Categorization and dried fruit

June 29, 2006 at 1:00 pm 1 comment

There are plenty of anecdotes where people relate their frustration with some implementation of information architecture.  Probably a lot of them involve shopping experiences and a major portion of those probably involve grocery stores.

Here’s mine.  First, where do you suppose raisins would sit in the grocery store?  Well first I tried the candy aisle, thinking snacks.  Then the ‘portable snacks’ aisle, thinking about those little red boxes from childhood lunchbox memories.  Then I tried ‘canned fruit’ thinking dried fruit was just a desiccator away.  Then I tried the baking aisle, thinking about raisins in my oatmeal cookies.  Then the bulk foods aisle, the ethnic aisle, the fruit juice aisle….Then I just wandered aimlessly for a while. 

Dried fruit was on one mini-island of shelving in a far shadowy corner of the produce aisle.  Nearest neighbors: potatoes, and broccoli.

Now that I know I’ll never forget.  Trust me.

Thinking of keeping track of information, a tagging scheme, or a faceted or polyhierarchical system make sense.  But in a store this would mean raisins would show up in multiple places and that’s not realistic.  Further, in a grocery store you rarely if ever see signs like ‘looking for raisins?  They’re in produce!’ akin to the ubiquitous ‘see also’ in indices and the yellow pages.

Designing grocery stores must give people fits!


Entry filed under: Information Architecture.

Bit Literacy and Information Anxiety Information Architecture and hat racks

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Karen Brandeis  |  October 2, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    I totally agree – why are the Raisin’s in a mystery location? I just wasted 20 minutes in Wal-mart – only to walk out with them! Argh!


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