How to: Position Information

Even information is relative!

by Alexandru Lache

And this goes here,
And this goes here,
And "Where do you go?",
And "Where are you?".

Why position information?

No one likes wasting time going through lengthy information.
There are specific situations, when we require a piece of information, with a certain level of detail.

Positioning information, even without viewing it again, helps create a memorable mental model, leads to better understanding, structures your thinking. To remember it, the most dedicated of us, mentally position vast amounts of information in a known physical environment.

Also, it is easier to find information and it creates a visual reference, presentable in case of need.
Now, when most things go digitally, it is the most effective time to create a clear mindsight!

How to position information?

Positioning establishes relationships among pieces of information. This must be done correctly, according to your perspective and usage.
We are very good at visual understanding. So, positioning helps us glance through and quickly figure out the order, the hierarchy, and other important aspects.
By using Zaprefy we discovered some of the most relevant criteria related to positioning: usage, frequency, domain, priority and actions to be performed.

The main Layer
The main Layer may be logically split into sections including the degree of use, the domains and the priorities.

The number of Elements on the main Layer should be kept below 20, and everything should be viewable in the height of one screen, when having sub-Layers, that are usually kept open, expanded and subsequent sub-Layers visually collapsed.

Layers, in general, should be positioned inside one another to be more and more specific. Layers that contain the source or base information, and are usually kept collapsed can be exempt from this recommendation.

Avoid having a Layer that contains multiple criteria. Instead, insert an intermediate Layer, containing the criteria.

Inside each Element, the most frequently used, important or newest information, should be placed first on a case by case basis.

It is recommended to limit the number of Elements in a Layer, to a number varying between 5 to 9, according to Miller's Law.
To achieve this, add more Structure to the information.

Content offering a generalized description should be placed between the main Layer and its specific applicable Layers, as close as possible to the main Layer, but also should avoid including Layers or Elements that do not conform to it. However, feel free to place it closer to the main Layer, if you feel the visibility outweighs the drawbacks (like confusion).

For multiple contents, consider creating Elements with specific names like Documentation, Notes, Description, Presentation.

Conceptual barriers
As an intermediate information structuring stage, you can establish conceptual barriers comprised of an Element with or without Content. Here you can develop ideas or study materials.

Is this information positioned correctly?

There is no substitute better than testing it out.
Every experience, being either good or bad, we tend to get accustomed to it. We notice fewer and fewer details and feelings subsequently. Thus, you should take notes the first time when you encounter an issue or an elegant way of positioning information.
We suggest making backup a copy of the main Element and changing the Structure to explore alternatives and their effectiveness.

If you observe wasting a lot of time to find information, don't have a clear mental image of the information, or after some time passed you look at information and don't recognize it, we suggest restructuring using the new insight.

Positioning information has never been easier than now with Zaprefy!
Get the most out of your effort by using Zaprefy!