Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ambient Findability

Peter Morville wrote a book, as part of the well-regarded O'Reilly series, on navigating your way around large & complex amounts of information, called Ambient Findability

Although its not the greatest of books covering HCI and Information retreival, it does cover the subject in a useful and conversational way (its ideal for the consultant to pick and and refer to as well).

In his book, amongst other subjects, he discusses some themes that are interesting to this blog:

1. Pareto's Principle (otherwise known as the 80/20 rule):
Where 80% of the effects comes from 20% of the causes*.
Although obvious, it should always be rembered that companies should identify where they need to maximize their attention and to focus on those things that affecting them most.

2. Emotional Design
The wonderfully 'human' concept that 'Attractive things work better' (or put anther way, by a good friend of mine 'have you ever had a car that drove better when it was clean'?)

3. Human Information Interaction
I find it an interesting theory that working within information environments utilises a combination of 2 laws:

a) Moore's Law:
Computing power (number of transistors) will double every 2 years

b) Mooer's Law:
An information retrieval system will tend not to be used whenever it is more painful and troublesome for a customer to have information than for him not to have it.

Now.... assuming computation power continues to increase over time (Moore). There comes a point where it possible to create an attractive (intuitive, responsive, adaptable) interface to a system, thus improving the retrieval and making it virtually painless (Mooer) for a user to find all the information they need.

One question to therefore ask is: "when is that date?"
Or possibly and what is more contentious to ask is: "Haven't we already reached it and are just being lazy?"

* lets think of them as influencers, bloggers, commentators, etc.
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