Understanding through Poetry
Posted by heidideckermaurer
For this week’s reading on information design, I decided to get a little creative. Therefore, I explored three different information architectural elements presented in the article by Salvo and Rosinski through the lens of a Shakespearean sonnet, employing his ab, ab; cd, cd; ef, ef; gg rhyme scheme and using iambic pentameter.
Sitemap: A Sonnet
When writing for the web a scribe should know,
That men and women often can get lost.
Their quest is: ride the information flow;
But sanity could be the reader’s cost.
They ride the ship that leaves behind the shore,
Their origins these people can’t recall.
And find themselves distracted evermore
With hyperlinks that whisper siren’s call.
But like the sextant and compass used past,
There is a tool that saves these weary souls.
A sitemap shows them site from first to last
And helps them reach their information goals.
Once these travelers tame the digi-seas,
They can explore most other sites with ease.
Using Granularity: A Sonnet
As all know, puzzle pieces have their place
With websites info comes in large and wee.
The principle that governs placement space
Is something we call granularity.
When pictures take up every bit and byte,
And text is crammed in tiny as a speck
Applying granularity is right
To keep the page’s balances in check.
Should TPS report be sent by post?
Or sent through faster electronic mail?
Which mode of message can convey the most?
When using granularity: no fail.
The finer is increased technology.
The Many Forms of Tags: A Sonnet
If only metadata were applied,
Each piece of info could be simply found.
By labeling each doc you will have tried
To organize and find your way around.
Taxonomy’s another way we can
Form stronger links leading us to the docs.
A limited vocabulary, man.
Like Dewey dec’mal’s system really rocks.
Folksonomy tags info in the cloud,
But keeping tabs on older stuff is hard.
So hash your tweets and keep your trending proud,
But from your past tags you may well be barred.
These types of tools help readers find their way
Through pages on the web both night and day.
But seriously, the Salvo and Rosinski article was an excellent way to learn about the different ways to conscientiously design information so that users can find it. I am glad that we went through all of the spatial metaphors. Right now at work, I am in charge of scanning all existing paper documents and tagging them for retrieval in the Image Now system. Not only do I have to tag documents, I have to come up with tagging classifications and criteria for the different areas (department governance, curriculum, the new school structure, etc.) and I am having a hell of a time wrapping my mind around what I think future users might use as criteria to find a particular type of document. It’s been kind of a nightmare.
Reading up on these concepts gave me a bird’s eye view of what I am doing. It is a whole different way of thinking of things. I have been banging my head against the proverbial wall trying to cram this tagging stuff into a metaphor of a filing cabinet so I could understand how to set up tagging fields. That isn’t working. This reading has helped me gain more insight into what I am doing.
It’s also kind of neat that I AM learning how to set up the criteria and classification. It ties in with what Hart-Davidson says about the future role of technical communicators as content managers. One of the areas that he talks about is “Creating and managing information assets, defining relationships between these and specifying display conditions for specific views of these” (p. 135). I am learning to bring about his “tangible outcomes” by using “Taxnomies, Object metadatas, document type, definitions and schema” (p. 136). Although Image Now management is for an internal document retrieval system, many of the principles cross directly over into content management. The more of these skills I am able to master, the better my chances will be when I look at other jobs.
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