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Patrick Debois

Book Review: A Perfect Mess

On our current project here at VRT Medialab we're implementing a multimedia search engine. One thing we always discuss is what the end-user is looking for. Is he looking for one specific result or a broad range of result? Does he know what he is looking for, or is he merely figuring out what the problem domain is about. After some research I came across the article Four Modes of Seeeking and how to design for them . Have a look at the Search Patterns Collections by Peter Morville. That will get you started on designing some GUI. Users are creative, you never know if a user want to sing , sketch or tap with his fingers. Google is also experimenting with it with alternative views such as timeline. Combine this with tagclouds like delicious and Quintura. Others like timetube apply the same techniques to youtube videos. Kartoo and LivePlasma experiment with graph structures.

The bottom line is, prepare what ever you can to save on computer cycles you want, you'll never anticipate every way a users want to search or have it's results complete. That's why we have to present the enduser with the possibility to easily switch between searching techniques and results presentations.

A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder - How Crammed Closets, Cluttered Offices, and on-the-Fly Planning Make the World a Better Place