Browsing and searching are often tightly interwened, and that will most likely only increase. Especially on mobile phones.
We are already overwhelmed by information overload. When surfing on a mobile phone, finding the right information, and being able to process it, can be even more difficult than when surfing on a computer.
In his workshop at IA Summit 2009 Peter Morville adressed amongst others Mobile Search.
“5 or 10 years from now, we will still start with the search engine”. (Peter Morville)
When standing in the streets of a new town, craving sushi for dinner, you expect GoogleMaps to lead you to the nearest sushi restaurant (and it does). But what doesn’t GoogleMaps do for you, that you would wish it would help you with? (Standing there, all confused and helpless). I would like to be filled in with a short-listed menu for the restaurants. (I might not bother to go there if they don’t have what I like). I also want to know the opening hours. (Yeah, it’s good to know where the restaurant or the shop is, but it won’t help me if it’s closed when I get there). What else? Let’s make a wishlist, it’s fun :-).
An extended ability to take action is crucial on the mobile. Taptu is an entertainment search engine for mobile phones. You can search for all sorts of cool stuff like music, videos and images. They also have an I’m bored section, where you can find out what are the most popular searches on Taptu, see what other people are sharing with friends or check out the hottest searches on Taptu today. This is mobile search and social search combined in a new and funny way.
When dealing with user interfaces for mobile phones one important issue is to reduce the amount of typing. Thus, iPhone have launched their Voice Search. The application will apparently allow users to speak commands such as “Where’s the nearest pharmacy” into the iPhone and it will be sent to Google’s servers and come back with a search result, according to The New York Times.
Results shall be shown within seconds and apparently will include local information if you choose to allow the application to send your GPS data to Google. Have anyone tried this app, and if so, what are your experience with it? It would be fun to know!
An interesting question which Peter Morville discussed at his workshop is how to access large data sets from a mobile phone? Typically, interfaces for mobile search require keyword text entry, which can be slow on a mobile device and is often not suited for browsing tasks. FaThumb offers a fasetted interface to the mobile screen. This allows users to filter results by navigating a hierarchy of metatadata (facets). Studies done during the development process (pdf, 531 kB) showed that facet navigation was well liked and more effective than text entry for browsing tasks.
The Norwegian company Opera Software is currently working on Fingertouch, a technology designed to make interacting with the Web easier and simpler on touch-based devices. Fingertouch provides visual feedback when you hit a Web link or a form field, and assists you by zooming in on elements so it is clear that they are being focused on:
Veien til verdens beste grensesnitt går gjennom å forenkle komplekse prosesser, være knallhard på prioritering av informasjon, prioritere et grafisk design som løfter brukeropplevelsen flere hakk, og å ta seg tid til å forstå brukernes situasjon for å kunne legge til det lille ekstra.
I juleferien skisset jeg og et par kollegaer raskt opp en alternativ forside til sas.no. Hvorfor i all verden gjorde vi det? Jeg er en ganske alminnelig SAS-kunde. Jeg liker å fly med SAS, men jeg liker dårlig å forholde meg til nettstedet sas.no. Det jeg liker minst er at det er synonymt med umulig [...]
I mars går Difi i gang med å kvalitetsvurdere 700 offentlige nettsteder i Norge. Og til høsten avsluttes det med konferanse, stjernedryss, premiering og fest. Men alt er ikke rosenrødt med Kvalitet på nett. Kanskje det er på tide med noen endringer.