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Should we organize things into topics or according to usage?

According to Donald Norman, well-structured organization schemes, where hammers are in the hammer section and nails in the nail section, are practical when we want to find things. But when we engage in an activity, we need an activity-centered design, where the nails are right next to the hammer.

"The best solution is to provide both solutions: taxonomies and taskonomies. Some websites organize all their items logically and sensibly in a taxonomic structure, but once a particular item has been selected, taskonomic information appears. For example, if examining a pair of pants, the website might suggest shoes and shirts that match."

"Activity-centered design organizes according to usage: traditional human-centered design organizes according to topic, in isolation, outside the context of real, everyday use. Both are needed."

Links:

  • Logic Versus Usage: The Case for Activity-Centered Design Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - September 25, 2006

See also: Information architecture (15)  Navigation (63) 

 

COMMENTS

Of course, retail stores, supermarkets, etc have known this for quite some time.

Zephyr | September 26, 2006

 

Yes! Beers next to the diapers. Clever!

Henrik Olsen | September 27, 2006

 

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