Why architecting information with containers?

2015-02-15

On today’s web, we get either too much information, or not in the right place. Here is a proposal on how to solve this.

If you want people to solve tasks and and to have joy, you need to create places. A place is a space made for a specific purpose. In a place, all needed contextual content is provided.

Copies

One way of doing it is to copy content into each place, even if this content has to appear in another place. But in a network, it is rather harmful to have copies. If you copy a piece of content which is already available in the network, you risk failed updates, fuzzy reference points and a maintenance hell. If a piece of content already exists somewhere else in the network, what you rather do is to point to it.

Hyperlinks

That’s what hyperlinks were invented for. And they are the other option, if you want to summon all needed information in one place: you like to that information. But hyperlinks don’t solve the problem of losing context. If something is related to the content of a page, you could link to the related content. But then you send the user away from that page, and she loses the current context. So, you would want not to repeat yourself, but still deliver contextual content where needed, without sending people away. What you would want to create are places. Places are portions of space designated for a purpose. And that purpose should be accomplished without leaving the place.

Containers

Containerist aims to solve this dilemma and provide a third way. In the container model, you place content into independent, encapsulated containers, and then stack those to web pages. Thus, with each page you create a place for a specific purpose, and offer all needed contextual content. This content may come from containers which re-appear on other pages, too. That means, instead of locating content to just one place within a website tree, you let it appear where it is needed, how often it is needed. Still, you have to fill a container only once, and if that container content needs changes, the changes will re-appear at any page the container is at.

(cc-by-sa) since 2005 by Konstantin Weiss.