I would like to see the population of America represented as pictures of 1000 people. They would basically be a representative sample— if 20% of Americans are age 0 to 15, that’s 200 people on the poster would be too.
Our minds are visual. Selling a product to x demographic with y people is not the same as selling it to a swath of people circled on a poster.
Making this digital would also add possibilities.
It’s possible this could be done with 100 personas too, but I’m not sure.
According to Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From, literary scholar Franco Moretti analyzed Brit Lit by “distant reading”— a short look at many, many popular books— rather than a close look at one or a few. He found that genres came and died every 25 to 30 years. Could a similar study of the NYT Bestseller’s reveal generation trends in America’s reading habits?
I’ve only been working for a large corporation for a few months, but I can imagine that the realization of the huge amount of duplicated work and time wasted finding answers that others know will only grow as I work here longer.
How can software help an organization collect and make available its knowledge, expertise, and ideas in a productive way?
If I’m trying to find someone with X expertise, how do I find them?
Let’s assume computers can’t totally process natural language yet. I’m seeing things like
- easy, fast search
- extensive tagging of people (“went and talked to @John_Hay about Chinese foreign policy today”)
- tagging/knowledge of special concepts (“@John_Hay is an #expert on Chinese foreign policy” or “@John_Hay #knows ‘Chinese foreign policy’”)
- people record discussions, problems (“#who knows about Chinese foreign policy?”)
- search could be depth-first (finds recent posts from people you’re associated with) or breadth-first (finds results from anyone at any time)
- automatically recommends people with answers to your questions
- automatically shows feed of people using same tags/keywords as you
- could subscribe to feeds for tags like #ideas
- and before this gets too Twitteresque, NO CHARACTER LIMIT!
Anyhow, just some half-baked ideas… this is a fascinating problem, and I think software could be an amazing boon in dealing with it.
Well in human factors it’s well known that you want software or any device with a user to have a predictable interface that conforms to a user’s mental model.
With software, some individual applications do this, but I feel like a lot of our most fundamental paradigms are still what is easiest for the computer, not what is easiest for the user. Exhibit 1, the file system. Exhibit 2, “strictly typed” forms. Exhibit 3, the start menu/desktop field of launchables.
With the file system, it would make much more sense to have an extensive tagging/nested tagging system. A file system is good for some things, but overall, our brain is an associative recall machine, and coming up with a word or list of words to describe what you’re doing is way more “parallel” to your brain’s way of doing things than navigating a heavily nested file system.
With strictly typed forms, I’m really meaning I’d like to see more things handle natural language. Search now does this well, but even less fuzzy maneuvers can handle our variation in structure, spelling, ordering, etc. In other words, let’s “tell” our computers what to do with words. They can handle it.
And finally application launchers as opposed to searching a field of icons on a desktop. I’m only repeating stuff here, but recalling a word to launch an application/browse to a web favorite/open a folder is way easier than the ordinary means of getting there.
To summarize, our brains are associative machines that don’t calculate, they look up. And we can use our computers to “look up” the tasks we think of using the words that come to mind when we think of these tasks. So let’s do it.
I predict that in the future, most to all of the text entered on our computers will be auto-corrected for us at astoundingly accurate levels. It won’t matter how accurately we can type because we’ll be corrected well enough for even the sloppiest typing to turn very coherent. This might involve a lot of probability-based models for correction, which would be difficult for individual computers to do, but once we’re typing everything into the internet…
The web is getting better. Web-drives? Happening. A web-based OS? Happening. Web-augmented reality? Happening now.
Now that a bunch of our applications are starting to drift server-side, how about doing the same with our IDEs? I’d like something fast and lightweight, multiple-language, and free. Heroku is great, but it could stand a more robust text-editing environment, a little speed, and functionality in Chrome.
I’m tired of having the Adobe reader plugins for my internet browsers catch “control+t”, which I use all the time to open a new tab. Instead, the plugin should let control-t bubble up to the browser, and I can then open a new tab quickly every time. This seems to be pretty consistent across browsers too. Adobe, how about it?
A few years ago, my roommate and I decided to set our alarm clocks to super-grandiose classical music, rather than the pop song radio wake-up calls (or free ringtones) we had been using. This worked great. Waking up to trumpet fanfares on top volume made me want to float out of bed and conquer the world.
I’d like to see an alarm clock that does that. Of course, I have plenty of other gripes about alarm clock interface complexity, but for now, let’s just say the only songs it can wake you up to actually make you want to get up.
If you’ve ever been to http://thecutest.info/, it’s a site to rank the cutest pictures in the world using a voting algorithm.
That’s nice and all, but what’s the scariest image? A lot of what’s scary is determined by the context of a background story, but for individual images, I’m very curious as to what would appear.
P.S. Never really did get back into the swing of this after winter. Oh well. I make no promises this time either.
I have been out of the country for a month, and now getting back into the swing of things. A furious rate of posting should begin presently.