The use of smartphones in the classroom is no longer clearly something to be frowned upon. In fact, some teachers are now looking to use them as tools to get the best out of their students. Initially, smartphones were distractions, with students playing games or engaging in texting, taking attention away from group activities or lectures. But as today’s society embraces technology to an increasing degree, there is much to be said for leveraging it in the classroom. Traditional dynamics still have a place – the teacher is still the source and disseminator of information and the students are still the recipients, but with technology in the classroom, students can pursue independent learning even further, guided by the instructor.
Summary: Most users are unable to solve even halfway complicated problems with search. Better to redirect their efforts into more supportive user interfaces when possible.
Users are incredibly bad at finding and researching things on the web. A few years ago, I characterized users research skills as “incompetent,” and they’ve only gotten worse over time. “Pathetic” and “useless” are words that come to mind after this years user testing.
In a recent study, for example, a user wanted to buy a highly protective yet girlish phone case as a gift for her daughter. While on Amazon.com, she engaged in random fishing expeditions into the product database, using search queries such as “pink impact resistant iphone 5 cover.”
This was by no means the worst query we saw that week; in this case, however, the user never found what she wanted. She tried a few query modifications — which most users won’t attempt — but never questioned her basic research strategy. Nor did she realize that Amazon uses a full-text search that doesnt understand the meaning of a query.