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Scott Plewes

Scott Plewes

Chief Strategy Officer

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish: Categorization in UX Design

Categories matter in data analysis and information design. It is tempting to take whatever categories the system already provides (emails opened, website visits, red and blue fish, etc.) and use them as is. That won’t necessarily give you the insights you need and you may overlook the most insightful way to optimally structure information. For this reason, qualitative research, like interviews, is often invaluable for the best categorizations.

Some additional things to know about quantification and categorization:

  • A helpful approach to categorization is “identify first, quantify second.” Identify issues first, then measure how prevalent they are, when and with whom.
  • The importance of categorization runs deep into any statistical analysis. When AI or statistical models get built, it is most often on the back of categorizations.
  • Your models – whether qualitative or AI – encompass your understanding of the system and/or people within it, which are based on the categorization you have done. Therefore your decisions are also based on this categorization.
  • The pragmatic way out of all these potential biases and flaws is to test your model and designs that arose from the insights it gave you.
  • Lastly, categorization isn’t bad; it is necessary. It’s just important to be aware that you are making choices that are not handed down flawlessly from Mount Olympus – or an all-knowing AI database.

Scott Plewes

Scott Plewes

Chief Strategy Officer

Over the past twenty-five years, Scott has worked in the areas of business strategy, product design and development in the high tech sector with a specialization in experience design. He has extensive cross-sector expertise and experience working with clients in complex regulated industries such as aviation, telecom, health, and finance. His primary area of focus over the last several years has been in product and service strategy and the integration of multi-disciplinary teams and methods. Scott has a master’s degree in Theoretical Physics from Queen’s University.


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Akendi is a human experience design firm, leveraging equal parts experience research and creative design excellence. We provide strategic insights and analysis about customer and user behaviour and combine this knowledge with inspired design. The results enable organizations to improve effectiveness, engage users and provide remarkable customer experiences to their audiences.