The Enterprise Search Summit is taking place in New York this week, and I was lucky to be able to attend Marti Hearst’s opening keynote this morning about designing search for humans. If you’ve read her book or heard her present its material, then you’re probably familiar with the pitch she made. Still, it’s great to hear her present it live to a very non-academic audience.
Her major take-aways:
- The user’s emotional response is a key aspect of the information seeking experience.
- There is a double vocabulary problem: different ways to express same concept (cf. Furnas et al.), and users stubbornly anchor on initial query terms (cf. Kahneman, Tversky, et al.)
- Recognition is easier than recall, so interfaces need to support the recognition process.
- Don’t personalize search, socialize it!
She peppered her talk with concrete examples and scholarly references. Given that her book is available online for free, I won’t try to replicate them all here! Still, I’ll single out two Noisy Community members: FXPAL researchers Jeremy Pickens and Gene Golovchinsky (for their SIGIR 2008 work on collaborative exploratory search) and user experience designer Greg Nudelman for his proposal of faceted breadcrumbs as a search user interface.