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Development and validation of a user -centered search tool for the Web
Theses and Dissertations Available from ProQuest
  • Xiaowen Fang, Purdue University

Human cognitive limitations in memory, text processing, problem solving, and decision making in using Web search tools are analyzed. A conceptual model for Web text search is presented. Based on the theoretical model, three user-centered features are proposed to provide decision support to users in Web text searches. The three user-centered features are templates for search queries, keyword comparison, and hierarchical search history. Experimental search engines and browsers were developed using Visual Basic, Java, and Common Gateway Interface (CGI) programming languages. An experiment was conducted to test three hypotheses concerning the validity of the model and the effectiveness of the three user-centered features. The dependent variables were the number of identified relevant Web sites during the one-hour period, the time to find the first relevant Web site, and satisfaction. The independent variable was the interface type of the search tools. A single factor between subjects experimental design was utilized with 40 subjects. ^ Testing of the three hypotheses, by contrasting the user-centered features against the current search engine, indicated the following: (1) The user-centered search tool of “templates for search queries” improved users' search performance by 70% and satisfaction by 23%; (2) The user-centered search tool of “keyword comparison” improved users' search performance by 77% and satisfaction by 35%; (3) The user-centered search tool of “search history” was not significantly different in either search performance or satisfaction. The results of the study suggest that decision support provided in search planning and information abstraction of a search process on the Web is helpful for improving search performance and satisfaction. ^

Subject Area
Engineering, Industrial
Date of Award
Degree Name
Citation Information
Xiaowen Fang. "Development and validation of a user -centered search tool for the Web" (1999) p. 1 - 202
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