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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Design for Search

Interesting post by Donald Clark that points to a BCC article -Web users 'getting more selfish'. The article is a bit over the top in terms of headline, but it's main point is:
people are becoming much less patient when they go online. Instead of dawdling on websites many users want simply to reach a site quickly, complete a task and leave.
Hardly selfish really. Most of our activity is looking up information, so the most common use case is search, evaluate, keep, organize. We don't want fluff.

Other tidbits:
Success rates measuring whether people achieve what they set out to do online are now about 75%. In 1999 this figure stood at 60%.

Web users were also getting very frustrated with all the extras, such as widgets and applications, being added to sites to make them more friendly.

In 2004, about 40% of people visited a homepage and then drilled down to where they wanted to go and 60% use a deep link that took them directly to a page or destination inside a site. In 2008, said Dr Nielsen, only 25% of people travel via a homepage. The rest search and get straight there.
I don't think any of this is much of a surprise.

And, by the way, I believe that Donald Clark does a remarkable job of providing links to interesting articles. I would put him up with Stephen Downes in terms of a valuable aggregator. I truly look forward to both of their links each day. If you've not subscribed, you really should.

1 comment:

V Yonkers said...

I have noticed that my students will give up if they can't find something within a few clicks.

I actually have two takes on this. The first is that there is nothing like skimming through a book to find what you are looking for. Sometimes you don't know what it is until you find it. I often find it frustrating that I know there is something out there on the internet, that I have already seen, but the search engines just aren't finding it (so now I either save it on or on my own computer on Zoltero, just in case I need it later on).

On the other hand, I get frustrated at how quickly my students give up looking. They will state that something is not there, yet I will be able to find it with just a little additional digging. This impatience is beginning to show up in many areas. Having lived in Costa Rica for two years and waiting in line for up to 2 hours (on especially busy days) to get my paycheck cashed, I learned to be patient. We Americans overlook and/or miss a lot by focusing on "quick" rather than "better".