Evaluating example-based search tools
Proceedings of the 5th ACM conference on Electronic commerce - EC '04
A crucial element in consumer electronic commerce is a catalog tool that not only finds the product for the user, but also convinces him that he has made the best choice. To do that, it is important to show him ample choices while keeping his interaction effort below an acceptable limit. Among the various interaction models used in operational e-commerce sites, ranked lists are by far the most popular tool for product navigation and selection. However, as the number of product features and the
... omplexity of user's criteria increase, a ranked list's efficiency becomes less satisfactory. As an alternative, research groups from the intelligent user interface community have developed various example-based search tools, including SmartClient from our laboratory. These tools not only perform personalized search, but also support tradeoff analysis. However, despite the academic interest, example-based search paradigms have not been widely adopted in practice. We have examined the performance of such tools on a variety of tasks involving selection and tradeoff. The studies clearly show that example-based search is comparable to ranked lists on simple tasks, but significantly reduces the error rate and search time when complex tradeoffs are involved. This shows that such tools are likely to be useful particularly for extending the scope of consumer e-commerce to more complex products.