I'm trying to design the IA for an application that has strong
elements of two different organizational patterns.
Looked at in one way the information very much resembles a directory
or phone book (primary use cases are things like "find the phone
number of $NAMED ORGANIZATION").
Looked at another way the information very much resembles a net- or
tree-like hierarchy (example case "find the company for which $NAMED
PERSON is the sales representative). Unfortunately, about 30% of the
data elements do not fit into the hierarchy. They'd be a very large
group of "others".
Preliminary interviews with users shows about a 50-50 split between
the two types of use cases, with no strong bias I can find. The users
are demand-driven, responding to unpredictable requests from other
people so they can't control ahead of time what requests or even what
types of requests they get.
I don't think I want to create two screens for the same person, nor do
I want to make things strongly modal. (But maybe I'm wrong about
I'm looking for any good examples of cases where people have blended
these two types of organizational schemes.