UX

Discovery happens elsewhere

You no longer need to come to the library to discover library resources. And the library is makings its resources discoverable in the flow of its users' network lives.
Lorcan 1 min read
Discovery happens elsewhere
On the other side: Jim Michalko looking over the Andy Goldsworthy sculpture on the Stanford campus

I have been using the phrase ‘discovery happens elsewhere’ in recent presentations. I think it captures quite nicely an increasingly important part of how we think about our services.
No single website is the sole focus of a user’s attention. Increasingly people discover websites, or encounter content from them, in a variety of places. These may be network level services (Google, …), or personal services (my RSS aggregator or ‘webtop’), or services which allow me to traverse from personal to network (Delicious, LibraryThing, …).
This means thinking about services in different ways. About how we disclose stuff to other discovery environments; about where our metadata is; about URL structures, RSS feeds, and so on.
I have suggested before that it would be an interesting experiment to think about our services as if they had no user interface. Here maybe it would be interesting to think about services as if they could only be reached from some other place. It makes you think about the variety of other places that discovery happens.
Credits: ‘Discovery happens elsewhere’ is influenced by Steve Rubel’s use of the phrase ‘traffic happens elsewhere’ in his discussion of what he calls the ‘cut and paste’ web.
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Update: Summary sentences, picture added, reformatting on 5 November 2022.

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