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Serendipity
Science & Technology Series: Expert Comment

Serendipity by Design

On 20th October City University London’s Lecturer in Information Interaction, Dr Stephann Makri and his research were featured in an ABC Australia radio programme exploring the topic of supporting serendipity in search and discovery tools.
by John Stevenson (Senior Communications Officer)

Dr Stephann Makri 

On 20th October, Dr Stephann Makri discussed the joys and pitfalls of designing online tools that assist users in ‘seeking serendipity’ in an episode of the technology programme Future Tense, presented by award-winning broadcaster, Anthony Funnell, on ABC Australia.

Positive component

Alongside author and former MIT researcher Kevin Ashton, King’s College London Research Fellow Toby Burrows, and West Australian entrepreneur Brodie McCulloch, Dr Makri described the value of serendipity in information search and discovery: 

“It’s something that can take people in new directions and can surprise and delight them along the way. And I think that serendipity is actually a really positive component of User Experience”. 

On the radio programme, Dr Makri examines ways search engines can ‘create opportunities’ for serendipity, taking inspiration from Google's CEO Sundar Pichai who envisages the technology giant moving from a search engine to a discovery engine.

To listen to the radio programme, please visit this weblink and select either ‘listen now’ or ‘download audio’:

Definition
Serendipity

Serendipity is the act of finding something valuable or delightful when you are not looking for it. In information technology, serendipity often plays a part in the recognition of a new product need or in solving a design problem. Web surfing can be an occasion for serendipity since you sometimes come across a valuable or interesting site when you are looking for something else.

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