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CHI-WEB Home

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CHI-WEB  October 2001, Week 2

CHI-WEB October 2001, Week 2

Subject:

Re: Alan Cooper Article

From:

William Hudson <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Sun, 14 Oct 2001 19:45:30 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (97 lines)

Posted on behalf of Jared Spool <mailto:[log in to unmask]>:

Mario wrote: 

> 
> > I think of America's Last War (the so-called Gulf War).  My
> > three-year-old daughter was worried that our house would be 
> > attacked. To assure her that New Jersey was not on the front 
> > lines, I got out a coffee-table world atlas, showed her New 
> > Jersey, then flipped page after page until I got to the 
> > Middle East.  She gained a sense of distance and slept well.

Then our hard-working moderator chimed in with:

> Be careful, this is a navigational illusion. I usually have the 
> converse problem with the detailed UK road atlas that I use. Two 
> points that are geographically adjacement north-south are separated by

> many pages because the page sequences tend to run east-west.

For which I respond:

I'm reminded of Mark Twain when he wrote a story called "Tom 
Sawyer Abroad" where Huck Finn and Tom find themselves flying in a
balloon.  

Huck states that they couldn't have gone very far because the trees were
still green, which meant they must still be Illinois, because if they
were in Indiana, the trees would be pink, just like on the map. Huck
insists that every state is a different color, that's why he's sure they
haven't gone far.

Our esteemed moderator also commented:

> I agree that having to do a lot of navigation produces a sense of 
> distance, but in web navigation this distance is frequently associated

> with *detail*, not necessarily with concept. So, for example, 
> "products" and "jobs" may be adjacent in the navigation bar, but they 
> are conceptually distant. As I progress through the product hierarchy,

> I remain in a conceptually small space, so the effort of navigation is

> not really of much benefit.

We've quizzed users extensively on their conceptual models behind
navigation, particularly with this notion of close and far.

We've found that most users don't really have such a notion. It's more
of a "Known" and "Unknown" relationship.  Either they think they know
what a link will get them or they tell us they don't know. (Sometimes
when they think they know, they really don't know, but it's the
perception of knowing that is interesting to us in this context.)

In terms of perception of cost, known links seem to "cost less" than
unknown links. Users seem much more willing to click on known links.
This is one reason we've focused our work on understanding the notion of
"scent" the last few years. 

For example, we recently had a user unwilling to click on any of the
links because three of them were too likely and she didn't know which
one to choose. She was looking for a pair of wireless headsets to watch
TV with, and the site presented a dozen links. 

The three categories she thought were most likely were "Home Audio",
"Home Video", and "Portable Audio". Her rationale was that the headsets
were for audio, so home audio made sense, though portable audio also
made sense because they were portable, but home video made sense because
it to be connected to her tv.

As a result, she didn't make any choice and used the search engine
instead.  The cost of choosing one over the other was too much for her.
Even though the site caried the product, she never did find it.

Our new findings with regards to categories has some real insights in
it. (Watch for our new report on this topic in the next week -- pop me a
note if you want me to let you know when it's available.)

Jared


- o - o - o -
Jared M. Spool
User Interface Engineering
242 Neck Road
Bradford, MA 01835 USA
(978) 374-8300  fax: (978) 374-9175
[log in to unmask]   http://www.uie.com

    --------------------------------------------------------------
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