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On Cognitive Fluency and BI

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On Cognitive Fluency and BI

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This article from The Atlantic considers the causes of popular misquotations. It contains the following observation:

"Our brains really like fluency, or the experience of cognitive ease (as opposed to cognitive strain) in taking in and retrieving information. The more fluent the experience of reading a quote—or the easier it is to grasp, the smoother it sounds, the more readily it comes to mind—the less likely we are to question the actual quotation."

Cognitive fluency is the hallmark of good BI. Information presented well is easily observed and understood; the barriers to comprehension are low. The same information presented poorly, or even less well, is not as readily absorbed.

Cognitive fluency in BI tools has two primary facets:

  • In the tool itself — the tool must be as simple and obvious to operate as possible in order minimize the cognitive load on someone seeking to analyze data;
  • In the analytics created with the tool — they must conform to the well-established standards for analytical information design. The defaults must embody AID best practices and the ability to create suboptimal or ineffective analytics must be, if present at all, subordinate and require more effort.


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