That feeling when a colleague talks about something and it makes you think of an article you stumbled upon a few weeks ago and now for the life of you, you can't remember where you saw it.
Researchers estimate that up to 30-40% of searches online are people trying to re-find something they have seen before. The web today is not set up well to support re-finding.
There are a couple of good memory storing services out there like e.g. Evernote or Pinterest. All of which let you indicate/save interesting content or links you come across while surfing to ensure ease of retrieval at a later date.
This is great for information you know you want to revisit, but what about all the other stuff? Weird things that you don’t know you want to re-find later but a future version of yourself really feel a strong need to share with a friend a couple of days later.
It’s very hard to predict what will be important in the future and saving everything to Evernote is simply too tedious.
Browsers remembers pretty much everything we do online and we are all, more or less freaked out about it. If Google remembers everything, why aren’t we benefiting more from it?
Search engines are designed first and foremost to help us find new information but they offer a couple features that aid re-finding.
Perhaps the most helpful is the color change of previously clicked hyperlinks. The history function is arguably the most useless. Even though many people are aware of it, most people will rather use the normal search function instead of pouring over a chronological list of links.
The introduction of "search" in the history function is a step in the right direction but it’s hardly used.
In the non-digital world, we're used to seamlessly and effortlessly moving from searching for new things and recalling a memory but online we lack tools to support this.
Imaging instead if we could simply have a memory button to complement the regular search. It would bring up all links you have previously clicked on (a.k.a. purple hyperlinks) as well as other pages and content you have stumbled across as you jumped from blog to news article to social network.
It'd only search through the content you've seen before. If you only scrolled halfway down a page, it'd only include the half you could have possibly seen.
If you were searching for an image, it would bring up all images that you have seen on the aforementioned sites, and only those images. Put those cookies to use!
Search results could be ordered based on recency so that the latest visited result ends up on top. The strength of the memory could also be indicated. The solution seems almost too simple.
I’m not sure how feasible this is from a technical standpoint but who knows? I’d love some input on this.
We are already starting to treat the web as an extension of our memory. Taking inspiration from how the long-term memory (LTM) is organised and functions could change the way we think about searching the web.
• An example of how I think our knowledge of our human mind can change and improve how we design for our online experiences
• An individual project
• A one-day side-project
I’m interested in merging my background in psychology and interaction design, which I try to do under the insignia of psychomimicry. It’s an entirely made up and unofficial branch of biomimicry. I define it as “the examination of the human mind, its models, systems, processes, and elements to emulate or take inspiration from to improve our digital experience.”