What users do: the eyes have it

Thomas, P, Scholer, F and Moffat, A 2013, 'What users do: the eyes have it', in Rafael E. Banchs, Fabrizio Silvestri, Tie-Yan Liu, Min Zhang, Sheng Gao, Jun Lang (ed.) Proceedings of the 9th Asia Information Retrieval Societies Conference, Singapore, 9-11 December, 2013, pp. 416-427.


Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Conference Papers

Title What users do: the eyes have it
Author(s) Thomas, P
Scholer, F
Moffat, A
Year 2013
Conference name AIRS 2013
Conference location Singapore
Conference dates 9-11 December, 2013
Proceedings title Proceedings of the 9th Asia Information Retrieval Societies Conference
Editor(s) Rafael E. Banchs, Fabrizio Silvestri, Tie-Yan Liu, Min Zhang, Sheng Gao, Jun Lang
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Germany
Start page 416
End page 427
Total pages 12
Abstract Search engine result pages - the ten blue links - are a staple of document retrieval services. The usual presumption is that users read these one-by-one from the top, making judgments about the usefulness of documents based on the snippets presented, accessing the underlying document when a snippet seems attractive, and then moving on to the next snippet. In this paper we re-examine this assumption, and present the results of a user experiment in which gaze-tracking is combined with click analysis. We conclude that in very general terms, users do indeed read from the top, but that at a detailed level there are complex behaviors evident, suggesting that a more sophisticated model of user interaction might be appropriate. In particular, we argue that users retain a number of snippets in an "active band" that shifts down the result page, and that reading and clicking activity tends to takes place within the band in a manner that is not strictly sequential.
Subjects Information Retrieval and Web Search
Computer-Human Interaction
Keyword(s) Retrieval evaluation
user behavior
user model
Copyright notice © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013
ISBN 9783642450679
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