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Throughout history, we have relied on other people to reduce our personal memory load, a phenomenon called transactive memory. If we know that someone else knows a particular piece of information, we don’t have to remember it ourselves. We just need to ask them. But there is a significant germane load to do this. We have to remember who knows what we need, find them, hope they are available, ask them, and process the answer. A similar germane load exists when we use reference sources. We have to remember what source has the information, go to the library (or our personal bookshelf), get the encyclopedia/dictionary/textbook, look up the information, and process it.
Transactive memory is a psychological hypothesis first proposed by Daniel Wegner in 1985 as a response to earlier theories of “group mind” such as groupthink. A transactive memory system is a mechanism through which groups collectively encode, store, and retrieve knowledge.
This trademark infringement case against Amazon is a great example of the importance of understanding the user.
MTM said it could be harmed because a potential buyer might be confused and believe there’s some affiliation between the company and the products listed, leading consumers to buy competitors’ watches.
There are enough flaws in search engine results page (SERP) design to fill several articles, but I will focus on one today that was a completely fortuitous discovery for me (I love those). It was a casual comment from a listener of the Daily Tech News Show that was read and very briefly discussed on the show. The person who called in was commenting on the common wisdom that few people click to the second (or later) pages of the results. Most people will either take the best option on the first page, change their query, or give up. They assume that if a result is not good enough to make it to the first page, it probably isn’t worth the time to check out. In Google we trust!