Staff Thesis 218 views
An Analytical Inspection Framework for Evaluating the Search Tactics and User Profiles Supported by Information Seeking Interfaces
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Swansea University Author: Max Wilson
Searching is something we do everyday both in digital and physical environments. Whether we are searching for books in a library or information on the web, search is becoming increasingly important. For many years, however, the standard for search in software has been to provide a keyword search box...
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Searching is something we do everyday both in digital and physical environments. Whether we are searching for books in a library or information on the web, search is becoming increasingly important. For many years, however, the standard for search in software has been to provide a keyword search box that has, over time, been embellished with query suggestions, Boolean operators, and interactive feedback. More recent research has focused on designing search interfaces that better support exploration and learning. Consequently, the aim of this research has been to develop a framework that can reveal to designers how well their search interfaces support different styles of searching behaviour.The primary contribution of this research has been to develop a usability evaluation method, in the form of a lightweight analytical inspection framework, that can assess both search designs and fully implemented systems. The framework, called Sii, provides three types of analyses: 1) an analysis of the amount of support the different features of a design provide; 2) an analysis of the amount of support provided for 32 known search tactics; and 3) an analysis of the amount of support provided for 16 different searcher profiles, such as those who are finding, browsing, exploring, and learning. The design of the framework was validated by six independent judges, and the results were positively correlated against the results of empirical user studies. Further, early investigations showed that Sii has a learning curve that begins at around one and a half hours, and, when using identical analysis results, different evaluators produce similar design revisions.For Search experts, building interfaces for their systems, Sii provides a Human-Computer Interaction evaluation method that addresses searcher needs rather than system optimisation. For Human-Computer Interaction experts, designing novel interfaces that provide search functions, Sii provides the opportunity to assess designs using the knowledge and theories generated by the Information Seeking community. While the research reported here is under controlled environments, future work is planned that will investigate the use of Sii by independent practitioners on their own projects.
University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, School of Electronics and Computer Science.
Faculty of Science and Engineering