Using information scent to understand mobile and desktop web search behavior

Ong, K, Jarvelin, K, Sanderson, M and Scholer, F 2017, 'Using information scent to understand mobile and desktop web search behavior', in Proceedings of the 40th International ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval (SIGIR'17), Tokyo, Japan, 7-11 August 2017, pp. 295-304.


Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Conference Papers

Title Using information scent to understand mobile and desktop web search behavior
Author(s) Ong, K
Jarvelin, K
Sanderson, M
Scholer, F
Year 2017
Conference name SIGIR'17
Conference location Tokyo, Japan
Conference dates 7-11 August 2017
Proceedings title Proceedings of the 40th International ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval (SIGIR'17)
Publisher ACM
Place of publication United States
Start page 295
End page 304
Total pages 10
Abstract This paper investigates if Information Foraging Theory can be used to understand differences in user behavior when searching on mobile and desktop web search systems. Two groups of thirty-six participants were recruited to carry out six identical web search tasks on desktop or on mobile. The search tasks were prepared with a different number and distribution of relevant documents on the first result page. Search behaviors on mobile and desktop were measurably different. Desktop participants viewed and clicked on more results but saved fewer as relevant, compared to mobile participants, when information scent level increased. Mobile participants achieved higher search accuracy than desktop participants for tasks with increasing numbers of relevant search results. Conversely, desktop participants were more accurate than mobile participants for tasks with an equal number of relevant results that were more distributed across the results page. Overall, both an increased number and better positioning of relevant search results improved the ability of participants to locate relevant results on both desktop and mobile. Participants spent more time and issued more queries on desktop, but abandoned less and saved more results for initial queries on mobile.
Subjects Information Retrieval and Web Search
Keyword(s) Information Foraging Theory
Search Process
Search Stopping
DOI - identifier 10.1145/3077136.3080817
Copyright notice © 2017 ACM
ISBN 9781450350228
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