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Designing Mobile Interfaces by Eric Berkman, Steven Hoober

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Chapter 5. Lateral Access

What a Mess!

Whether you’re a college student, a design professional, or a book author, you have experienced the clutter of notes, reminders, memos, drawings, and documents scattered across the surface of your desk. There comes a point in this chaotic, unorganized display when your “tidy instinct” begs for some order.

If you’re lucky, you quickly find materials you can use: a binder, file folders with colored tabs, paper clips, even a stapler. You grab the content, and sort and filter it as a means for organizing and creating order. As you organize, you may classify the data by such lateral relationships as:

Nominal

Using labels and names to categorize data

Ordinal

Using numbers to order things in sequence

Alphabetical

Using the order of the alphabet to organize nominal data

Geographical

Using location, such as city, state, and country, to organize data

Topical

Organizing data by topic or subject

Task

Organizing data based on processes, tasks, functions, and goals

Having now integrated your organizational skills with those office supplies, you can marvel at your clean desk. On its surface lay a faceted arrangement of folders. Each folder, containing related content, is clearly labeled with colored tabs to allow for quick and easy access.

Tabs can be used explicitly, styled to fit the space and serve more as indicators, or presented more as options as in the icon strip. Either one follows the principles of wayfinding to help the user know her location and decide where to go next.
Figure 5-1. Tabs can be used explicitly, styled to fit the space and serve more as indicators, or presented more as options as in the icon ...

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