Organisation schemes and organisation structures

June 4, 2008

“Organisation systems are composed of organisation schemes and
organisation structures. An organization scheme defines the shared
characteristics of content and influences the logical grouping of
those items. An organisation structure defines the types of
relationships between content items and groups.” p.26

    Organisation Schemes

  1. Exact Organisation schemes divide information into well
    defined and mutually exclusive sections (like telephone book)

    – alphabetical
    – chronological
    – geographical

  2. Ambiguous organisation schemes: categories that defy exact
    definition due to the ambiguity and arbitraryness of
    language; grouping items in intellectually meaningful ways.
    Advantage: we don’t always know what we are looking for!

    – Topical
    – Task-oriented
    – Audience-specific

  3. Metaphor-Driven: “First, metaphors, if they are to succeed, must be familiar to users. […] Second, metaphors can introduce unwanted baggage or be limiting.”
  4. Hybrid Schemes: Mixing up multiple schemes, the user can get confused as s/he is not able to form a mental model. Important to remain the integrity of each scheme, at least within one page
    Organisation structures

  1. The hierarchy: a top-down approach
  2. – Advantage: mutually exclusive subdivisions and parent-child relationships of hierarchies are simple and familiar; hierarchy is ubiquitous in our lives (science, family, companies, media [e.g. book]

    – Difficulties: ambiguos organisation schemes (of organisations) make it challengingt to divide content into mutually exclusive categories.

    – Consider bread and depth! new web-sites that are expected to grow, leanb towards a broad and shallow rather thannarrow and deep hierarchy

  3. Hypertext; “Hypertext is a relatively new and highly nonlinear wayof structuring information. A hypertext system involves two primary types of components: the items or chunks of information which are to be linked, and the links between those chunks. These components can form hypermedia systems that connect text, data, image, video, and audio chunks. Hypertext chunks can be connected hierarchically, non-hierarchically, or both.” p.40
  4. – Drawback: having a hypertextual structure only, people can not form a mental model (like can not lay out the forest if they just bounce from tree to tree)

    – Hypertext should complement the hierarchy!

  5. The relational database model
  6. – Many advantages: easy content-managing, field-specific searching, repurposing of content for different audience

    – Limitations: records must follow rigid rules; highly structured approach does not work well with the heterogenous content of many websites

From: Morville, Peter and Rosenfeld, Louis (2002), Information Architecture for the World Wide Web – 2nd edition, Sebastopol: O’Reilly

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