Practice What You Preach: Manipulating First Place
In my previous post, “Creative Literary and Pragmatic Lists”, I indicated that one creative component of a pragmatic list is the selection of a category to sit in first place. When I added the essay to my “Directory of Postings,” I realized my first place was “Arrangement Structures > Alphabetical Order.”
Of all arrangement structures, alphabetical order is certainly the most boring. In addition, there are people, some in the information industry, who hate alphabetical order. They feel it has no meaning, which of course is its beauty. But do I really want my first category to be something that is both boring and controversial?
So I need to put a category in front of “Alphabetical Order,” which is not so easy. My Directory is hierarchical with categories alphabetized. If I keep “Arrangement Structures” as the first major category, I need a structure that appears earlier in the alphabet than “Al.” There ain’t one. The alphabet is alpha. The word is based on the Greek word for “A.” It’s supposed to be first, which is one way it keeps its primacy.
The next idea places a different major category into first place. It has to fit in the alphabet before “Arrangement Structures.” My second major category is “Arrangement Theory.” I need a word for theory that begins with a letter before “S.” That word is “Principles.”
My first category is now “Arrangement Principles > Categories.” Not controversial, but not very sexy either. So I look at the first few categories of arrangement principles:
I could find a synonym for categories, but “Findability” is not very sexy either. The sexiest is “Persuasive Strategies,” a phrase I use often so I can’t change it. Then I realize all I have to do is put “Arrangement” in front of a category and my problem is solved.
Unfortunately, “Arrangement Persuasive Strategies” is awkward and changes a phrase I use often. “Findability,” “Information Architecture,” and “Knowledge Development” also awkward, plus lots of people work in those areas. I want to feature something where I am the primary practitioner.
That brings us to “Parameters” and “Perspective.” “Arrangement” fits nicely in front of both. But “Parameters” is a little amorphous. I use it to represent the sometimes odd characteristics that must be considered in an arrangement. For example, in “Working with Parameters,” a post about my client Snoopy, I discuss building an arrangement around Bloglines’ inability to accurately display spreadsheets.
Which leaves “Arrangement Perspective.” How delightful. I always promote designing arrangements from the perspective of the user. And there’s an added bonus, a double meaning. “Arrangement Perspective” could also mean my perspective on arrangement, which is what IsisInBlog is all about.