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Order makes the web go round – LATCH


[This is a translation of my post at aperto.]

… or: so where does that pizza fit then?

Humans do love order, best example is probably your own desk.

We love ordered structures online, because it gives orientation, sorts information, builds trust and tends to make things a lot faster.

But how to organise data and information that is to be communicated on a website?
Where would you build walls? Where bridges? What is in context? Who should decide that? How to grant access?

As far as i know LATCH (Location, Alphabet, Time, Category, Hierarchy)
is a method that was introduced by Richard Saul Wurman.

In german you could call it ZAGOR: Zeit, Alphabet, Gruppe, Ort, Rangfolge, but that sounds a bit weird.

The smashing thing about it is that the method incorporates everything you can think of to sort or order stuff.
And it serves brilliantly to build information architectures, use cases, design solutions, even business models.

That is because all important and globally applicable properties of an entity are covered. They can then be used as criteria to search for and sort by.

Example: »Need pizza now«

Just imagine:
The data of every pizzeria in town lie in front of me and a decision needs to be made.
Depends on my preferences, but also on the choice available. But maybe you are just looking for a specific italian restaurant.

Where is the place?
How far is that away?
How do I get there?
What is the name of the restaurant?
I know the first name of the owner.
Is it open right now?
Closed on mondays?
Since when does it exist here?
How long will I have to wait for my pizza?
How long will it take to get there by car?
Do they have vegan pizza?
Italian beer also?
Spaghetti for the kids?
Sicilian or tuscan style?
Which is the best pizzeria?
Which is the cheapest?
Somewhere inbetween?

Pizza by Mark Interrante

Well, that pretty makes up our pizza searchengine options.

Sure not everything occurs at the same time, but sometimes a structuring option comes up only by applying LATCH to the subject.

Some examples of our daily work with the real internet:

Which region do you want to know about?
Which country do you want to travel to?
When was the newest press release issued?
Which appliance is the one i need?
Who is my perfect match?

Asking the right questions is the key here.
But we cannot look into the heads of users. Usability tests give quite a good insight.

So even if basic sorting and structuring of information is most important, we can give users a tool to tailor data for themselves.

For individual benefit and for the benefit of all. That is called »folksonomy« or »user generated tags«.
Flickr made the meme popular. That is where we find what the users think about the pizza cluster.

But more on that next time, when »Order makes the web go round« comes back.

2 Kommentare

  1. The Author:

    now i found the latch part of wurmans book online.

  2. Sandro Groganz:

    Learned about LATCH (Location, Alphabet, Time, Category, Hierarchy) at #iks-project workshop: http://bit.ly/BNmMS