The Reasoning Behind Ask 3D

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Last week in my interview with Jakob Nielsen, he called Ask’s 3D label "stupid". Just to refresh your memory, here’s how the exchange went:

Gord: Like Ask is experimenting with right now with their 3D search. They’re actually breaking it up into 3 columns, and using the right rail and the left rail to show non-web based results.

Jakob: Exactly, except I really want to say that it’s 2 dimensional, it’s not 3 dimensional.

Gord: But that’s what they’re calling it.

Jakob: Yes I know, but that’s a stupid word. I don’t want to give them any credit for that. It’s 2 dimensional. It’s evolutionary in the sense that search results have been 1 dimensional, which is linear, just scroll down the page, and so potentially 2 dimensional (they can call it three but it is two) that is the big step, doing something differently and that may take off and more search engines may do that if it turns out to work well.

My friend Michael Ferguson at Ask (who has his own interview coming up soon) sent me a quick email with the reasoning behind the label:

The 3D label came from the 3 dimensions of search we folded onto one page: query expression in the left rail, results in the center, and content on the right (vs. the one dimension of returning solely results).


The Reasoning Behind Ask 3D
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