“For orientation: In daily life, a GPS device is an example of a nudge. It respects freedom of choice; you can ignore its advice if you like. But it helps you to get where you want to go.
“As the GPS example suggests, many nudges and many forms of choice architecture have the goal of increasing navigability — of making it easier for people to get to their preferred destination. Such nudges stem from an understanding that life can be simple or hard to navigate, and helpful choice architecture is desirable as a way of promoting simple navigation.”
– Cass Sunstein, “Freedom: The Holberg Lecture 2018 (here)
I have been thinking a lot about this concept of navigability. It is a topic that Sunstein notes as crucial in our foreseeable future: “in the coming years, those who are interested in freedom, welfare, and uses of behavioral science should devote far more attention to navigability, writ very large.”
When one thinks of navigability with technology, variations on the GPS example come to mind. How navigable is this website? How navigable is my phone? Navigation within hardware and software is always important. My little work in IT has made that abundantly clear. But there is another navigability that I am finding to be even more crucial.
Navigability, writ very large.
It isn’t in a question of how you navigate Google Maps itself, but how you navigate what is between you and Google Maps. How do you navigate the relationship between multiple apps and websites, between all of the constituent parts that make up the Internet and Internet of things?
These kind of flows and integrations are the modern day assembly line. Data travels down the line from Google to Zapier to Mailchimp to WordPress. Knowing how that assembly line works is pivotal. This is what I wondering about – how to think of navigability within this digital assembly line, within navigability, writ very large.