Piling in the office – the advantages and disadvantages

Recently I wrote about email overload and information removal from digital information space (for creating environment with less distractions). I came across this interesting photo of an office information overflow, which seams very real. Malone [1] wrote about advantages of piling or spatial management over hierarchies. The main strengths of piling are

  • less cognitive effort than categorizing
  • spatial awareness of information location and faster retrieval
  • reminding functionality of spatially managed information
  • keeping less information than with filing into hierarchies

But all these advantages disappear when there is too much information available. As in this office.

[1] Thomas W. Malone, How do people organize their desks? Implications for the design of office information systems (1983)