From Google tweaking its search algorithm or Netflix delivering to you the most relevant movies for your viewing pleasure, recommendations have become a core feature of technology companies today. Most welcome the opportunity to be pushed content they might be interested in based on their previous actions. News sites have recommended readings based on the article that’s currently being read. It provides convenience to the user and saves them time that would be spent looking for the same content manually.
Yes, there are benefits to a recommendation engine but when does recommendation become a problem? For example, Netflix has all my viewing habits for my life time as a subscriber. What if I want to develop new habits so I can gain access to new movies? Well yes, there’s the search function but outside of that, how do get access to those movies at the same ease that a traditional recommendation engine would present? Another example…..all my peers are talking about a topic on twitter and it becomes trending. How do I find the next idea or piece of content that might be trending?
Ultimately, the most undeserved experience for users today is the concept of discovery. Relevance breeds conformity and similar results. Discovery ties into a human experience that connects on a very deep level. Imagine how you felt when discovered a song you’ve never heard and loved it. What about finding a restaurant that has great food? Giving users the opportunity to explore and discover just like they do in the physical world is central to a balanced user experience.