RE: The Myth of Seven, Plus or Minus Two

Subject: RE: The Myth of Seven, Plus or Minus Two
From: Steven Jong <SteveFJong -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2003 09:10:08 -0500

Eric Dunn points out: "Is Google wrong to present you with thousands of links? Should Google and other
search engines stop after 7+/-2? Of course not. They present all the information
relevant to the search and prioritise it by some means."

"Should they do it? Of course not" is also argument by assertion, as I pointed out in my previous posting. In fact, Google *does* stop its presentation at 7+/-2 by default--almost. They present their search results ten links at a time; they also limit their display of pages of results to ten at a time. (That's argument by inspection 8^) Why 10 and not 20? Why not 100? It would be interesting to ask.

In a later reply, Eric is blunt about people who apply theory: "I believe that any blind adherence to an approach
(scientific or otherwise) stems from the basic insecurity
many have with defending their own thoughts and beliefs."

Now, as the person who spoke up in agreement with applying Miller's approach, I must say I take this comment (which, after all, is an ad hominem attack) rather personally. I can defend my own thoughts and beliefs well enough, thank you. My only handicap is that I read TECHWR-L on digest, so I don't get to reply immediately. Are we to accept that having an approach is OK, but if it's "blind adherence," it reflects a personal failing? Who decides whether it's blind or not? This objection sounds a little like dismissing economic data as "fuzzy math;" it drifts toward know-nothingness.

The research I mentioned was made into depth versus breadth of menu trees. I have the sense that the work has been forgotten in the paradigm shift to browser interfaces, but I think it still applies, as does much of the work in form design that lies equally forlorn by the side of the information superhighway. But I digress...

In candor, I have looked into the Miller backlash, and found (as the first hit in my Google test), a nice summary of anti-Miller citations:

I suggest you don't adhere to them blindly 8^)



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