Search and thou shalt find!


It was interesting listening to Vanessa Fox talk about search, the primary way to navigate the Web. Fox, an expert on this topic wants all of us to solve the searcher’s problem. This is not an easy task as we think differently, confuse ourselves online and sometimes get lost that we need to search ourselves!

We are all lazy, ogle the left side of the page and graphics attract us more than lumps of text. With this common data, why do we still design Web sites that don’t deliver? I think a lot of how we define search depends on the context. In short, we  try to have a semblance of objectivity in a totally subjective topic.

Fox urges us to find out what our audience is looking for and what attracts them to the site. She eloquently said that search is about simplicity and conciseness. Two things we forget amid screaming headlines and overpowering graphics. I personally think the absence of limited space on Web sites unleashes abundant creativity that at times gets confusing.

As we think of search, we may want to focus our efforts on finding out what I call the switch rate. How much times does the user use a particular search term and elect to use another if the earlier one fails. This world of search is mysterious and sometimes confusing but smart designers will think of the commonality that binds us as  human beings. So, let’s exploit our laziness using clever headlines, and keywords that get the maximum out of minimal effort, and keep searching.

Search and thou shalt find!

Creating hubs of capitalism in emerging economies


Multinationals are eyeing a piece of the bottomless pit. The pit is full of  clusters of strange consumers living in untapped regions, largely in emerging economies. They are 4 billion strong, each earns less than $3,000 annually  but plays a vital role in a $5 trillion untapped global market. The challenge for businesses in coming years will be to identify ways to tap this market- even a slice will be gravy. Some are trying with partnerships, others are seeking investment opportunities, but those who succeed eventually will be companies who view sustainability as an opportunity.

Businesses that view sustainable initiatives in emerging economies like India will create hubs of capitalism. As they harness technologies to develop innovative solutions for these clusters, they will empower them and create profitable margins. This requires a lot of hard work, a willingness to collaborate, understand, and above all empathize with folks who have for centuries been denied mainstream economic comfort. In an inter-connected world, small people with big dreams will soon control these hubs and a largely dictatorial system of Indian entrepreneurship will die.