Posts Tagged ‘books’

The Filter Bubble by Eli Pariser has recently been published. This book is about how algorithms (computer rules) and not human beings are filtering what we each see on the Internet (including on FaceBook, Google, Yahoo). The rules depend on who we are, what kind of computer we are using, what links we usually click on, etc. I am interested in reading this book and expect to post again once I do.

There is an interesting TED Talk about the concept, in case you cannot get to the book right away.

And, you might be interested in Ten Ways to Pop Your Filter Bubble.

This book should be of interest to instructional designers since faculty often ask their students to search for information on the Internet. And, faculty expect that when students look up the same information in the same place that they will receive the same answers. Pariser shows that this is not the case. Liberal viewers tend to get more links to liberal sites; conservative viewers tend to get more links to conservative sites, and so on.


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Last Sunday I read a New York Times review of a book which I am very excited to read — The Information by James Gleick. I’ll post about this again (probably in a few months!) once I read it.  For now,  I want to bring it to your attention.

Gleick argues that

Information is more than just the contents of our overflowing libraries and Web servers. It is “the blood and the fuel, the vital principle” of the world. Human consciousness, society, life on earth, the cosmos — it’s bits all the way down.

A small blurb by the reviewer Geoffrey Nunberg in the Up Front section of the Sunday Book Review included a quote which was very apropos to my life.

Nunberg is skeptical of notions of “information overload,” but does admit to moments of tech-induced befuddlement. “I fancy myself a dab hand at Google, but it drives me crazy,” he said. “Information is like taxis in New York: it seems to be all over the place, and then you can never find it when you need it. [italics and bolding are mine, not the NYT] But the problem isn’t just the raw volume; we’ve collapsed all these channels and categories that used to be distinct, so that nothing is where it’s supposed to be.”

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Don’t Make Me Think

I don’t want you to think that instructional designers and web designers shouldn’t think. Instead this important idea refers to the users of your web pages. Don’t make them think about the technology. And, don’t assume you know how users will interact with your web site.

don't make me think book cover The book – Don’t Make Me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability By Steve Krug is full
of ideas on making your site user-friendly. Our instructional design team often refers to it.

Steve Krug starts with 3 important facts about real-world web use.

  • Fact of Life #1 – We don’t read web pages. We scan them.
  • Fact of Life #2 – We don’t make optimal choices. We satifice*.
  • Fact of Life #3 – We don’t figure out how things work. We muddle through.

You can read about these Facts of Life and more in this free sample chapter of his book. Recommended! I recommend you get yourself a copy of this book too.

* Economist Herbert Simon coined the term (a cross between satisfying and sufficing) in Models of Man: Social and Rational (Wiley, 1957).

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