Findability? Oh, that’s just a theory…

As with most theories, it starts with someone connecting the dots. In this case, Peter Morville in the mid 2000s defined findability as

the degree to which a particular object is easy to discover or locate, [as well as] the degree to which a system or environment supports navigation and retrieval.

So, let’s find more about this theory.

Finding is the keyword

Considering the history of trading in Humanity, it is obvious that the first people to get the upper hand were the producers: the farmers, hunters and tradesmen. They would gather, create or design products for users. But once everyone had learnt to do the same, people suddenly realised that they needed salesmen to get the producers and the users at the same table.

Findability originates from this need. Findability it is about finding someone to pass the products to. From then onward, marketing executives took over the business environment and nowadays it’s all about making the products findable by the consumers. At all cost.

Word cloud for findability
Organise so that users can find

Findability versus availability

Is there a difference between available and findable, that is not just semantic? The answer is yes. All over the world, inventors and entrepreneurs create a wide range of products everyday, but until users can search and find these products, they remain unavailable. This is because from the perspective of the user, a product that they can’t find is anything but non-existent on the trading market.

Bitcoin is a great example of this phenomenon. It existed for a long time in the pockets of numerous developers and Blockchain enthusiasts. For them, it was just a piece of technology, like many others. It wasn’t until platforms were created to make the cryptocurrency findable that the media hype started. The same goes for your average website: it doesn’t exist until people search/find or hear/read about it.

Now, whether the website is accessible to the user who found them can make or break the traffic on the webpage. I will cover this topic in length in my next article.

Sources:

Killian Branding: http://www.killianbranding.com/whitepaper/findability-catch-the-fourth-wave/

Quality Matters: https://www.qualitymatters.org/qa-resources/resource-center/articles-resources/does-findability-matter

User Pathways: http://userpathways.com/2008/07/tools-and-techniques-for-managing-website-evolution/#more-280

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