Random observations from user studies
Recently I thought about several associations between discussions in the blogoshere and user studies we do at work (trying to undestand how people search and find in-house expertise). The parallels I found interesting:
Blogosphere: many people seem to be interested in How Technorati works?
User studies at work: Any search system does some filtering and ranking. Users are usually curious about the criteria used for it as it helps to understand reliability of search results.
Blogosphere: Google comes up with built-in calculator and synonym searching.
User studies at work: It seems that Google sets up search standards that users start applying to all their search experinces. Many compare internal search engines with Google (and you can guess which side wins ;)
Blogosphere: Dina Mehta discusses impact of joining focus groups on client's understanding of customers
User studies at work: it's so nice to observe the power that user feedback has. You can spend hours talking to system developers without much effect and then one hour meeting with users makes a difference.