Findability goes bigtime.

Peter Morville has a new book coming out, “Ambient Findability,” and a blog to match: The book is from O’Reilly, and has a blurb from Bruce Sterling, which gives it enormous geek-cool cred.

So far, the book looks like a lucid, imaginative paradigm-shifter that’s sorely needed. From what I can tell from the intro chapter (available on the site), it focuses less on the “biztech” piece of the new internetworked global village, and more on the elusive human impact of the new world we’ve made for ourselves.

From the introductory chapter:

It’s not enough to focus on the I in IT. We must also lose the C in HCI. Because ambient findability is less about the computer than the complex interactions between humans and information.

I haven’t read the rest of the book yet, so I don’t know if what I’m thinking is in line with what the rest of “Ambient Findability” says (so, that is, don’t take my ravings as a reflection on Peter’s undoubtedly more considered and level-headed message).

But, that said, I’ve felt for a long time that the technology device is just the throwaway, surface conduit for an epochal human phenomenon. Focusing on interfaces and technologies, while necessary gruntwork for making the things we use to do what we do, it’s the “what we do” that is so amazing and life-changing. It’s shifting the way we think of basic human concepts like “nation” or “city” or “language” or “time.” Like most things of this sort, it happens almost invisibly (although it’s incredibly rapid, compared to, say, the printing press, or the telephone even), so that we wake up taking much of it for granted and not realizing how far we’ve gone.

But what about those of us who *like* knowing where we’re heading, and who want to have some part in shaping the trajectory? This sounds like it’s definitely a book for us.

Author: Andrew Hinton

I use information to architect better places for humans. More at