April 2003 Archives

April 29, 2003

James Kalbach on emotions and BBCi search

Unbeknownst to me at the time I started rifling through them, James Kalbach’s chi2003 Search UI workshop paper uses BBCi Search as one of its examples. His paper is “I’m Feeling Lucky”: the Role of Emotions in Seeking Information on the Web [pdf 186kb], and outlines a: framework for understanding users’ emotional states as they seek information. Kalbach goes on to favorably compare the emotional response users have to a BBCi Search results page because of the efforts we...
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April 25, 2003

Amazon & AOL - utilizing a user's context to improve search results

I mentioned previously the excellent and informative set of papers at CHI 2003 - Best Practices and Future Visions for Search UIs: A Workshop. Another one of these that has really caught my eye is Peter Gremett's paper on 'Utilizing a Users Context to Improve Search Results' [word doc 182kb], which focuses on usability work carried out by AOL in 2001 on the Amazon e-commerce interface. Whilst there are clear differences between a retail site like Amazon and the...
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The stats don't work - the news web audience in the UK

Newmediazero has published another one of those web traffic stories where the figures don't add up. The headline is that "US news sites attract British users seeking Iraq war latest". But the figures they quote don't seem to have any clarity on geo-location. The large rise in users to CNN.com and news.google.com are the given reasons for this. Yet they give usage figures for news.google.com which are a tenth of the usage figures they give for BBC News Online....
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April 19, 2003

Grub and grubby Looksmart

There has been much talk about Looksmart's acquisition of Grub, a distributed web crawling project, and their plans to incorporate its data into their very stale Wisenut search engine. New Scientist picked up on the story, with a Danny Sullivan pullquote: "I have more faith in companies that control their own crawl and index than I do in approaches that ask people to submit their own data" And there is clearly an exploitable flaw in the Grub system, which...
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April 16, 2003

The pained voices of customers who are desperately looking for help

I was pointed in the direction of CHI 2003 - Best Practices and Future Visions for Search UIs: A Workshop , which is a fantastic set of documents. I am spending much of my "down-time" working my way through them, and no doubt will come back to some of them. Initially the one that really struck me was Joel Angiolillo's work on " Search log analysis as a usability engineering tool " [word doc 474kb] - and not just...
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April 12, 2003

We know what you are looking for...but we can't provide it

Today was a classic and painful reminder that even when we think we know what our users are looking for, we can't always provide it. It is now a somehow universally acknowledged truth that Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf has become a media star as a result of the American and British invasion of Iraq. You can even buy t-shirts or enter Guardian competitions to suggest the spin-doctoring job he should take on next. In the wake of...
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April 3, 2003

How search can help you understand your audience

I spoke today at "Search and Findability: 'How to Read Users Minds'", an event organised by BBC Training & Development at The Cobden Club in West London. I was alongside a very esteemed group of keynotes including Danny Sullivan, Bill Thompson, Margaret Hanley and Matt Jones. The talk is available as an online article here, and as a print PDF version....
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