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2213RE: [TaxoCoP] 7x3 classification

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  • Gent, Andrew
    Sep 5, 2007

      >>I wonder if this could actually be the “7 plus-or-minus 3” rule?   I have heard web production folks refer to this rule countless times when discussing the optimum number of keywords to display for the top level of a website subject classification.  The “rule”, if such it is (I do not know the origin), implies that people can only keep about 4 -10 concepts in their memory at a time – thus, it is best to display only 7 plus-or-minus 3 top level classification terms.

      The reference for "7 plus or minus 2"  is to the work of George Miller (circa 1955), a psychologist working on memory capacity
      I don't know if this is what what intended by 7x2, but "7 plus or minus 2" applied blindly to interface design is spurious because in interfaces you are talking about recognition not memory (except in the case of popup menus and such, in which case you are talking about the user's ability to guess your intent through menu titles -- a completely different topic!).  And in many cases you are dealing with groups of concepts rather than arbitrary objects.
      The topics is covered in the following wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Magical_Number_Seven,_Plus_or_Minus_Two
      Andrew Gent
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