Here’s a quick shout out that on April 18 Endeca colleague Mark Burrell and I will be presenting a tutorial on Designing Effective Search User Experiences at ECIR 2011 in Dublin. For those unfamiliar with ECIR it is the premier European conference on Information Retrieval, possibly second only to SIGIR in academic standing and reputation. This is just one of a whole package of tutorials running that day – register for this one in the morning and you can attend a further one in the afternoon all for a very reasonable fee. Further details appended below. To register, simply go to the ECIR 2011 site.
Designing Effective Search & Discovery Experiences
This half-day tutorial provides a practical introduction to Human Centred Design for information search, access and discovery. We present a concise overview of the fundamental principles of search experience design and show how to apply these to a variety of practical problems. A key element of the tutorial is the opportunity to practice these skills in a group exercise.
Our aim is to deliver a learning experience grounded in good scholarship, integrating the latest and most significant research findings with insights derived from practical experience of designing and evaluating search and discovery applications; delivered in a manner that focuses on transferable, practical skills that can be learnt and practiced within a half day session. In this tutorial participants will learn:
- The fundamental concepts and principles of Design for Discovery
- How to differentiate between various types of search behavior: known-item, exploratory, etc.
- Models of human information-seeking behavior, and how to apply interaction design principles based on those models
- An understanding of the key variables of user type, goal and mode of interaction, and how to apply these variables when designing for different user contexts
- The role of design patterns, and how to apply UI design patterns from Endeca and those of other pattern libraries in designing search user interfaces
- An awareness of the key design resources available within the HCIR community and how to apply these to practical design challenges
The course comprises the following sections:
- Introductions and objectives: Group introductions & Ice-breaker. A brief summary of what each participant hopes to gain from the session, and what experiences they bring.
- Understanding Search & Discovery Behavior: An overview of the key theories and models of human-information seeking behavior, focusing on the work of Marcionini, Bates, Ingwersen, and the later works of Hearst, Morville, Tunkelang et al.
- Faceted Classification & Search: A review of Rangathan’s seminal work on Colon Classification and its roots in Aristotelian teaching, and an exploration the implications for the design of contemporary faceted classification and search paradigms.
- Design for Discovery: Varied Solutions for Varied Contexts: An exploration of the universal dimensions that define search and discovery contexts, and how these translate into principles for the design of effective search and discovery experiences.
- The Endeca UI Design Pattern Library: A detailed examination of best practices in search experience design, embodied as design patterns in the Endeca UI Design Pattern Library. Exploration of the role of patterns in user experience design and comparative analysis of pattern libraries in general.
- Practical Exercise: An opportunity to practice all the above skills in a group exercise. We will complement these with a practical review of best practices in search experience design and apply these to a real-world scenario.
- Conclusions & Wrap-up: A review of the overall session, including the shared experiences of the group exercises and the contrasting findings of each. A summary of the follow-on resources and take-aways from the course and the wider HCIR (Human-computer information retrieval) community.
The fields of human computer interaction and information retrieval have both developed innovative techniques to address the challenge of navigating complex information spaces, but their insights have to date often failed to cross disciplinary borders. This tutorial acknowledges and builds on the momentum of recent collaborations (such as the HCIR conference series) to deliver a concise and practical guide to User Experience Design for information search, access and discovery.
This tutorial is aimed at those who have an understanding of the basic principles of user centred design, or alternatively, some experience of having tackled UI design problems for search & information access applications. As such it should appeal to user experience professionals, information architects, information retrieval researchers and IR practitioners or anyone interested in the designing more effective user experiences for search and information discovery.