In The Dots I referenced How To Make Sense of Any Mess by Abby Covert. It’s a book about information architecture for non-information architects, one lesson per page, each page easily digestible on its own, each page informed by the context on either side.

As a tester, I find that there’s a lot here that intersects with the way I’ve come to view the world and how it works and how I work with and within it. I thought it would be interesting to take a slice through the book by noting down phrases and sentences that I found thought-provoking as I went.

So, what’s below is information from the book, selected and arranged by one reader, and so it is also information about that reader.

Mess: a situation where the interactions between people and information are confusing or full of difficulties. (p. 169)

Messes are made of information and people. (p.11)

Information is whatever is conveyed or represented by a particular arrangement or sequence of things. (p. 19)

The difference between information, data, and content is tricky, but the important point is that the absence of content or data can be just as informing as the presence. (p. 21)

Intent is language.  (p. 32)

Think about nouns and verbs. (p. 98)

Think about relationships between nouns and verbs. (p. 99)

I once spent three days defining the word “customer”. (p. 88)

We create objects like maps, diagrams, prototypes, and lists to share what we understand and perceive. Objects allow us to compare our mental models with each other. (p. 57)

People use aesthetic cues to determine how legitimate, trustworthy, and useful information is.  (p. 64)

Ambiguous instructions can weaken our structures and their trustworthiness. (p. 131)

Be careful not to fall in love with your plans or ideas. Instead, fall in love with the effects you can have when you communicate clearly. (p. 102)

Why, what and how are deeply interrelated. (p. 43)

We make places. (p. 86)

No matter what you’re making, your users will find spaces between places. (p. 87)

We listen to our users and our guts. There is no one right way. There is only your way. (p. 101)

Murk: What alternative truths or opinions exist about what you’re making or trying to achieve? (p. 113)

Uncertainty comes up in almost every project. But you can only learn from those moments if you don’t give up. (p. 118)

One tiny decision leads to another, and another. (p. 85)

Perfection isn’t possible, but progress is. (p. 148)
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