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How does Search Behavior Change as Search Becomes More Difficult?

Summary: How does Search Behavior Change as
Search Becomes More Difficult?
Anne Aula, Rehan M. Khan and Zhiwei Guan
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043
{anneaula, rkhan, zguan}@google.com
Search engines make it easy to check facts online, but
finding some specific kinds of information sometimes
proves to be difficult. We studied the behavioral signals that
suggest that a user is having trouble in a search task. First,
we ran a lab study with 23 users to gain a preliminary
understanding on how users' behavior changes when they
struggle finding the information they're looking for. The
observations were then tested with 179 participants who all
completed an average of 22.3 tasks from a pool of 100
tasks. The large-scale study provided quantitative support
for our qualitative observations from the lab study. When
having difficulty in finding information, users start to
formulate more diverse queries, they use advanced


Source: Anderson, Richard - Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington at Seattle


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences