Yes - No - Maybe
Do you need more information?
Every animal needs some information to survive.
But gathering information has a cost (information foraging)
The goal of information architecture is to maximize the quantity and quality of information, and to minimize the cost and effort to find it.
Information is not knowledge,
Knowledge is not wisdom,
Wisdom is not truth,
Truth is not beauty,
Beauty is not love,
Love is not music,
and Music is the best.
Frank Zappa, "Packard Goose"
Information becomes knowledge if it helps an agent to take a decision.
Finding the information is the first step in decision making.
Making a choice is the second step.
Information architecture should help user not just to find things, but also to make the right choice. From findability to choosability
You fancy some chocolate, so you decide to go and buy it.
Would you prefer to go to a shop with a huge number of options, or just few types of chocolate?
Eliminating the low selling products (up to 54%)
Is this the end of the long tail?
Chernev 2003 distinguishes 3 types of consumers
The consumer A, who already knows what she is looking for, is more satisfied of her purchase if she can choose from a greater assortment of products.
Consumers B and C prefer to choose among a more limited selection of products.
How can we interpret this seemingly paradoxical outcome?
A greater assortment is considered, per se, positive.
Choosing from many alternatives is a demanding cognitive task
The goal of an heuristic is to improve the ratio between decision accuracy and costs (time, memory, cognition, computation)
Identify a cut-off for every attribute, and eliminate each alternative that has an attribute that is outside the cut-off
Ebay offers a filter that works in a similar way to the Elimination by Aspects: it allows the user to decide a upper and lower cut-off for some attributes, and filters out the alternatives outside.
Compare a couple of alternatives for all attributes, keep the best one, and compare it to another alternative.
I have no knowledge of the implementation of this heuristic. Users often use tabbed browsing to perform this strategy: open a new tab, compare the two alternatives, close the tab with the poorer one.
Take the first satisfactory alternative
Google can be seen as an example of satisficing: we don't process all the 217.000 results, but pick the first that satisfies our needs.
The Lexicographic procedure determines the most important attribute and then sorts the alternatives on that attribute.
Venere uses, among others, a lexicographic interface: it allows the user to sort the results by best sellers, price, stars, guest rating.
all attributes have equal weight
Venere calculates an overall Guest Rating based on the mean rates of the different attributes (Cleanliness, Quietness, Spaciousness, Service, Surroundings)
The user A wants to go straight to the product she wants, but likes to know she is choosing among a great selection.
A good search engine would be the good tool for her.
The B user has a (clear) representation of the pertinent dimensions.
She needs to narrow the choice to the item that better fulfills her preferences.
The B user can be happy to use a faceted navigation and selection interface.
But see Peter Boersma, 2010 for its limits.
Help the C user to discover the pertinent dimensions
Whenever you can, categorize the items
The mere categorization effect: people are more satisfied by their choice when the alternatives are presented in categories, even if those are arbitrary and meaningless.
Allow the C user to avoid the decision process.
Amazon gives the users some suggestions: the customer can just pick one of this, without carrying the process of decision making.
Information is not knowledge, knowledge is not tango.
And tango is the best.
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