by Gord Hotchkiss
In Malcolm Gladwell's book 'Blink' he examines how we make decisions in a split second, and how these intuitive decisions are often more valid than ones we labor over for months.
While Gladwell's book examines how intuitive decisions are made in a number of situations, it's fascinating to apply his insights to how we search.
After asking thousands of people to think about they search (through all our research, we're probably closing in on 3000 now) only one thing has been consistent in our findings. People don't really know. In some cases, we think we know, but our interactions happen so quickly with the search results page and at such a sub conscious level that we're often at a loss to explain how we chose the results we did. The fact is, the minute we ask people to slow down and start examining their search interaction, that interaction changes and we don't get a true picture.