[thelist] information architecture question (non technical)

Matt Warden mwarden at gmail.com
Tue Dec 12 00:37:53 CST 2006


This question does not require any specific technical knowledge to answer.

Suppose you are trying to present summary level data about tasks.
Here's a quick rundown of the characteristics of the tasks:

1) Each task is assigned to a single worker (and only workers -- not
supervisors, etc.)
2) Each task has a task type
3) Each task has a number of days until it must be completed (I am
calling this "criticality")

The idea is to display a summary of tasks assigned to a worker, broken
down by task type and criticality level (levels are "past due", "0-10
days", "11-20 days", "20-30 days", "> 30 days").

This is relatively easy.

The problem is that there also needs to be a display of the same
summary for portions of the organization. So, for example, a manager
manages two units of three workers, each led by a supervisor. So:

 |____Unit 1 Supervisor
            |_____ Worker 1
            |_____ Worker 2
            |_____ Worker 3
 |____Unit 2 Supervisor
            |_____ Worker 4
            |_____ Worker 5
            |_____ Worker 6
 |____Unit 3 Supervisor
            |_____ Worker 7
            |_____ Worker 8
            |_____ Worker 9

The summary for the manger should be the sum of all the summaries of
the units below. The summary of each unit should be sum of the summary
data for the workers in that unit. The number of levels could be
anywhere from 1 to 6 or 7. All of the data does not need to be shown
at the same time, but it is important to convey the data in a way that
makes sense (i.e., it needs to be clear how Unit 3 Supervisor gets her

I currently do have a solution, but I hate it. The whole point of this
is to offer a quick overview of an individual worker's workload and
the workload by organizational area -- my current solution falls short
on the "quick overview" part, in my opinion. I'm wondering if I can
tap into the creativity of some of you folks and come up with a better

How would you model this data, hopefully keeping the same structure
for both the individual worker view and the organizational view?

(This is a hypothetical situation and does not necessarily relate to a
current client.)

Matt Warden
Cleveland, OH, USA

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