This week, our class was asked to select five design topics that jumped out at us from our course text “Universal Principles of Design” by Lidwell, Holden and Butler. 
One of the five I chose to write about included Five Hat Racks which states there are five ways to organize information; these being category, time, location, alphabet and continuum. Online there are many instances where these categorizations aid in displaying information in a easy to find manner.
Category – on a shopping website products are sectioned by category. For example on www.chapters.ca  there are books, music, toys, kids, etc. there are other sub categories that can be further zoned in on for example price, age group, theme, etc.
Time – displaying the most recent entry. An example would be a blog where the most recent post is featured first. Another implementation of this would be on a news, tv, or magazine site with recent episode at http://watch.hgtv.com/ or http://www.cityline.ca/ where there are features by date.
Location – I found three examples of websites that use this geographic filter to help users tailor the information they are seeking.
Mobile Phone provider: http://koodomobile.com/index.shtml?region
Alphabet – An example of a website that lists information in alphabetical order is WebMD  http://www.webmd.com. The different areas that can be explored are numerous and the site designers have chosen to display this in alphabetically format.  In addition to this fixed side bar, there is a power grid design format used for main page of the site.

Continuum – With a continuum a user can sort by rating or price or topic.   In addition to the top navigation and the different categories of products as a sidebar, a further level of filtering is size, colour or price of the shoes at Call It Spring’s website http://www.callitspring.com/ca-eng/women/boots/wedge-boots

When looking to convey information easily to an audience, using one of these five ways to organize information will ensure readers are not overwhelmed.  It has given me some other options to consider displaying information beyond Alphabetical and Category.  I also noticed that certain types of websites will use similar ways of categorizing, filtering or directing users to information eg. Category or Continuum for Shopping sites, Location for travel or entertainment , Time for news or media  or a further subcategory for entertainment.

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