Information Wayfinding: The Future of Search

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People's interactions with information environments are strikingly similar to how we navigate physical environments. I believe that embracing this spatial approach to information — what I call information wayfinding — can help us build environments conducive to the people who use them.

This talk was presented at the Enterprise Search Summit in Washington D.C. on November 6, 2013.

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Information Wayfinding: The Future of Search

  1. 1. Information Wayfinding The Future of Search B Y T Y L E R TAT E
  2. 2. We are drowning in information.
  3. 3. “What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention, and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.” — Herbert Simon, 1956

  4. 4. Big data is not a technology problem.
  5. 5. Big data is not a technology problem.
 It’s a people problem.
  6. 6. How can we make ever-growing volumes of information accessible and useful to people without overwhelming them?
  7. 7. 1. We need to think about search from a new mindset. 2. We need to understand how people seek information. 3. We need to unify interaction with information.
  8. 8. 1 A Brief History of Information
  9. 9. The Analog Era
  10. 10. The Analog Era The tablet and the written word
  11. 11. The Analog Era The tablet and the written word The scroll and the table of contents
  12. 12. The Analog Era The tablet and the written word The scroll and the table of contents The printing press and the index
  13. 13. The Digital Era
  14. 14. The Digital Era The early Internet and the Web page (1990s)
  15. 15. The Digital Era The early Internet and the Web page (1990s) The CMS and the search engine (2000s)
  16. 16. The Digital Era The early Internet and the Web page (1990s) The CMS and the search engine (2000s) Big data and ? (2010s)
  17. 17. 2 The Information Environment
  18. 18. "Mankind evolved in a world of space and time. Our memories evolved to record events that transpire in space and time. Modern attempts to externalise and enlarge that memory should not, and probably need not, neglect its spatiotemporal dimensions.” — George A. Miller
  19. 19. “We must consider not just the city as a thing itself, but the city being perceived by its inhabitants.” — Kevin Lynch
  20. 20. Paths Edges Districts Nodes Landmarks
  21. 21. The Environment A place someone goes to seek information in order to satisfy an information need.
  22. 22. Districts Layers Nodes
  23. 23. Districts The primary categories into which an environment can be logically divided.
  24. 24. Layers Secondary categories which describe a specific facet of a given node.
  25. 25. Nodes Precise points in the environment (that we might otherwise refer to as a Web page, document, or record).
  26. 26. 3 Information Wayfinding
  27. 27. Wayfinding is the collection of cognitive processes people use to navigate physical environments.
  28. 28. Information wayfinding is the collection of cognitive processes people use to navigate information environments.
  29. 29. Locate
  30. 30. Explore
  31. 31. Q3 Q6 Q5 Q4 Q2 Q7 Q1
  32. 32. Recognize Need Use Interpretation Find Information Validate and Interpret Information
  33. 33. Meander
  34. 34. 4 Principles for a New Architecture
  35. 35. Structured Districts
  36. 36. Flexible Layers
  37. 37. Positional Cues
  38. 38. Survey Knowledge
  39. 39. Clear Paths
  40. 40. Coherent Interaction
  41. 41. 1. Structured Districts 2. Flexible Layers 3. Positional Cues 4. Survey Knowledge 5. Clear Paths 6. Coherent Interaction
  42. 42. How can we make ever-growing volumes of information accessible and useful to people without overwhelming them?
  43. 43. 1. Consider information as a spatial environment rather than a book. 2. Understand how users find their way through an information environment, and support them along that journey. 3. Unify navigation and search, districts and layers into a single, coherent experience.
  44. 44. DesigningTheSearchExperience.com twigkit.com vimeo.com/78578346 @TylerTate, @Twigkit
  45. 45. Information Wayfinding The Future of Search B Y T Y L E R TAT E

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