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Findability

§ Browsers · Information design

Peter Morville, co-author of the classic Polar Bear book, has recently launched Findability, a portal to anything and anyone related to findability. Or as Morville puts it:

[A] complex query, run against the brains of users, who will hopefully contribute additional ideas, definitions, categories, and resources.

But what is findability? The word itself is a better explanation of the concept than any definition I’ve seen so far, including Morville’s:

Findability refers to the quality of being locatable or navigable. At the item level, we can evaluate to what degree a particular object is easy to discover or locate. At the system level, we can analyze how well a physical or digital environment supports navigation and retrieval.

And I haven’t quite worked out the significance of the Flash banner at the top of each page. The rotating photos seem a little irrelevent, but mellow and subtle, and that’s fine by me.

Elsewhere, Simon Willison’s recent SitePoint post on using background images to style links brought up an interesting privacy bug. Someone using background images in combination with :link and :visited could let any web site you visit find out, for example, which Slashdot articles you read. Simon Collison has written more on the subject.