April 17, 2005

Empowering Search through Genres

Luke's recent post challenging the design of search results pages reminded me that my original genre talk had another way to use document genres to improve the web experience.

When you use a search engine, say, Google, you get a list of ordered results. So, here's what a search for "information architecture" returns.

Search Google

Which is all well and good, if you want that particular tutorial, or Jesse's particular set of resources. But, considering the 684,000 results, one gets the feeling that there could be more going on here.

Clusty, the hideously named search engine, uses algorithmic juju to identify related topics, and presents those with your results.

Search Clusty

All right. I can't argue that this is any better than Google's results, because it's unclear just how these topics are related. If you search on "information architecture" and then click "usability" or "web design," just what are you going to get?

For my talk, I mocked up a Clusty interface that utilized genre as a filter:

Search Clusty Genres

The advantages, I hope, are clear. Utilizing genre allows the results to speak to whatever task the user brought to the search. If someone types "information architecture" into Google, they could be engaged in any number of tasks -- self-teaching, looking for consulting help, looking for a definition, considering a career change, looking for a professional association, conducting research, etc. etc. Who knows? By offering genres as a filter, people can use that to narrow the results to those which are personally relevant at this time.

Posted by peterme at 06:50 PM | Comments (5)

I guess it IS the content, stupid!

At the Webvisions conference coming in July of this year, I will present, "It's the Content, Stupid," wherein I try to remind web designers that the reason people come to their site is not for their design and architecture.

Since submitting that presentation topic, I've been made aware of two similarly titled essays. In "It's About Content, Stupid," some guy named Jeremy Pepper talks about a lot around marketing and PR. I don't know what the title has to do with his thesis. 10 days before that, "content guru" Gerry McGovern offered, "It's the content, stupid: search engine optimization," where he makes it clear that the content of your webpages influences how it's ranked in search results.

Three different discussions, all with nearly the same title.

All of which probably ticks off Gene.

Posted by peterme at 05:43 PM | Comments (1)

Pics and Words from Hong Kong

I've uploaded a bunch of photos from Hong Kong so far.

This trip has been good. More jetlag than last time -- we weren't able to run around our first two days like we did before. Instead, on the day we landed at 7:10am, we had a meeting at 1pm.

We've eaten very well on this trip. On Friday night we headed into Lan Kwai Fong for Vietnamese food at Indochine 1929. We ordered a set menu (and ended up at the upper end of the price range in that linked review). It was way too much food, but the variety of offerings was great. The butterflied shrimp were amazing, as was the orange duck. Oh, some delightful beef. Anyway, worth checking out -- but order off the menu, your wallet will thank you for it.

On Saturday we didn't get into the city until around 3:30 or 4:00 o'clock. Very lazy going. We met up with Daniel and Jo from Apogee, a local usability firm. They took us to an excellent Sichuan restaurant. Of course, since I was just blindly following, I have no idea the restaurant's name or place. I just know the fried chickens and chilis was excellent, though lip-numbing.

Chilis, up close

Afterward, we had gelato at XTC on Ice. While their vanilla was excellent, it was the hot chocolate, made with red chilis, that was truly memorable. If someone offered that flavor in San Francisco, the place wouldn't be able to keep it stocked.

Today was a wander around Central, with dim sum, shopping, markets, and up the escalators.

Probably the most... arresting site was a fish for sale at the market. With it's heart beating:

The Heart is Still BeatingClick to see on Flickr, with Note

At a store in Langham Place, I spotted this tea cup:

Which, I think, is brilliant. I don't know what it costs -- it was behind locked glass and the store workers weren't very friendly.

Still haven't bothered with the Peak -- too dreary.

We've got a couple more days here. Which means, more eating!

Posted by peterme at 06:32 AM | Comments (1)


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