The Dynamics of Discovery

Every minute 500 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube. That’s over 82 years of content being created every day.

At first glance that seems great. We assume that more content means better options and greater satisfaction. But the opposite is true. Too many choices make it difficult to decide what deserves your time and attention.

Psychology professor Barry Schwartz defines this problem as The Paradox of Choice and states that the growing opportunity costs subtract from the satisfaction of what we choose, even if what we choose is terrific.

Image Credit: Deluxe

How do companies help users navigate the overwhelming amount of content that is continuously accumulating online? Answer: minimize the amount of effort it takes to discover.

At its core, discovery consists of three steps:

  1. Search — sift through to find something that captures your attention
  2. Validate — decide if the content is worth your time
  3. Enjoy — experience with satisfaction

Streamlining discovery is the key to satisfied users and it’s achieved through different forms of content filtration. For example, Facebook uses algorithms to determine what we see, Pluto.TV’s editors hand-pick videos to display and Reddit uses voting to surface great content.

All of these methods have pros and cons that we will take a deeper look at in the next blog post.

Stay Tuned & Happy Vumbling!

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