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Search User Interfaces by Marti A. Hearst

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2 The Evaluation of Search User Interfaces

Throughout this book, the merits of an interface are assessed from a usability perspective; this chapter discusses how these assessments are done. It is surprisingly difficult to design a usable new search interface, and perhaps even harder to convincingly assess its usability (Draper and Dunlop 1997). An evaluator must take into account differences in designs, tasks, participant motivation, and knowledge, all of which can vary the outcome of a study. Furthermore, as mentioned in Chapter 1, small details in the design of the interface can have a strong effect on a participant’s subjective reaction to or objective success with the interface. For instance, problematic placement of controls or unintuitive ...

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