Decision ahead? U of I prof hopes site can help
Feb. 11, 2014
URBANA, Ill. (AP) — Life is full of difficult decisions: What should I study in college? What should I have for dinner? Would life be better in a warmer, sunnier place?
A University of Illinois professor has created a website he hopes can help.
Ali Abbas says he created the new website Ahoona.com for people to ask for help from other users for any kind of decision. Access is free and so far there about 10,000 registered users.
Abbas is an engineering professor and specializes in decision analysis. He told The News-Gazette in Champaign (http://bit.ly/1bRVJFz ) that Ahoona is similar to a social networking site. But he wants it to become a useful product of the sort of academic research he does on the job.
"I do believe this is the role of what people should do in academics. Not only just write papers that only a small percentage will understand. Our duty is to bring this research out, to help society as a whole," Abbas said.
Users can ask for feedback. Then they can use what Abbas calls a decision wizard and get advice on whether they're headed toward a good decision. There is also a database of other similar decisions made by Ahoona users.
"What we found, what makes decision-making difficult, is not the analysis," Abbas said. "It's thinking of those elements of decision quality. People forget their objectives or their preferences. By giving them this feedback automatically they can understand, 'Oh yeah, I should be thinking of that.'"
He hopes the site is particularly useful to young people who might lack experience making decisions. And he believes the site can have a broad benefit.
"If we can get decision training and decision skills to teens even before college — and it will take a certain art in presenting it in a certain way that makes it fun, that makes it appealing to them, that makes it second nature — then we can improve societal decision-making significantly," Abbas said.
On the web: www.ahoona.com
Information from: The News-Gazette, http://www.news-gazette.com