Customer Review

114 of 121 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating - a few good references, but no good insights, January 18, 2006
This review is from: Ambient Findability: What We Find Changes Who We Become (Paperback)
Ambient Findability can be summed up as follows: There is a lot of information on the web so it's hard to find what you want, it's going to get worse, and the author claims to know what to do about it but won't tell you.

The book starts out with great promise. I believed it would contain insights, sage advice, and practical details about how to make my web pages findable to my audience. The first couple of chapters were great introductory material, and they whetted my appetite for the meaty material that was sure to follow.

Then, there was some more introductory material, and I began to notice that the author threw a lot of quotes around but didn't explore them very deeply, and threw in illustrations of things mentioned in passing in the book that really didn't illuminate anything. For example, he mentioned the Tower of Babel, and then presented an illustration of a Bruegel painting of it, which illustrated... not much. After a dozen of these you wonder if they were just trying to make the book look bigger.

Around page 100 or so, I wondered if the author would ever stop glossing over introductory material, and actually get to the meat of the book. Unfortunately this never happened as far as I was concerned, and so my frustration. Ambient Findability never delivered any practical tips or any insightful theories that could help an aspiring web designer.

One thing you can say for the author, he has read a lot of great books, and Ambient Findability contains references to many great classics worth reading, including Blink, The Cathedral and the Bazaar, the Cluetrain Manifesto, and Don't Make Me Think. I wish the author had chosen to emulate those books and had worked to develop and present some insights of his own, rather than just drop quotes from other sources. As it is, this book is good for gathering a few references to other better literature, and not much else.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 23, 2008 6:57:38 AM PST
Hey John,

Aaron Walter's book, Building Findable Websites, picks up where this book left off. Lots of valuable "how to" stuff in there. Hope this helps.

Posted on Jan 27, 2012 11:26:31 AM PST
How much content does your own site have? Do you have a search tool on your site? I actually haven't read this book, but if you start with making your own site rock solid with your site's own search tool then you will do well in others. A solid site taxonomy and well formed metadata are the most critical components (that is true even if your site doesn't have a search tool).
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