Users can change their web search tactics: Design guidelines for categorized overviews

Bill Kules, Ben Shneiderman
2008 Information Processing & Management  
Categorized overviews of web search results are a promising way to support user exploration, understanding, and discovery. These search interfaces combine a metadata-based overview with the list of search results to enable a rich form of interaction. A study of 24 sophisticated users carrying out complex tasks suggests how searchers may adapt their search tactics when using categorized overviews. This mixed methods study evaluated categorized overviews of web search results organized into
more » ... ic, geographic, and government categories. Participants conducted four exploratory searches during a 2-hour session to generate ideas for newspaper articles about specified topics such as "human smuggling." Results showed that subjects explored deeper while feeling more organized, and that the categorized overview helped subjects better assess their results, although no significant differences were detected in the quality of the article ideas. A qualitative analysis of searcher comments identified seven tactics that participants reported adopting when using categorized overviews. This paper concludes by proposing a set of guidelines for the design of exploratory search interfaces. An understanding of the impact of categorized overviews on search tactics will be useful to web search researchers, search interface designers, information architects and web developers.
doi:10.1016/j.ipm.2007.07.014 fatcat:piwqdoky25byhlifznxbyldzm4