For the week that we missed class, we were supposed to write about a way in which we used categories in real life situations. Of course, we’ve already talked about how we use categories for grocery shopping and all other aspects of life. We mentally lump and split our environment so that we can navigate through our lives more efficiently. As I was thinking about how I use categories, I was also working on a project at work. The two thought processes eventually merged, and I realized that I was using categories, even as I was thinking about how I use categories.
The project was simple enough. I was working on putting together a t-shirt design for the teen department at our library. For the back of the shirt, I needed lettering. My computer, however, didn’t have a preloaded font that fit the criteria chosen by our teen advisory group or the image I had in my mind. For that reason, I needed to find a free font online. With this realization, the categorizing began. My first step was to do a search using Google for “free font downloads.” I pretty instantly was given the million + responses that are traditional with Google. I instantly began mentally categorizing the results as safe (from viruses) or unsafe. Of course, I have no real way of knowing if any of the website results are truly safe or not, but I’ve created a mental model of what a safe site looks like (right or wrong), and so I began categorizing the results based on that model. When I had chosen two or three sites that fit in my “safe” category, I then began looking for the font I wanted to use. On the website that I ended up going with, the fonts were already categorized. I only had to recognize that the “graffiti” category fit what I was looking for and I found the font I wanted in very little time.
Of course, writing down the process I followed is not really very indicative of how efficient using categories proved to be in my case. In fact, from the Google search to the downloading and installing of the appropriate font, this whole process took only about 15 minutes. The majority of that time was spent in choosing between fonts.
Without the use of categories for this task, it is difficult to say if I would have ever completed the task at all.