, to problem solve or brainstorm, to visualiz...