Exploring the Impact of Search Interface Features on Search Tasks

A Diriye, Ann Blandford, A Tombros
in ECDL, Conference paper (text)


There is growing recognition that exploratory search is less well supported by existing search interfaces than known-item search. In this paper, we report on a study in which three interfaces providing different levels of search support were developed and tested, for both known item and exploratory search tasks. A rich qualitative analysis of participants' search behaviours and perceptions was conducted. As expected, the simplest interface provided better support for known item than for exploratory search tasks. Conversely, richer search interface features were found to provide better support for exploratory search, but would distract people from the objective of more clearly defined search tasks. This study provides preliminary evidence that searching is most effective when supported by an interface that is tailored towards the search activities of the task.