Edge (noun.)

Definition: The outside limit of something.

Also referenced as: Edges (noun)

Related to: Bias, Diagram, Direction, Ecosystem, Interface, Map, Object, System



The word edge was used 7 times across 6 pages


Chapter 1: Identify the Mess | Page 6

It's hard to be the one to say that something is a mess. Like a little kid standing at the edge of a dark room, we can be paralyzed by fear and not even know how to approach the mess.

These are the moments where confusion, procrastination, self-criticism, and frustration keep us from changing the world.

The first step to taming any mess is to shine a light on it so you can outline its edges and depths.

Once you brighten up your workspace, you can guide yourself through the complex journey of making sense of the mess.

I wrote this simple guidebook to help even the least experienced sensemakers tame the messes made of information (and people!) they're sure to encounter.



Chapter 1: Identify the Mess | Page 18

Knowing is not enough. Knowing too much can encourage us to procrastinate. There's a certain point when continuing to know at the expense of doing allows the mess to grow further.

Practicing information architecture means exhibiting the courage to push past the edges of your current reality. It means asking questions that inspire change. It takes honesty and confidence in other people.

Sometimes, we have to move forward knowing that other people tried to make sense of this mess and failed. We may need to shine the light brighter or longer than they did. Perhaps now is a better time. We may know the outcomes of their fate, but we don't know our own yet. We can't until we try.

What if turning on the light reveals that the room is full of scary trolls? What if the light reveals the room is actually empty? Worse yet, what if turning on the light makes us realize we've been living in darkness?

The truth is that these are all potential realities, and understanding that is part of the journey. The only way to know what happens next is to do it.



Chapter 1: Identify the Mess | Page 19

Carl is a design student getting ready to graduate. But first, he has to produce a book explaining his design work and deliver a ten-minute presentation.

While Carl is a talented designer, public speaking makes him queasy and he doesn't consider himself much of a writer. He has drawers and boxes full of notes, scribbles, sketches, magazine clippings, quotes, and prototypes.

Carl has the pieces he needs to make his book and presentation come to life. He also has a momentum-killing fear of the mess he's facing.

To help Carl identify his mess, we could start by asking questions about its edges and depths:



Chapter 1: Identify the Mess | Page 20

This chapter outlines why it's important to identify the edges and depths of a mess, so you can lessen your anxiety and make progress.

I also introduced the need to look further than what is true, and pay attention to how users and stakeholders interpretlanguage, data, and content.

To start to identify the mess you're facing, work through these questions:



Chapter 3: Face Reality | Page 43

Before you make objects like diagrams or maps, spend some time determining their scope and scale.

Scope is your clearly stated purpose for the diagram. The scope of a blueprint for an actual house is greater than the scope of a diagram explaining the rooms that make up a typical house.

Scale is the relative size of your diagrammatic work.The scale of a map covering a wall is greater than the scale of a map on regular-sized paper.

To think through scope and scale, ask yourself:



Chapter 7: Prepare to Adjust | Page 130

  1. Have you explored the depth and edges of the mess that you face?
  2. Do you know why you have the intent you have and what it means to how you will solve your problem?
  3. Have you faced reality and thought about contexts and channels your users could be in?
  4. What language have you chosen to use to clarify your direction?
  5. What specific goals and baselines will you measure your progress against?
  6. Have you put together various structures and tested them to make sure your intended message comes through to users?
  7. Are you prepared to adjust?