How to deal with Collections

I am struggling with how to organize and display collections on this site.

By “collections” I mean groups of information–mostly photos but also occasional articles or thoughts–around a topic that can easily be scanned and surveyed or viewed as a group. My preferred execution would be a interface similar to Pinterest in which you can gather and pin a group of ideas for inspiration or better understanding.

My real-life need has been in grouping together and cataloging art I’ve seen (so I can study or remember the work, artists, and ideas), or gathering inspiration projects such as room renovations at rentals, furniture, or organization methods among many other things. I think I could also use this format to collect articles around a topic but that might be stretching the category/function too far.


Create Pages:

One attempt as been creating a page called “All Collections” with a Query Loop of its subpages with collection topics like “Art Seen”, “French Cleats”, “Third Floor Vibes” and “Pine Furniture” and so on. For this method of organization

I collect and update the pages when new content is found.

Problems with Pages

  • It seems that the pages are getting a little bloated… maybe not a problem.
  • The main problem is that if I want to add items in the future I need to update the page… not a huge deal. But what if the item I add belongs in two pages? On a “Pine Furniture” Collection, a “Bed Frame” Collection, and a “Inspiration from Le Pain Quitodian” collection? Is this a problem no matter how I lay it out?
  • Do I make subpages? For “Art Seen” can I filter by artist and then by location? Do I need to? There is a narrow line between using the best possible (and available) tool, and buying into a incorrectly thought-out system that creates more hassle and confusion in the long run.

Use Tags

A second solution is just using tags. I can’t tag individual media which would make tags more useful. If I see one piece of “inspiration” or related content I need to make a post about it or put it into an older post. Also if I am employing tags I need to make sure I am using the Featured Image option when using the Query Loop to pull in all related posts. If I use the Featured Image option it is an extra step for every post. Tagging many posts will also result in bloating the tags library to a point where simply viewing and searching the site from a viewer aspect would be cumbersome. I was hoping to post a tag cloud to help viewers refine posts within a category (* See Footnote)

Problems with Tags

  • I may need to rely more heavily on the Featured Image for every post (more steps per post, maybe)
  • Bloated tag library. Reduces possible future use of tags if I want to use them more elegantly.
  • Unsure what final layout will look like… I think it would be an Archive Page? Is that scannable enough?

Current Conclusion

In short, I think I will need to keep working on this for a little while and in the mean time live with an less-than-optimal solution. I am finding that it is best to adjust the site to my needs and I make changes as I go… getting too theoretical up front can be a waste of time.

I have a trip to New York coming in February and I would like to have a process in place to document what I see during that trip. I will continue to organize what I have in the mean time and see if a meaningful solution comes up.

I am hoping to use the simplest architecture possible… using the blog as it is designed and trying to avoid plugins and heavy modifications. With this in mind setting up pages (can be edited and updated) with the use of tags (which will get bloated) and then needed to come back to organized and declutter from time to time might actually be the simplest.

Additional late addendum: What if I didn’t worry about the “Art Seen” category of collections? What it look different?

Footnote: using tags to help viewers refine post topics is still possible but I think the refining will need to be within each post by selecting the tag of interest. In this context the tag could return posts outside of the category the viewer was hoping to see… but maybe the solution is to find a way to search tags within a category… something that I can already do with modifying the URL so a future solution seems likely so I will leave this door open.

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