HotTopics: 2006 User Update – How Information Providers Can Keep Pace With User Demands For Time-Saving Solutions
Outsell regularly publishes analysis of our user research to help publishers and information providers stay abreast of their customers' rapidly changing behaviors and preferences. In this HotTopics, we examine current user expectations, habits, and needs, and look at how several of these have shifted over the past year. The most noteworthy shift is the time that users are spending on information tasks, which is up from 10.9 to 12 hours per week. The HotTopics also notes the high failure rate of Internet search engines, despite their unchallenged status as a first step in users' research process. Use of intranets as an alternative first-choice tool is on the rise, but failure rates are high there, too. The HotTopics shows trends related to adoption of newer phenomena such as handheld devices and blogs as integral parts of the information environment. Finally, it looks at user needs from the perspective of information management; users' clear priority is more tools for accessing information from the desktop. The perceived amount of unmet needs is growing, reflecting the ubiquity of information and users' insatiable appetite for it. The HotTopics concludes with essential actions for publishers and information providers who want to respond to users' changing needs, environments, and perceptions.