Random organization

random taxonomyIn the middle of a class on information architecture, I stumbled upon this sign. The intensive week-long, 40-hour class plunged us all into the uncertain semantics of an information domain (an imaginary food business website) and challenged us to sort the concepts into tidy buckets that would make sense in context to users. It’s an arduous struggle, even in a relatively simple domain with clear boundaries. ‘Round and ’round we went, looking for similarities and distinctions that would shake out all the stuff along intuitive, self-explanatory lines.

Then this real-world sign just cheerfully defied all that. Instead of categorizing stuff for customer convenience, this store bases its appeal on randomly crossing convenient category boundaries. Now I doubt that someone entering the store would find the shelves stacked haphazardly with anything & everything. I did appreciate the reminder, though, that messy reality can have its own appeal.