Cooking up effective shared references
Do you invite friends and family to taste the pot you've got simmering on the stove? Do you insist on looking inside books before you buy them? Do you check your watch or phone against clocks in public places? Most of us do. We create shared frames of reference - with our families, with authors, with official timekeepers - and hundreds of others. These shared references give us confidence. They build trust. They help us avoid mistakes and misunderstandings.
On the Web, creating shared references means giving visitors the information they need to make informed choices. In other words, the site owner and visitor have tasted the same bowl of soup. Unfortunately, most websites and apps don't do this very effectively – and the dramatic increase in online shopping during the pandemic has really brought this issue into focus. Often, visitors are frustrated, usability suffers, and sales are lost.
During Cooking Up Effective Shared References, we'll take a look at:
- choices of words and phrases
- photos, videos, sounds, and graphics
- types of technical data
- key trustbuilding activities
Today, shared references aren't just limited to human-human interaction (assuming content providers are human). As we enter the age of Information 4.0 and AI, the problem is compounded. After all, if a human can't understand an interaction, how can we expect Alexa or Siri to understand either? Hence, we experience a wide range of new usability problems - from superfluous queries to confusing expectations. Conversely, a good shared reference can actually get people to accept - and sometimes even appreciate - bad usability.
CEO @ FatDUX Group
Eric has held a wide range of eclectic jobs: piano player (in a house of ill-repute), senior copywriter (in an ad-house of ill-repute), player-piano repairman, adventure-game creator, and stage director. His experiences have served him admirably as an information architect, although he can’t explain exactly how.
Eric has been actively and successfully involved in service-design projects since 1985. He was part of the team that made Scandinavian Airlines “Airline of the Year” in 1985. And a few years later, he worked with British Airways to accomplish the same thing following their privatization. Later, his service design techniques were used to train over 3500 civil servants
throughout the European Community.
In more mundane lives, Eric has been a two-term president of the Information Architecture Institute and Professor of Usability and Design at IE Business School in Madrid, Spain. Today, Eric is CEO of the FatDUX Group in Copenhagen, Denmark. He also has several books to his credit.