Five Hat Racks, The LATCH Principle

An irreducible truth in information classification, architecture and design.

Information may be infinite, however… the organisation of information is finite as it can only be organised by LATCH: Location, Alphabet, Time, Category, or Hierarchy.

Richard Saul Wurman

A truism in information architecture. BBC iPlayer and BBC Podcasts are solid examples which blend a mix of…

  • Location (channels/stations for a specific region in the UK),
  • Alphabet (sub-sorting categories, for example, by alpha),
  • Time (lists of shows ordered by recency of broadcast),
  • Category (‘categories’ of content, like Comedy and Documentary),
  • Hierarchy (Editor’s choice, the importance of station or channel).

…in a single user interface / digital product.

By Rik Williams

I write about how to collaborate to design simple, usable and inclusive information experiences that make the lives of customers easier. Read more in Categories and Tags.