facetofcathy: Faceted prism shown refracting light into the visible spectrum (Spectrum)
I'm going to tell you all about how I search and browse for things.

Some time ago, I stumbled upon Browse vs. Search: Which Deserves to Go? by Bruce Tognazzini. It's a fascinating post that takes one hapless questioner's search for like minds to have a go at Apple designers for not putting all their eggs in the search basket and uses it as a case study in why you need both. I don't know anything about Lion or the iOS contacts app they're talking about, but the specific list of things being browsed or searched isn't the point.

The point is that people will not use your app or website the way you want them to, or the way you think is easiest. They'll do what works for them. And one of the problems designers have is that they think they're the template for all humanity, but they're actually kind of not very typical folks.

The [original Apple computer] was familiar-looking and approachable. Woz [Steve Wozniak], the engineering genius behind it, later developed the CL 9, the first programmable universal remote control. It featured the keys 0 through F, labelled with the standard Hexadecimal notation so familiar to everyone born with 16 fingers. It enabled you to capture and command 256 different codes spread across 16 invisible "pages." You just had to memorize the page and position of all 256 of those codes and you could control everything! Woz and about three other people were able to make excellent use of the resulting product. Engineering, even genius engineering (and Woz was and is second to none), must be balanced with equally talented design.

And in opposition to those gloriously analytical designers are the rest of us:Read more... )

I decided to make this public again because I just read a comment on fail fandom anon that makes my point.

Real people who don't know or care how your system is designed at the code level need to be able to find things in it. Right now they can't, and if search/browse is seen as a module to be plugged into the AO3 and not something fully integrated into the site itself--as in those useless lists of fandoms--then it never will get better. Up to now the AO3 has failed at creating an archive users can actually use to find things in.


facetofcathy: four equal blocks of purple and orange shades with a rusty orange block centred on top (Default)

February 2014

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