In exploratory search, when a user directs a search engine using uncertain relevance feedback, usability problems regarding controllability and predictability may arise. One problem is that the user is often modelled as a passive source of relevance information, instead of an active entity trying to steer the system based on evolving information needs. This may cause the user to feel that the response of the system is inconsistent with her steering. Another problem arises due to the sheer size and complexity of the information space, and hence of the system, as it may be difficult for the user to anticipate the consequences of her actions in this complex environment. These problems can be mitigated by interpreting the user's actions as setting a goal for an optimization problem regarding the system state, instead of passive relevance feedback, and by allowing the user to see the predicted effects of an action before committing to it. In this paper, we present an implementation of these improvements in a visual user-controllable search interface. A user study involving exploratory search for scientific literature gives some indication on improvements in task performance, usability, perceived usefulness and user acceptance.
|Title of host publication||Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces|
|Place of Publication||New York, NY, USA|
|Number of pages||5|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|