From the post:
Every day, a new app or service arrives with the promise of helping people cut down on the flood of information they receive. It’s the natural result of living in a time when an ever-increasing number of news providers push a constant stream of headlines at us every day.
But what if it’s the ways we choose to read the news — not the glut of news providers — that make us feel overwhelmed? An interesting new study out of the University of Texas looks at the factors that contribute to the concept of information overload, and found that, for some people, the platform on which news is being consumed can make all the difference between whether you feel overwhelmed.
The study, “News and the Overloaded Consumer: Factors Influencing Information Overload Among News Consumers” was conducted by Avery Holton and Iris Chyi. They surveyed more than 750 adults on their digital consumption habits and perceptions of information overload. On the central question of whether they feel overloaded with the amount of news available, 27 percent said “not at all”; everyone else reported some degree of overloaded.
The results imply that the more constrained the platform for delivery of content, the less overwhelmed users feel. Reading news on a cell phone for example. The links and videos on Facebook being at the other extreme.
Which makes me curious about information interfaces in general and topic map interfaces in particular.
Does the traditional topic map interface (think Omnigator) contribute to a feeling of information overload?
If so, how would you alter that display to offer the user less information by default but allow its expansion upon request?
Compare to a book index, which offers sparse information on a subject, that can be expanded by following a pointer to fuller treatment of a subject.
I don’t think replicating a print index with hyperlinks in place of traditional references is the best solution but it might be a starting place for consideration.