Information architecture helps make sense of large amounts of data, and is increasingly important for our software-driven world. Yet most people don’t know what it is, and many of those putting its principles to work don’t know they are doing it.
By default, most email programs sort email by most recent first, with unread messages shown in larger or bolder font. The result? Our attention is often hijacked by the latest thing arriving at our desks. But there’s no reason to chain yourself to the default sort order. Could sorting your email inbox a different way help preserve focus, improve personal organization and reduce stress?
Can we rely on search alone to find the information we need? After using Outlook folders to organize my inbox for many years, I switched to Google Apps and let its search features do the heavy lifting. Want to know how it worked out? Read about the results of my experiment in personal information management.
Organizing by folders versus relying on search is one of the most contentious debates in information management. It’s also one of the most pointless. You can’t know which is better for an organization or for an individual until you know how the business works and what the goals are. Instead of debating, we should be celebrating that there are multiple ways to locate the information we need.