Power Law at Play in Interface Design

Rukuku design work is progressing full steam. In the process, we have discovered that interface design can be driven by the Power Law.

In early 20th century Vilfredo Pareto noticed a particular quality about incomes—in different towns around Europe, across many centuries, regardless of political systems, geographical location or anything else, incomes were distributed on a curve:

The graph illustrates that roughly 80% of wealth belongs to about 20% of people. And the remaining 80% of people collectively own the remaining 20% of societal wealth. This 80/20 rule magically works in many areas of life.

We discovered that when people post pictures and attach tags to them, 80% of pictures have fewer than 10 tags. Furthermore, any type of tagging activity on the web seems to follow the Pareto Law and 10 tags is the tagging capacity that should satisfy most of the users.

We concluded that if there is a need to limit the number of tags that a user can make in a software interface, most of the people will be satisfied with about a dozen.