Developed at XEROX PARC in the late 1990s and was inspired by biomimicry (specifically, animal behaviour theories)
|Site containing one or more potential sources for food
|A source of information (e.g. website)
|Search for food
|Search for information
|How likely a patch will provide food
|How promising a source of information appear to user
|Totality of food types that can satisfy hunger for an animal
|Totality of information sources that a user may consider useful
Rate of gain = Information value / Cost associated with obtaining that information (both actual time/effort and opportunity cost)
Obviously we don’t have perfect estimation for 1) how much information a patch contains and 2) how much time it will take to extract that information. This is where info scent comes in.
Things that contribute to scent:
- Perceived credibility
- Information density
Techniques, tools, and interactions, that maximize the utility of the information foraging. This can happen either between patches or within patches.
But, a good user experience involves web pages that are designed so that the user can get the maximum relevant information in the minimum amount of time.
- avoiding context switching (page parking: opening multiple pages in rapid-fire succession to save them for later)
- avoid reading the entire page but still getting the majority of information (F-pattern scanning)
- typically ignoring banners and the right rail
- critically thinking about specific keywords for query
- use of within-page search (ctrl-f) to quickly locate content