I am a pretty messy person, but I usually never lose my things. This is because I have my own organizational system despite it making only sense to me. I can remember where things were because I might categorize their location according to things I have done and places I have been at certain times of the week, instead of a designated resting place I have set aside for them. When there are too many things going on, and too many places I’ve been or too many times I have been in and out of my house, I am more likely to forget where I left my things. I realize that it’s probably better to have a designated resting place for items to that knowing where things are isn’t dependent on me remembering where I put something. Creating a consistent order out of disorder relieves one of the responsibility of remembering where things are located, and make sure nothing is wasting space or lost. However, what makes sense as “order” will probably vary between individuals or collectives. Decisions about what is similar and different can be “specific, personal, cultural and socially meaningful” (according to Foucault in the Remini reading pg 99-100).
In the readings for this week I remember a quote (not sure from where exactly) about how much of an information architect’s job is agreeing on an classification system with a group of people – typically your client. I can see how this is often a daunting task, because people often do not organize or categorize in the same way. Some people are neat freaks and some rely on chance or memory more than others. Information architects must account for all kinds of strategies for retrieving and organizing information. Search capabilities are great for people who know what they want. Indexes are great for people who can’t remember what something is called (… I swear it started with a “D”..), and a category hierarchy in navigation can really help people learn about things they didn’t remember or didn’t know about. Putting things into distinct categories can be a messy exercise because life is full of blurred lines after all. So, information architects must find a way to show how content is related, but also unique, and this can be a hard thing to determine to portray efficiently when people can think in nuanced ways. Agreed upon categories can be extremely useful because of this, but the nuance is also very interesting.