Information Foraging

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Information foraging–theory seeks to explain information–seeking behavior in humans beings. Its central thesis states that information foraging is an exaptation of food foraging mechanisms, therefore models of optimal foraging theory developed by anthropologists and ecologists in the study of food foraging will help us understand foraging behavior in consumers of information.
Information foraging is a theory that applies the ideas from optimal foraging theory to understand how human users search for information
[Wikipedia, Information Foraging, 2004]

This theoretical framework can be used to criticize web design and improve user interaction. Key dimensions to this analogy include:

  • Information scent — predicting a path's success: Does your page navigation signal to the user that they have reached, or are nearing their goal? Does the destination page meet the expectations set by the navigation?
  • Diet selection — what to eat: Does your site provide 'nutritious' information? How easily can a user find and use this information?
  • Patch selection — when to hunt elsewhere: Does you site address users immediate needs?

This term was coined at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) by Stuart Card, Peter Pirolli, and colleagues as the result of human–computer interaction research.


  • |[Wikipedia, Information Foraging, 2004]: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Information Foraging, 2004.