9 responses to “Towards User Driven Search”

  1. AliciaWu

    Interesting topic…. Another aspect of search is how can we make it contextual to a user’s profile and attributes? For example, if I know that Francisco and Tara, my colleagues who are working on a similar project have done extensive search about a topic, why couldn’t we provide a mechanism for me to leverage the work that they have done? More importantly, I could also benefit from their knowledge and the question would be “How could I leverage the search history from my network that I trust? I’ll be attending the VRM Workshop this week and look forward to hearing your thoughts.

  2. alecmuffett

    Um… Joe, how can you create something that’s inherent?

    Anyway – “User Driven” is a term that came out of *Adriana* to contrast against the former buzzphrase “User Centric” – the latter leaving too much room for Room-101-stylee “We know what’s good for the user and beatings will continue until their morale improves”.

    The victim of torture is very “centric” if you think about it.

    The Truman show is adequate for explaining what User-Driven is *not* – correct; but when you are talking about what User Driven specifically *is* you aren’t exactly talking “customisation” but instead “involvement” in getting what they want, often where that involvement equates to “getting what they want and simultaneously creating value.”

    Google search is user-driven like a Big-Mac is a-la carte; users search, but web-page authors add value.

    For user-driven, think Twitter, BitTorrent… without the users it would not merely have no market, it would have no content either.

  3. ragegirrl

    “I liked Adriana’s distinctions around it, which her post credits to Bob Frankston. However, the user-as-chef remains, IMO, a fairly limited metaphor for user-driven systems. I think we might be in agreement on that, as I don’t believe “customization” is the end-all-be-all of user-driven, where it is at the core of Adriana’s usage.”

    Actually, wrong on both counts. I came up with the term user-driven as an outcome of our argument where you as a vocal proponent of “coder is king” claim that you’ll have none of the user creater or driven crap. 🙂 Disturbed by this approach, I then talked to Bob about this, making a case for user-driven as a separate and different way of looking at design than user-centric. He suggested a handy metaphor to elaborate on that difference – the tuna salad that was served at the IIW buffet in Mountain View. Not perfect, but it did the trick. The conclusion I took away from that meeting was that user-centricity was not going to take care of what I know is happening on the web as driven by users. Eventually, I blogged it but have been working with this principle ever since, especially when desigining the Mine!.

    Secondly, I am not a fan of ‘customisation’, to put it mildly, and using that word in connection with my notion of user-driven is simply wrong. It is a much bigger concept that goes to the heart of the networked enviroment, the nature of identity and online interactions. I have been using the example of BitTorrent as a user-driven technology/tool for some time and it has more to do with the fact that it is a design native to the networked environment and collapses some other distrinctions and complexities built in applications that are not designed for the network – but that’s another conversations. Suffice to say that Alec is correct in saying that my idea of user-driven, at least in my mind, has far wider implications than what you suggest.

    Anyway, most of this is already in the original blog post http://www.mediainfluencer.net/2008/04/two-tales-of-user-centricities/ and some other ones http://www.mediainfluencer.net/2008/05/from-misapprehensions-to-alternatives/ so not sure where you got that user-driven is about customisation and other bits that don’t fit what I wrote elsewhere.

    “The tools – blogs, wikis, feeds and feed readers, BitTorrent, Flickr, Dopplr, Twitter etc – are revolutionary not just because of their functionality, bits of code or their interface, but their design for usefulness, their modularity and constant evolution. There is an element of open-endedness in their design, either accidental or deliberate, recognising that the designers cannot foresee all the uses to which people will put the tools to. The simplicity is the key, the complexity coming from usage rather than the design. In other words, they are user-driven.

    A simple test of user-driven design is in the answer to a question – Can the user add value to it? Without users del.icio.us would pointless, BitTorrent empty and Flickr dead, Twitter silent.”

    Actually, having only now got around to looking at Zitrain book, the term he uses for this is generative technology – it’s pretty much what I had in mind with user-driven.

    “..the principle of “generativity” in technology: the capacity of some technology to allow its users to make new things out of it, things the designer never anticipated..”

    Hope this clarifies things a bit.

  4. ragegirrl

    “Obviously it didn’t fit your definition, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t user-centric. And since the subtleties we are discussing aren’t picking apart usage-centered verses user-centric, then perhaps we can start by accepting that use-case based development is a core methodology behind creating user-centric systems.”

    Indeed! and that is why I felt the need to come up with the term user-driven. Bingo! 🙂

    And yes, driving the system via adding value to it, is the same thing. Adding value to the system by exercising your autonomy as an individual and adding value to your own data, interactions, transactions, relationships, etc, your entire experience online. That is what it means, from the start.

    This is the stuff I have covered on my blogs ever since I have started blogging…

  5. What I think is wrong with #VRM – HT @nzn @glynmoody @windley @dsearls @adriana872 – dropsafe

    […] as a movement has from the outset been usurped by the “if only people would use my new startup’s technology then this would all be easy” evangelists. Sometimes this is identity-related, but other times […]

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