Friday, April 01, 2005

User friendly information

I just returned from vacation in the Florida Keys. Prior to my trip I searched the web for information on what to do, where to stay, etc. While there is a ton of information out there, it seemed that the information I really wanted wasn’t available. I had to wade through multiple sites to find little nuggets of information. Upon arriving, I asked questions to every local I met. I received all sorts of advise (most not what I was interested in) and occasionally got some really valuable tips. We kept getting handed a brochure from the local tourist board that really didn’t have information I wanted. The last day I was there, I stumbled on a great book with things to do in the Keys. It was hidden on a bottom shelf in a gift store, don’t figure…

Finding useful information is a real challenge. Finding information in context of my questions is harder. Finding it with one click of the button is impossible. You would think that an area that makes it living on tourists would have information catered to tourists.

This gets to the challenge of presenting user friendly information. Presentation of information should always address user questions. Not just to address their questions, but their real desires. For example, for a hotel, what I really want to know is what it would feel like to be there. How to give a user the feel for this is the challenge.

In today’s information age, it still takes a lot of time to gather information. Wouldn’t it be great to call one person who could give you all the details you need to plan your vacation? For our business, we always hear about the need for a “help-desk” or the need to synthesize information. Same concept…

Finally, if you want to learn, what I learned about my vacation, you better give me a call, because it’s not captured anywhere. The challenge of tacit knowledge, need I say more...


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