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Debunking Miller’s Magic 7
Posted By Bryan Eisenberg On October 29, 2004 @ 3:53 pm In ROI Marketing,Web / Tech | 1 Comment
George A. Miller penned a research paper  in 1956, “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information.” It was groundbreaking in its time. In it, Miller hypothesized the human working memory can hold up to seven bits of information, plus or minus two, at once. Often referred to as “Miller’s Magic 7,” that theory is the basis of many Web page design decisions. Below, some modern day extrapolations and design conclusions rooted in Miller’s research:
Many advances have been made in understanding human memory since 1956. Why does Miller’s Magic 7 survive in light of current science ? We can’t concede that maximizing this informational processing “capacity” is necessary on a Web site.
I want to offer a more current and commonsensical approach to these design element “conclusions.” No designer should be bound by a meaningless number rooted in dusty science.
The Boring Giants, Miller’s Laws’ Biggest Offenders
While studying the 16 top-selling Web sites recently, we wondered, “What do these sites all have in common?”
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URL to article: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2004/10/29/debunking-millers-magic-7/
URLs in this post:
 research paper: http://www.well.com/user/smalin/miller.html
 in light of current science: http://www.keller.com/articles/magic7.html
 Continue reading my column at ClickZ… : http://www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=3427631
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