Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Strange Statistic And Good Suggestion Of The Week

Writing for The Atlantic, Alexis Madrigal notes a lack of basic computer literacy and offers a sound suggestion.
This week, I talked with Dan Russell, a search anthropologist at Google, about the time he spends with random people studying how they search for stuff. One statistic blew my mind. 90 percent of people in their studies don't know how to use CTRL/Command + F to find a word in a document or web page! I probably use that trick 20 times per day and yet the vast majority of people don't use it at all.
"90 percent of the US Internet population does not know that. This is on a sample size of thousands," Russell said. "I do these field studies and I can't tell you how many hours I've sat in somebody's house as they've read through a long document trying to find the result they're looking for. At the end I'll say to them, 'Let me show one little trick here,' and very often people will say, 'I can't believe I've been wasting my life!'"
I can't believe people have been wasting their lives like this either! It makes me think that we need a new type of class in schools across the land immediately. Electronic literacy. Just like we learn to skim tables of content or look through an index or just skim chapter titles to find what we're looking for, we need to teach people about this CTRL+F thing.
Even if the CTRL+F command disappears tomorrow, teaching kids that there are effective, legitimate shortcuts to allow them to work smarter not harder is important.

Madrigal does a follow-up post here to respond to those who claim he lives in a "web worker bubble."

1 comment:

caheidelberger said...

...and Ctrl-Z, my salvation!

In related entertainment news, watch this fun mini-mini-series on Hulu: Ctrl. if only I had such a keyboard!