Wednesday, March 22, 2006

No more coat

So if there is one thing that my Ph. D. program has taught me it's the mind boggling confusion of statistics. First and foremost is the whole correlation and causation idea. Just because two things happen together, doesn't mean that one thing causes the other.

So I have a theory. Every time it's cold, people put on their coats. You might say that the cold weather causes people to put on their coats. But I don't buy that. I think that putting on the coats causes the cold weather. Forget that silly theory about the sun hitting the earth directly or indirectly; that's just plain rubbish. The snow gods see everybody in their coats, so they throw snow at us.

So, I've had enough of winter and I'm in open rebellion. I put the coat away, and I'm going to single handedly bring in spring. Is anybody with me? If so, then pack that coat away, pull out the short sleeve shirts, and let's usher in some spring.

Mark my words. Within a month of me putting away my coat, we WILL be having warmer weather.

No need to thank me.

Note to skiers, if you want the ski season to last, by all means, take your coat up the canyon, and put it on up there. Snow in the mountains is fine, as long as it doesn't reach the valley.


soulglo said...

I'm with you!

I've had this very same sneaky suspicion for quite some time now. My rebellion went as far as writing the weather man, pleading for him to change the forecast to warmer weather. I think he is in a secret combination with the snow gods, a "snow mafia," if you will. I'm sure there's money to be made in this whole conspiracy. Take a look at the ski resorts! So while I'm with you on shelving my coat in open rebellion, I'm somewhat in discord about allowing the skiiers to take their coats up into the canyon. I say we make our plea and try to get this place looking like Hawaii. Heck, they can go ahead and drop California into the ocean. My property value will skyrocket once I've got beachfront property!

soulglo said...

And since I can't get enough of sharing my opinions with others, here's another point to be made on the subject of statistical dissonance, albeit more serious:

For years now I've been hearing theories about web usability. It's a new field and so many theories are being born. One of the founding fathers of usability is Steve Krug, author of "Don't Make Me Think," a book written in 2000. While the book, with it's common-sense approach to web usability, had it's place in the year 2000, the principles were somewhat unfounded and really based off of one man's opinion on what looked good or what he felt was easy to use. This book is 60 years old in web years (slightly faster than dog years)! He did a few studies to prove his point and surmised rules such as the "3 click rule" and the "no longer than 1 screen length rule". I have heard these rules repeated as recently as two weeks ago. And while I can't be overly critical about rules that have the effect of helping designers keep their focus on users and their needs, their foundation has long since crumbled! Just because a test that Krug once conducted showed that people dropped out after they couldn't find what they were looking for within 3 clicks doesn't mean that content should be accessible within 3 clicks. Could it mean that they found the click path that they took just didn't give them any confidence that they were on the right path? I'm suggesting that this is a result of poorly constructed website taxonomies. My own personal experience, as well as clickstream analysis, has shown me that users will continue to click as long as they know that they're on the right path. Furthermore, the most successful websites have incredibly long pages! Take a look at The final result equals a screen length MUCH longer than one. Could it be that Krug once again surmised that users didn't scroll because they saw a visual barrier on the screen?

Jensen, I don't know if you care about any of this. But I'm on a mission to dispel these myths! I'm on a mission to dispel the myth of the traditional student! I'm on a mission to dispel the myth of audience navigation! I'm on a mission to dispel the myth of the South Weber Sasquatch! Who's with me? Viva la Revolucion!!!

Matthew Buckley said...

Sorry, I didn't read all of your comment because I would have had to scroll.