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Movies in Context

Jeff Gates proposes organizing a region’s movie showings by time instead of theater. It occurred to him because, as a parent, the most relevant piece of info isn’t where a film is showing, but when — because of scheduling a babysitter.


Such a system resonates with me, because I’m often in the mood for ‘a movie’, not necessarily any particular one, and so I’m curious what’s starting in the next 30-45 minutes.

It’s a common recurrence in design that accommodating a ‘special need’ provides a solution that ends up supporting a wide range of previously unknown needs. Think curb cuts, which were designed for wheelchair access, but which everyone has likely taken advantage of (on their bikes, rolling handtrucks, etc.). Or OXO’s Good Grips line of products, originally designed for people with poor hand coordination, and valued by everyone because, well they’re just easier to use.

This is also another argument in favoring of applying faceted classification to, well, everything. In going out to the movies, for most people the film is the most important criterion. For others, it might be a certain neighborhood. And for some, as Jeff shows, it’s the timing. The system can never know which particular strategy a given user wants to employ — so why not avail them of them all?

  1. Hi- PeterMe – I stumbled onto your site bec. I’m doing rsch on BroadVision. I liked your Bvision sucks page. Would you be willing to discuss this with me any further? I’m trying to gain some additional information about the company’s strengthes and weaknesses and the analysts and press aren’t that helpful because they don’t know in any kind of depth what’s going on with them. i know your post was from four years ago… so let me know.
    Thanks, Jen

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