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Posts Tagged ‘Site Search’

kbA few months ago I submitted an abstract to a well-known conference that deals with the topic of “information” that happens to be “online”. Nothing unusual there, you might think. But what happened next certainly was.

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ESE 2013

Just a quick shout out that on Tues May 14 I’ll be leading a workshop at Enterprise Search Europe on the subject of Search Interface Design. It’ll be held at the Hilton London Olympia, and will consist of a mix of formal presentations, group work and discussion. Above all, it’s a chance to discuss with like-minded folks your own challenges in the world of search interface design and usability, and to share ideas, best practices and solutions. I’ve appended a longer abstract below. If you have any queries, just drop me a line.

Hope to see you there!

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In case you missed it last time (since it filled up pretty quickly), there’s another chance to catch my search usability tutorial in Edinburgh on April 24. I’ll be presenting a full day course called Search Usability: Filters and Facets, which focuses on faceted search and provides deeper coverage of the key topics along with a variety of new practicals and group exercises.

It’s also very competitively priced from just £170 per person – contrast that with a rate of ~£659 a day for this comparable offering!

For further details and registration, see the UKeIG website. In the meantime, I’ve appended further details below.

Hope to see you there!

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ink blot

Folks who follow this blog will know that I try to strike a balance between topical, practitioner-oriented pieces and more academic articles such as scientific papers & other peer-reviewed content. I’m not always successful, but firmly believe that the most valuable use of this channel is to provide practical insights backed up by a solid theoretical basis wherever possible. Of course, it’s not an easy line to tread… get the balance wrong and you can end up with worthy but dull academic pieces that extend only marginally beyond the bounds of a narrow research community. Or conversely, anecdotal experiences that have little chance of delivering insights that generalise to other contexts and individuals.

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designing-the-search-experience_large

I’m guessing that by now most people may have seen this, but just in case – and for the record – here is the official announcement of the publication of Designing the Search Experience: the Information Architecture of Discovery. It’s the product of almost two years effort by Tyler and me, so we’re both relieved and elated to finally see it in print.

I’ve appended a brief summary below. If you’d like to see more – including a free sample chapter – check out the book website. If you’re interested in reviewing it, drop me a line.

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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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A short while ago I posted the slides to my talk at HCIR 2012 on Designing for Consumer Search Behaviour. Finally, as promised, here is the associated paper, which is co-authored with Stephann Makri (and is available as a pdf in the proceedings). This paper takes the ideas and concepts introduced in A Model of Consumer Search Behaviour and explores their practical design implications. As always, comments and feedback welcome 🙂

ABSTRACT

In order to design better search experiences, we need to understand the complexities of human information-seeking behaviour. In this paper, we propose a model of information behavior based on the needs of users of consumer-oriented websites and search applications. The model consists of a set of search modes users employ to satisfy their information search and discovery goals. We present design suggestions for how each of these modes can be supported in existing interactive systems, focusing in particular on those that have been supported in interesting or novel ways.

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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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A couple of weeks ago I posted the slides to my talk at EuroHCIR on A Model of Consumer Search Behaviour. Finally, as promised, here is the associated paper, which is co-authored with Stephann Makri (and also available as a pdf in the proceedings). I hope it addresses the questions that the slide deck provoked, and provides further food for thought 🙂

ABSTRACT

In order to design better search experiences, we need to understand the complexities of human information-seeking behaviour. In previous work [13], we proposed a model of information behavior based on an analysis of the information needs of knowledge workers within an enterprise search context. In this paper, we extend this work to the site search context, examining the needs and behaviours of users of 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. In particular, the site search users focused more on simple “lookup” activities, contrasting with the more complex, problem-solving behaviours associated with enterprise search. We also found repeating patterns or ‘chains’ of search behaviour in the site search context, but in contrast to the previous study these were shorter and less complex. These patterns can be used as a framework for understanding information seeking behaviour that can be adopted by other researchers who want to take a ‘needs first’ approach to understanding information behaviour.

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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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