Wilson, Max L.
A Transfer Report on the Development of a Framework to Evaluate Search Interfaces for their Support of Different User Types and Search Tactics.
As the understanding of search systems, user needs and seeking strategies is developing, the design of search user interfaces is evolving to support more complicated and exploratory forms of search. With the design of new search features that enable these richer modes of exploration, comes the need to better understand the support they provide. In this report a new evaluation framework is presented that analyses search features for how they a) contribute to an overall interface, b) allow users to carry out different search tactics, and c) support different types of users and their needs. The novel contributions of the framework improve on some of the limitations of typical user studies, and allow search systems to be systematically analysed in much more detail and in much less time. The presented evaluation framework is then validated in three ways. First the validity of the models used as the building blocks of the framework are investigated through related work. Second the method of integrating these building-block models is validated and strengthened by consensus of expert opinion. Third, the overall approach is validated by comparing its analyses to the results of previously carried out user studies. The validation process has shown both the value of the framework and identified areas of future work that should be addressed for the framework to be completed. This report concludes with the set of contributions that the framework makes, and why the remaining work will be challenging, but critical to the final design.
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