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Posts Tagged ‘Exploratory search’

designing-the-search-experience_largeRemember the Yahoo! Directory? It was a hand-built taxonomy that allowed users to browse and discover Internet resources. By categorizing sites by topic and location, it became the definitive map of the World Wide Web. But at the turn of the millennium, Yahoo! transformed itself from a directory into a search engine. The task of organising so many disparate items into a single coherent structure had simply become too overwhelming.

A decade later, this story is all too familiar. Online stores sell hundreds of thousands of items, social networks host millions of users, and Flickr hosts billions of photos. Navigation is no longer the future: search is the key to sense-making in the digital universe.

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Here are the slides from the talk I gave recently at HCIR 2012 on Designing for Consumer Search Behaviour. This presentation is the counterpart to the previous one: while A Model of Consumer Search Behaviour introduced the model and described the analytic work that led to it, this talk looks at the practical design implications. In particular, it addresses the observation that although the information retrieval community is blessed with an abundance of analytic models, only a tiny fraction of these make any impression at all on mainstream UX design practice.

Why is this? In part, this may be simply a reflection of imperfect channels of communication between the respective communities. However, I suspect it may also be a by-product of the way researchers are incentivized: with career progression based almost exclusively on citations in peer-reviewed academic journals, it is hard to see what motivation may be left to encourage adoption by other communities such as design practitioners. Yet from a wider perspective, it is precisely this cross-fertilisation that can make the difference between an idea gathering the dust of citations within a closed community and actually having an impact on the mainstream search experiences that we as consumers all encounter.

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Here are the slides from the talk I gave at EuroHCIR last week on A Model of Consumer Search Behaviour. This talk extends and validates the taxonomy of information search strategies (aka ‘search modes’) presented at last year’s event, but applies it in this instance to the domain of site search, i.e. consumer-oriented websites and search applications. We found that site search users presented significantly different information needs to those of enterprise search, implying some key differences in the information behaviours required to satisfy those needs.

As usual, some of the builds don’t come out quite right on Slideshare, but I can always make the ppt available if people want to see the original. I’ll post the full text of the paper itself here as well shortly (watch this space :))

 

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[This must be my shortest blog post ever] Just a quick note to say the deadline for EuroHCIR has been extended by 1 week, to June 29. Keep those papers coming in!

 

Related Posts

  1. EuroHCIR 2012 – deadline approaching!
  2. Designing Search (part 4): Displaying results
  3. Designing Search: Tutorial at the IRF Conference
  4. A Taxonomy of Site Search
  5. How do you measure site search quality?

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Just a quick reminder that next Friday (22nd) is the deadline for submissions to EuroHCIR 2012, which I am co-organising with Max Wilson, Birger Larsen and James Kalbach. This is only the second year we’ve run the event, so we’re hoping for a good set of submissions to keep up momentum we generated in 2011. As before, we’re accepting both research and practice-oriented papers, so if you have any queries (particularly about the latter) just drop me a line.

The event itself is on August 25 in Amsterdam, co-located with IIiX. I’ve appended a summary of the call for papers below, and further details can be found at the EuroHCIR 2012 website. Hope to see you there!

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