How Google’s Algorithm Rules the Web

This is a fantastic article from Wired about how Google works. Check this out:

The Audrey Fino failure led Singhal on a multiyear quest to improve the way the system deals with names — which account for 8 percent of all searches. To crack it, he had to master the black art of “bi-gram breakage” — that is, separating multiple words into discrete units. For instance, “new york” represents two words that go together (a bi-gram). But so would the three words in “new york times,” which clearly indicate a different kind of search. And everything changes when the query is “new york times square.” Humans can make these distinctions instantly, but Google does not have a Brazil-like back room with hundreds of thousands of cubicle jockeys. It relies on algorithms.


Information systems for color blind visitors

I must admit that I haven’t thought about what my designs look like to color blind viewers. I assume that the typical web designer and developers don’t consider it, either. I know how frustrating it can be, because my dad is red/green color blind and we had a good time as kids laughing at some of his wardrobe decisions. I also remember helping with electrical projects and being his wire spotter—after all, the difference between the red and green wire is pretty important. (more…)


Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive

This is not your typical list of social etiquette tips, like ‘have a firm handshake’ or ‘look them in the eye,’ but a fascinating list on the science of persuasion. Check out number 20:

Asking for little goes a long way. Researchers went door-to-door asking for American Cancer Society donations. Group A just asked for a donation, group B ended their spiel with “even a penny would help”. Results? 28.6% response rate for Group A vs. 50% response for Group B.