Decisions, Decisions, Decisions: Technology to Help Solve

Posted by Kate Jurras on Thu, Feb 16, 2012

This post is part of our February blog series. We asked several thought leaders to respond to this question: "What technology do you love most?" Stay tuned for more posts in this series, and for the upcoming March series on UX/design. This post is by Ali Robbins Hyatt. Ali is a manager on the growth and innovation team at Avery Dennison and a past member of the MITX Future Leaders Group. Find her on Twitter!.

I will admit it – I can be overly analytical when making a simple decision. If I am in a new city and want to maximize my dining experience for the night, I will consult not one, but countless apps and websites to make my final decision. Eater and Grub Street are professional sites that relay the newest restaurants from the trusted opinions of food writers. Chowhound’s community of foodies gives me a perspective on which of the city’s top restaurants cannot be missed. The Yelp app gives me the latest reviews so I can check if a restaurant has recently gone downhill. The Menupages app shows me the menu so I can... well, you get the point!

Ali blog photo resized 600There are often way too many data points informing my final decision when it comes to what I want to eat. Sometimes I get exasperated with myself for forcing so much into the decision and not being spontaneous. (And then of course, I remember how annoyed I would be if I wasted that meal on some mediocre place.)

Thinking about this type of decision led me to realize which of my favorite technologies is essential to my daily life. I rely the most on aggregators – tools or sites that bring together content that I deem relevant. I’ll use Twitter to quickly check world and tech news or use it at work to search for trending topics. I might use Dealgator to aggregate the plethora of daily deal sites so I can spend 10 seconds checking if a deal catches my eye. I’m new to jumping on the Pinterest bandwagon to keep track of travel plan ideas or recipes.

As I witness the trend towards mobile websites instead of apps for brands, I am not surprised. It’s getting harder and harder to spend meaningful time with new apps that have very specific purposes. In the future, it will be the tools/sites that help me better aggregate all my decisions, just as companies are aggregating data to better target me, that I will stay loyal to for the long run. Aggregation will continue to become more useful as companies refine algorithms, and startups think of new ways to make information useful to consumers. You'll pique my interest if you you can satisfy my thirst for data, yet deliver it in a way that is relevant and easy-to-use.

So, what other cool aggregators am I missing? I could always use a new favorite tool to help me cut down on the precious minutes that go towards finding the most fun activity for an upcoming vacation or the best neighborhood-y (not mediocre) spot to eat dinner.

What's your favorite technology? Tell us all about it in the comments! And stay tuned for more posts in this series.